Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Collage Drawing Painting

Susan Schwake's Monster Mash Workshop

Diana MacKenzie

Just in time for Halloween, the Art Studio came alive with creepy, crawly, hairy, spiky creations in yesterday afternoon’s Special Sunday Monster Mash Workshop.   We were very excited to host artist, educator and author Susan Schwake for the day in the back of the Studio, where she lead the workshop and signed guests’ copies of her amazing new book, Art Lab For Kids.

Susan runs a gallery/studio/art academy called Artstream Studios in Rochester, New Hampshire, where she’s been teaching art to children and adults since 1993.  She describes the book as a collection of all the successful art lessons she’s taught over the years.

Artist and Author, Susan Schwake

The Texture Monster activity is just one of many drawing, painting, printmaking, paper and mixed media lessons featured in the book. Susan’s husband, Rainer Schwake took the beautiful photographs of the step-by-step process of each lesson.  It would make a great gift for the young artist in your life and I highly recommend it for any parent or educator looking for fresh ideas.

If you’d like to make your own Texture Monsters like the ones we made in yesterday’s workshop, you’ll need cover weight paper (we used 11”x17” white) and wax crayons or oil pastels in different colors for doing the rubbings.  You could use store-bought or homemade rubbing plates for this part.

Next, use watercolors to fill in the paper with areas of color.  The wax or oil will resist the watercolor paint, creating a neat effect.  Allow the paper to dry completely before cutting or tearing out shapes for your monsters.

Use a large sheet of sturdy paper a the support for your texture monster collage.  We used 12”x18” sheets of construction paper and guests chose from black, pink, yellow or blue as the backgrounds.  Use your imagination to arrange your shapes to make friendly (or scary) monster characters.  Making monsters is great activity for a family Halloween party or and would make festive home or classroom decorations.  Art Lab For Kids suggests taking this activity a step further by making monster birthday or get well cards.

Susan has a few more books in the works which sound pretty exciting and we look forward to having her back for another fun workshop in the future!  

Photo credits: Art Studio Intern, Gabby Rosenberg


Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.