Morning Coffee Blog: I Make Monsters

Another Monday and another week of building! It still throws me sometimes that I actually look forward to my job. You’d think I’d be used to that by now.

As was recently talked about in the O:P Discord, unlike most builders I don’t do a lot of human-style characters. None of my regular shop models are human, and the closest I’ve come to building human characters is Jellyroll (who is of ambiguous nature) and Nosferatu. Heck apart from the occasional noted amphibian, I don’t even make real world animals. I make monsters.

The reason is simple. Humans are dull. Given the option, I’ll take a monster every time.

I’ve loved monsters for as long as I can remember. There’s a whole slurry of reasons why. Monsters are the product of pure imagination. They represent outsiders, things we don’t understand, things that don’t fit our models. Monsters break our rules, challenge what we think is truth or beauty. Plus, monsters are just cool.

I’ve often thought about why Sesame Street landed on using so many non-scary monsters in its cast, and why they work so well, and I think it’s this. Monsters can represent fundamental things. They’re immediate and not complicated. You understand a monster very quickly. They’re elemental in a way that humans are not. As a result, children can immediately connect with them. There’s no nuance, everything is on the surface. They’re simple.

It’s telling that so many monsters in pop culture basically boil down to representing primal, animal impulses, and we paint those as evil. The monster reminds us of what is in our own heads and hearts. And that’s why the friendly monster is such an endearing character — they show us that we don’t need to fear, we can understand and integrate. They reunite us with parts of ourselves we have shunned or suppressed.

Okay, it’s a bit too early in a Monday for this much psychoanalysis. Time for coffee.

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