ART EXHIBIT: “Mass Museum of Made-Up Mythology”

“What is a monster?” According to Kevin, they’re something new, but not necessarily sinister. He offered an example of a half-fly, half-frog animal. Mixed creations like this fill his sketchbooks. As displayed here, many of his mutated monsters could appear in horror movies like THE THING or LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.

Kevin’s correct though. Sinister monsters are a matter of perspective. Consider the beloved Pixar movie MONSTERS, INC., where the “monsters” see themselves as normal, while children are feared. Or, Roald Dahl’s classic THE BFG, where a vegan giant helps a girl thwart other giants that devour children. However, we must acknowledge our “fight or flight” instincts mean we don’t react to strange things with immediate hugs.

Legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft sums up our instincts well: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Seeing the unknown for the first time is both scary and fascinating. But fear isn’t Kevin’s intent. His goal is to imagine and draw something original. This background helps you better understand his art and the title for this new Fridge Art Museum exhibit: “Mass Museum of Made-Up Mythology.” Here’s a tiny sampling of his exhibit (click on any image to enlarge it):

Steampunk mechanical crow

Since Kevin’s first Fridge Art Museum exhibit, “The Best Guide to Magic Stuff,” his new handiwork dwells not just in fantasy worlds, but also steampunk and science-fiction. Most impressive is how his sketchbooks show dedication to improving his art skills. He has embraced the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”

How long does it take to master an art or skill? In Malcom Gladwell’s bestseller, OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS, he states an expert needs 10,000 hours of learning and practice. Dedicating this much time is daunting. Yet, we all know no one just starts out as a brain surgeon, Olympic athlete, or juggler tossing flaming axes and chainsaws. A fun documentary, THE SPEED CUBERS, details the years of practice it takes to solve Rubik’s Cube puzzles in mind-boggling times—mere seconds. Kevin’s practice sketches, drawings, role-playing-game art, and comic strips show he’s well along his way to mastering monsters and storytelling.

Lastly, a big shout out to Dave DeVries. His cool book, THE MONSTER ENGINE, celebrates children’s imagination, and transformed kid drawings. At Minicon 54, Dave was a Guest of Honor. One of his events was an art workshop in the Rumpus Room. There, he presented Kevin with the workshop’s collaborative monster drawing. Kevin was inspired.

Now Kevin can inspire us with his latest sketches and art. Be forewarned, you may experience creepy shivers while viewing his “Mass Museum of Made-Up Mythology.” Obviously, you can pause the video below at any time to admire specific drawings.

To submit fridge art for consideration, or subscribe to my e-mail list, click here.

ART EXHIBIT: “The Best Comics” and Dungeons & Dragons


The Masked Comic Maker has revealed his secret identity! His name is…Hudson.

His art exhibit, “The Best Comics,” is the latest addition to the Fridge Art Museum.

Hudson’s comics and art are inspired by comic books, books, graphic novels, movies, and TV shows (Alan Moore is one of his favorite writers). For his original comics, he often uses irony or satire (like his “Ugly Ugene” comic). He writes short stories too, like “Rise of the Scarecrow,” which he reads during his exhibit.

His latest passion is creating interactive adventures for the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D, or “D and D”). Decades before Harry Potter, D&D was demonized for glorifying magic and monsters. Yet the fantasy genre exercises our “mind’s eye” (imagination) more than other stories. D&D also requires applied math, reading, and social interaction—all aspects parents should appreciate.

Sorry to digress on preaching the merits of D&D, but the game has surged in popularity. Estimates are 12-15 million people play in North America alone, and 40 million worldwide (60% older than 25). Two award-winning TV shows frequently feature the game, Netflix’s Stranger Things and CBS’s The Big Bang Theory. For those wanting to learn more about D&D’s history (good and bad), below are several articles:

How Dungeons & Dragons somehow became more popular than ever

No more nerds: how Dungeons & Dragons finally became cool

What It’s Like to Be a Woman Playing Dungeons & Dragons on the Internet

How Women Are Driving the Dungeons & Dragons Renaissance

As a retired D&D player, I was intrigued by a play Hudson’s grandmother suggested, She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition. So, this fall I asked Hudson’s family to go with me. They accepted, in part because the play was produced by the renowned Redmond Proficiency Academy.

The play showcased how role-playing D&D’s imaginary characters is collaborative fun. But the story’s humor, 90’s music, and high-energy cast also tackled somber teen issues like bullying, negative stereotypes, and death. Female and handicapped empowerment were powerful themes too (in D&D, anyone can save the day, or die a noble death). Hudson enjoyed the play, as did his family and I. The boisterous standing ovation for the director, performers, and crew was well deserved.

After this rambling endorsement of D&D, my point is, I salute parents and adults who encourage youth creativity (however it’s expressed). Arguably, our brain’s most powerful ability is imagination. Not only for making art and stories, but human civilization is based on inventions and new ideas.

Without further delay, I present Hudson’s imagination below. Consider pausing the video to read the dialogue bubbles or better study little details—you won’t be disappointed!

ART EXHIBIT: “Long Shot”

A “Gathering” of cat clans

Evelyn is drawing a million cats.

It’s true.

She’s well on her way, with a thick binder stuffed with cat art. Her drawings have as many as 42 cats (in a “Gathering”), most with a name. Her cats are inspired by the best-selling Warriors Universe series (50+ books, field guides, and novellas).

Into The Wild, the first Warriors book

Evelyn writes Warriors fan fiction too, further bringing her drawings to life. But before she writes, she might create elaborate cat biographies, with Pokemon-like statistics for attacks, grumpiness, weakness, special power, etc. She also draws cat clan family trees to keep track of all her characters, and maps of their burrows.

Some of her stories are fast and funny, like “Cat Texting,” or “The Cat that Croaked.” Or, she might write and draw short comics, like “Appletail and Pinpaw.” Her most ambitious story though is “Long Shot.”

Imagination sets goals that may be impossible, but pushes one beyond what they or others thought possible. Yet, what one imagines often comes true. In fact, we take imagination for granted. Just imagine if no one imagined anything? All our decisions are the result of imagination, however simple. You imagine putting on socks in the morning. Imagine breakfast. Imagine ruling the an ice cream empire, and so on.

Evelyn’s imagination is fierce, like her soccer game face. Like a feral cat’s hiss. Like drawing and naming a million cats. Bold imagination is an admirable trait. A trait I want to highlight in the Fridge Art Museum’s next exhibit below, where Evelyn reads Chapter One of her story “Long Shot” while her 100+ cat drawings flash by.

I can’t wait to see her millionth cat.

To submit fridge art for consideration, or subscribe to my e-mail list, click here.

ART EXHIBIT: “Cats & Critters”

Izzie is surrounded by countless cats. Most are stuffed animals, but she draws cats too. She also draws other critters, imaginary creatures, and Pokemon. But her true love is cats. Cats of all sizes and shapes. Cats of many colors, with splotches and stripes. Just don’t tell her pet snake, it might get jealous.

Imagining things as they MIGHT be is a skill kids excel at.  Adults, not so much. Maturity tends to censor imagination.

Don’t get me wrong, Izzie’s realistic and fantasy drawings are awesome too! But the middle ground between reality and fantasy is a cool place. An imaginative place where one asks, “What if…?” and the answer might come true.

Click image to read all of supernatural cat’s abilities

Imagination fuels curiosity and hope. Fuels explorers and scientists and activists to not accept limitations or the status quo. Fuels a child to draw a purple cat, dragon, or a supernatural cat with telepathy that turns invisible and has a “super slash.”

So, in the spirit of reminding us all to imagine things differently, The Fridge Art Museum’s next exhibit is Izzie’s “Cats & Critters.” Enjoy, and be inspired to make your imagination real.

To submit fridge art for consideration, or subscribe to my e-mail list, click here.

ART EXHIBIT: “The Best Guide To Magic Stuff”

King of the Aleaen Monsters

As part of launching my kidlit author website, I struggled over a fun blog topic that wasn’t pretentious. Although I’ll blog about my writing and random subjects, the perpetual idea I chose was creating an online “Fridge Art Museum.”

Some might ask, “What’s fridge art?” To them I reply, it’s kid art that’s temporarily displayed on refrigerators, but also on walls, doors, or you name it. Often, the sheer quantity of drawings requires archiving in beloved binders or boxes.

The museum’s mission is to highlight kid’s unmistakable art style, subjects, and imagination. A great example of this is the museum’s first exhibit, Kevin’s “The Best Guide To Magic Stuff (A to Z).” A handful of Kevin’s drawings are shown here:

Clearly, Kevin LOVES to draw monsters. In a classic example of “art begets art,” he created a monster guide inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (a movie based on a fictional compendium in the Harry Potter series). His 200+ monsters, mashups, and phonetic spelling will bring chills and chuckles to all but the hardest of hearts. However, the faint of heart and young children may not sleep well if they view his art alone, in darkness,  with howling winds scratching at the windows.

With that disclaimer, I now proudly present Kevin’s “Best Guide To Magic Stuff.”

To submit fridge art for consideration, or subscribe to my e-mail list, click here.