One of the great things about teaching an art class to older students, in my case middle and high school students, is that they can be more independent, especially if art is their thing to begin with. The students who took my summer cartoon drawing classes mostly already had some idea of what they wanted to do and just needed some pointers and guidance on occasion. This is rarely the case at the elementary level, understandably so. So, sometimes I find some time to draw along with them, and I find I learn and gain inspiration as much from them as they might from me. The drawing above was one I completed over the course of the past two weeks, and many ideas were a result from student input and suggestions. I call it a Monsters Ink (or Monster Mash), which began simply as one continuous, meandering, mostly random line. From there on, all spaces were filled in and the drawing can technically be turned and looked at at any angle. It's been a couple of years since I worked on one, and the initial idea, at least for the random line and fill-in-the-spaces-with-things part came from my high school art teacher Jim Rettinger, who is himself a practicing artist, and who always stressed the importance of creative thinking and process over technique and final product. I even included a couple of sideways nods to a couple of my favorite artists, including a mutant shark for comic artist Matt Dembicki, and a ghostly, three-eyed asterisk ghoul for Pound, Virginia visionary folk artist JJ Cromer. See how many monsters you can find in the image and perhaps you'll even try one of your very own!