Something from nothing.

No, not the picture book ‘something from nothing’ by Pheobe Gilman- which still is still one of my favourite kid’s books picture books from my own children were young.


Image source

Nope, In this project we are going to be looking at the fun and free artwork of Carla Sonheim.  I first encountered her work in the book Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop 2012.  Please ask me if you’d like to take a look!

Remember when you were younger and you would lay on your back on a warm summers afternoon and stare at the clouds above.   You would see all sorts of animals, creatures, and monsters in them as they passed by…

This phenomenon is called:




  1. The perception of a recognizable image or meaningful pattern where none exists or is intended, as the perception of a face in the surface features of the moon.
  2. The tendency to interpret a vaguestimulus as something known to the observer, such as interpreting marks on Mars as canals, seeing shapes in clouds, or hearing hidden messages in music.
text source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.


Any idea WHY our brains do this?


In this project were going to do the same thing but the weather here in our city doesn’t always produce clouds…. So we will be looking at cracks in concrete, the paint peeling off the wall, anywhere there has been a degradation of surface material leaving an unpredictable fracturing that our mind can make visual connections with-in… if there are clouds one day, even better.

But first, Let’s look at something concrete…Literally!



Give yourself some time to look at the picture… well look ‘into’ the picture.  Let you mind make connections, see forms, see objects, see animals and creatures.

Here are a few examples from the pic above:


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So what now???

There are many different ways to get some templates of your creatures.  For us, here at JO, with a printer and copier in our LC I think the best bet is;


  1. Take good pictures
  2. Print them out
  3. Draw in the shapes you see
  4. Cut them out (these will be your templates)
  5. Glue all of them upside down on a dark piece of paper and then print a few copies out.

Working up your templates:

Let’s take a look at a couple of Carla’s tutorials:


Look at all the layers Carla builds up to achieve her final products… You can tell she loves to play!


So… Hmmm… Well… You might be thinking…. ‘WHAT-CHA WANT???’


I want you to GO BLOB HUNTING!


Image source

Ya ready?




I want your FIVE best crazy, weirdo, bazaar creatures you can come up with!

What I will be marking you on:

  • Time used well
  • Engaged in all parts of this activity
  • You try out all media (Ink, paint, pastel, pencil crayon, etc..) available to you.
  • Trying out different things and screwing up and learning from them.  (bonus points for epic fails)
  • 5 creatures, made from your templates, containing at least 3 layers of different media.


Here are some of mine:

image image image image image image


Extension activates:

Fabric creatures:

Take a look at these beauties

cppaperpig-1 images-1

Blob creatures:

3 step – 10 minute – Art Tutorial

Even if you can’t make the workshop, you can still try some of these things at home:

Get some watercolours and paper and paint a random “blob,” kind of like this:


Let dry completely.
Turn your paper around and around until you “see” something… an animal, a face, the beginning of a landscape… then, using a combination of pencil, markers, colored pencils, ink, “finish” what is already started!
I’ve found this to be a great way to work in my sketchbook or whenever I’m feeling a little stuck… it takes all the pressure off of “what to draw” and I end up with animals and drawings of things that I would never have tried on my own!


– See more at:


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By Amanda

By Jaiddeep

By Tenzin

By Morgan

By Morgan

By Amanda

By Amanda

By Suhkmani

By Muriel

By Morgan


{Carla Sonheim Images used with the permission of Carla Sonheim}

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