Today’s prompt word — cruel — leads to another departure from my playful doodle monsters and back toward what I’m calling people monsters. The one shown here is named Cruel Stepfather, and I think Exploding Brain Boy must be his stepson.

Inktober 11 Cruel
Cruel Stepfather

In How to Make a Monster, I shared a few ideas from Catherine Holmes about creating weird-looking creatures — which includes weird-looking people. Today I want to share another of the suggestions she gives in the book.

“Choose a name for your character,” she says. “This will help to personalize him or her.”

She goes on to suggest that we think of our character’s goals and that we also give thought to why the creature looks as it does. Accessories add a lot, so she suggests taking time to plan the clothing the creature is wearing and/or to add tools for the creature to use.

The overall idea is to develop a history and backstory for our monster.

  • Where does it come from?
  • How was it created?
  • Why does it act the way it does?

Obviously, I did none of that — at least not in the planning stage. As I was drawing, I chose the name Cruel Stepfather for him and then thought a bit about who he is and what he does.

He drinks a lot, is unemployed, and spends his day on the couch with a beer in his hand watching television. He’s always ready to snatch off that belt he wears to give his stepson “what for” — if need be.

All quite stereotypical, and my apologies to all the awesome stepfathers who love and care for their stepchildren.

Stepfather FilmIn fairy-tales and other fiction, it’s more often an evil stepmother we see, but there are examples of the cruel stepfather as well. In 1987, a psychological horror film, The Stepfather, was released. Loosely based on the life of murderer John List, it tells the tale of an identity-assuming serial killer who remarries a widow with a teenage daughter. Having killed his previous family and changed his identity, his murderous tendencies continue after his stepdaughter becomes suspicious about him.

Although I’m not a fan of slasher or horror films, the psychological aspects of The Stepfather do intrigue me.

So, there you have a bit of educational background on the role of the cruel stepfather in our culture.

Getting back to art and back to my Cruel Stepfather monster, I wish I could have done a bit more with him. I could have drawn him lazing about on that couch with a beer in his hand — or maybe not. Pen and ink isn’t easy for me, so maybe it’s best if I stick with my simple drawings as I continue making my monsters this month.

Are YOU a fan of the horror genre in films?


  1. yes, yes, please, please add something to the step father! I feel the stepfather drawing is missing something. …for example, what’s the stepfather hiding behind his back? …so curious…maybe a piece of his stepson’s brain? maybe, hurtful words? Or a poisonous snake biting the life out of him?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m wondering if Cruel Stepfather and Exploding Brain Boy are meant to be continuing characters — figures I will return to again and again. Now, I’m curious about the mother. I think I might end up with an entire dysfunctional family before the end of the month.

      Liked by 2 people

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