Sunday, April 2, 2023

monstergram7 - Top 3 January 2022


The monotonae blog has been a current-works portfolio. It has also been neglected for quite a while. At the end of 2022, I thought that I would at least do some sort of Top 9 or 10 liked postings from my instagram account, monstergram7. There are phone apps that will filter that kind of thing, but for reasons I didn’t like the results, not the least of which is the inclusion of the 2021 “Top 9” post. I felt that the pool ought to be limited to the original posts. So in brute force manner in went back through my posts to see what the top 10 were, and in the process I could determine the tops by each month.

And now here I am, beginning a month by month accounting of the top 3.

#1- Cinderella’s Broken Coach (ballpoint pen ink on paper napkin)
I had drawn this in a Carl’s Jr. one morning while waiting out work being done on my car, so the vehicle repair theme was at the forefront of my mind. Playing around with stylizing the Disney princess is a frequent part of my 9-to-5 job.
#2- World Pictographic Icons from a D23 Map (digital)
This square of 3 is just one of many that features the pictographs that I designed to embellish a map for the D23 Disney Fan Club. The map that I had created is just the backing board for the real prize- a set of enamel pins each representing a different Disney resort plus the Disney Cruise Line. The inspiration for the style was Rolly Crump’s animals for “it’s a small world” attraction that compliments Mary Blair’s  fanciful designs.
#3- Poppy Jean, Tiger (black ink and color pencil on paper).
Poppy is another of my attempts to develop a pin-up/cheesecake character design in my own style, whatever that is. Many successful artists can be identified by how they draw and paint beautiful women: Dan DeCarlo, Frank Frazetta, Alberto Varga, Olivia Berardinis, and the list goes on. However, I get in my own way because so much of my 9-to-5 job is to be a style mimic, and not a style originator.
I think some time in 2021, I had drawn a loose princess character, which I thought could be the basis of that pin-up. Even now, I’ve not settled on a distinct design, but just to be contrarian, she’s keeping the glasses.
I had explored perhaps two dozen different names. I perhaps settled on “Poppy” because I frequent do my initial sketches with a Poppy Red Col-Erase color pencil. The second name, Jean came about because I liked the three syllable rhythm. It won out over Poppy Anne, Poppy Jo and several others.
The costume is a nod to the Lunar calendar Year of the Tiger for 2022.

Saturday, December 31, 2022



After a couple of years of the COVID pandemic induced work-at-home situation for my staff-character artist position at Disney, I earnestly returned to a semi-regular drive into the Disney Glendale campus work routine Spring of this year. The buildings were and had been throughout the year typically pretty empty. In May, I started making sketches on standard size 3-inch square sticky notes and posting them in the lobby of the building.

This fulfilled two things: 1) In an empty building, I felt that I could pretty much do what ever it was that pleased me (provided that work was being completed); 2) the sketches were things that I could share with regularity on social media like Instagram (@monstergram7) and with a group of Disney employees on Slack.

These sketches being neither assignments (for work or commissions) or those that I do for my “What Shall I Draw Today?” (in which I accept suggestions by social media followers,) I chose to keep simple in design and color. They are done mostly with a single color pencil and finished with available black pen ink. In the 7+ months, I had coaxed a couple of the interns to each make at least one sketch. Thanks to Zahra Merchant for a lovely Snow White interpretation. Thanks to Christine Lew for a jaunty King Louie take.

Assembled in the animated GIF above, I had made over 130 sticky note sketches.

Around October, I began to regularly take pictures of the wall as the number of stickies grew and shrank. My initial thoughts had dwelled between the extremes of “No one is taking any of these ‘FREE SKETCHES.’ I must be doing something wrong,” and “Somebody is taking my stuff (again labeled as ‘FREE SKETCHES.’ They’re ruining my gallery.” 

There were two occasions when several sketches disappeared in an afternoon. So curious. 

For my own kicks, the subjects that I sketches were mostly from lesser touted Disney films and television- not the Mickey Mouse and Princess things that stock the shelves of the Disney Store.

Another development were the emergence of two themed days. Wednesdays would become “It’s WED-nesday” and then “Today is WED-nesday” which featured something from the Disney theme parks, you know, from Imagineering formerly known as WED Enterprises. 

Fridays would become “Free Draw Friday” which may have already been a thing on social media like “Throwback Thursday.” Anyways, on Fridays I would draw non-Disney things and cheekily put them on the walls of the Disney building.

This Tuesday is the first of more than 250 business/work days for 2023. 

Someone order more sticky notes.

Monday, June 27, 2022

What Shall I Draw June 26th through July 17th?

Breaking an almost six-month long sketching drought, “What Shall I Draw Today?” returns with a grand, 22-days long Disney Parks themed event!

What Shall I Draw Today?

Sunday, June 26th through

Sunday July 17th, 2022

From Sunday, June 26th through Sunday, July 17th, I will be taking other people’s suggestions as the inspiration for daily sketches. At any time during this event you may pitch your drawing suggestions on any on these social media platforms:

Instagram: @monstergram7 

Facebook: @Monster Enterprises

Blog: (here in the comments)

Suggestions may consist of two parts:

1) a favorite Disney character;

2) a favorite Disney Parks thing (attract, snack, parade, etc.)

Suggestions will be selected with the magic randomizer (blindly pulling slips of paper from a cup). Sketches may be drawn in a Disneyland autograph book, or on a collector card, or on a simple sticky note.

For As to your Qs, please click on the WSIDT tab above.

Monday, January 17, 2022


 D23, The Official Disney Fan Club, has announced the 2022 D23 Gold Member Collector Set. It’s the exclusive gift that every new and renewing member receives.

For more information about the club, please go to the D23 site, naturally:

My contribution to the set, was a world map that is the backing board for the real prizes that are a seven-piece set of exclusively designed enamel pins. Each pin features one of the six Disney theme Park Resorts plus a seventh for the Disney Cruise Line. To be clear, another artist designed the pins.

All two-dimensional maps are necessarily stylized representations of three-dimensional features existing on a spherical globe. In this, I chose to build the land masses from circles and parts of circles and a few straight lines.

The characters and things iconography on the final piece of art are all blues, teals and purples so as not to compete with the pins. 

However, there were more colorful early versions.

conceptual sketches

Many of the animal elements are inspired by those found on the “it’s a small world” attraction: hippopotamus, tiger, penguin, llama, kangaroo, and goose. I think the animals for the attraction are more Rolly Crump designs inspired by Mary Blair’s stylization than purely coming from Blair’s work for the boat ride. Keying off of the style, I chose other animals and things as nods to other Disney things.

Sea Serpent - Disneyland’s defunct Submarine Voyage attraction

Parrot - Rosita from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Adventureland

African Bull Elephant - Jungle Cruise attraction, Adventureland.

Polar Bear - Walt Disney’s White Wilderness (1958)

Big Horned Sheep - Grand Canyon diorama, part of Disneyland’s Railroad experience

Baobob Tree - Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction

Steam Locomotive - Walt Disney’s love of trains

Baby Oyster - Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland

Moose - Disney’s Brother Bear

Aulani Resort and Spa main building

747 Jet Airplane - Intended align with the “travel” theme to embellish a title box that didn’t get included on the map

London Tower and NotrĂ© Dame Cathedral couldn’t fit on the map and were eliminated as candidates

I am pleasantly surprised to see that the D23 designers had taken the purple grid pattern I had created for the map’s oceans for the background and repurposed it for the collection’s passport cover. For this pattern, I was inspired by the tiles of the Mary Blair murals that once flanked the Tomorrowland corridor in Disneyland. In fact, the square tiles were cut from a larger pattern of waves and mixed up. It is possible that many of the tiles can be reassembled in a few continuous lines. That’s trivia, not a challenge.

conceptual sketches

early green & blue version

exploratory purple & yellow version

early red & purple version

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Monstergram7 - Top 9

 Oh, boy! What a year 2021 was.

I Instagram tradition, here are the top 9 liked posts from my Instagram page/feed, monstergram7 to the year 2021. All of these received over 500 likes with the top 3 receiving over 1,000. 

#1 – Tigger, Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear in Toy Story mash-up cosplay as Woody, Andy and Buzz Lightyear. There must have been a confluence of things going on in the world for such a strong response from folks. I don’t think I could engineer anything to repeat it. As you can see by the tag dropped in the photo, this was an idea pitched to me during one one my What Shall I Draw Today? (WSIDT) sessions. Posted January 24, 2021, receiving 3,840 likes (by 12/32/2021). 

#2 – A mash-up of the ever poplar Mystery, Inc. gang from the Scooby-doo shows (Fred, Shaggy, Daphne, Scooby-Doo and Velma) as the gang from Cowboy Bebop. Posted Scoob-Doo mash-ups generally attract likes on my Instagram. This was the reverse mash-up of the #5 entry on this list that was done a couple o month before. Posted June 12, 2021, receiving 2,516 likes.

#3 – A cross-over featuring Joe Gardner from Disney/Pixar Soul and Roger Radcliffe from Walt Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Two guys in a jazzy jam on pianos with animal pals. Pianos being very large things, the trick was finding a composition to minimize the instruments and hopefully keep the focus on Joe and Roger. Posted February 21, 2021, receiving 1,923 likes.

#4 – My 6 page announcement of me taking a social media break for the last 2 months in 2021. I was surprised by the messages that came in most in the vein of supporting my action to attend to may mental health. I was thankful for it all, but I never declared that was what I was doing. I just needed the time to focus on my holiday stuff and some personal projects. Posted October 23, 2021, receiving 750 likes.

#5 – The reverse Scooby-Doo/Cowboy Bebop mash-up this time featuring the Bebop crew (Jet, Spike, Faye, Ein and Ed) cast as the Mystery, Inc. gang. This was my best inspired-by-but-not-copying anime style. This one isn't a WSIDT suggestion, but something that fell into place with the realization that the crew compliment aligned as well as it does. Posted April 24, 2021, receiving 708 likes.

#6 – A 6 page preview and announcement of the Disneyland Art drop. The Art Drop was a scavenger hunt of sorts in which I hid pieces of art for folks to find. I conducted the Art Drop in the theme park the day after its 66th birthday. The final piece were fully colored as shown in subsequent postings. Posted July 15, 2021, receiving 690 likes.

#7 – A WSIDT mash-up of the Wanda-Vision family (Wanda, Vision, Billy and Tommy) as Mary Poppins, Bert and kids. A pleasant enough face, but not my best Elizabeth Olsen caricature. Posted April 21, 2021, receiving 669 likes.

#8 – A cross-over of Lucille Ball’s Lucy Ricardo and Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff. Hey look, another Wanda-Vision mashup! The 1950’s themed premier episode of the Marvel series sure did inspire a lot of nostalgia. People back in 1950’s American Television seemed to frequently have guests over dinners. Posted January 24, 2021, receiving 661 likes.

#9 – A cross over of Wanda and Vision in circa 1955 Disneyland. Hey look, another Wanda-Vision mash-up! 1955, of course, was the year that Walt Disney first opened Disneyland to the public. I intentionally muted the color palette, to suggest the black and white first episode of the series. Posted February 21, 2021, receiving 637 likes.


#10 – A cross-over of Han Solo, Leia and their young son Ben enjoying time in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. This was part of the Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary special edition of What Shall I Draw Today? Occurring over a span of 16 days in October, I draw Disney Parks themed mixed up suggestions in a Disneyland autograph book (I didn’t plan ahead enough to order a WDW themed autograph book). I wonder if there was something unsatisfying about how the Star Wars franchise totally skipped seeing what this family was like, enough that fans want to see it depicted in art like this? Posted October 10, 2021, receiving 624 likes.

#11 – A mash-up of the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars) in a Mystery Machine (Scooby-Doo) paint job.  This was follow-up to a previous mashup that replaced Scooby-Doo characters in one of the original posters for the 1977 movie. The poster didn't have the Falcon, but only X-Wings and TIE fighters, but a short in-comments discussion got me wondering what was the Star Wars equivalent to the Mystery Machine. Posted July 24, 2021, receiving 560 likes.

#12 – A WSIDT mash-up of Jawas (Star Wars) and droids and robots, R2-D2 (Star Wars, of course), V.I.N.CENT. (The Black Hole) and WALL-E. Here I experiment with a art-deco-ish 1920’s cartoon style, just for fun. It's interesting that here are 3 different body shapes for the mechanical characters: cylinder, sphere and cube. Posted September 20, 2021, receiving 558 likes.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Scenes from my Work (at Home) Space

Today, November 18, anniversary of my Disney hire date. Technically, it’s a re-hire date, but all the same, I have been working continuously for Disney for eight years now.

Coincidentally, November 18 is also the anniversary of the premiere of the “Steamboat Willie,” and thus the so-called dual birthdays of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

In past years, I have shared on this day via Facebook and/or Instagram photos of bits of my work space. However, I’m actually in the midst of a self-impose “social media” break. I’ve decided to step out of that break today and share here eight video conference call (a.k.a. Zoom) backgrounds that I have composed and used in the last year working at home.

Walt’s office,
The Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, CA.

New Orleans Square, Disneyland (1966).

Main Street Train Station, Disneyland.

The Animation Building, Northside,
The Walt Disney Studios, Burbank

Monstro, Storybook Land, Disneyland

Royal 21 Balcony (formerly the Disney Dream Suite)
(formally the Disney Gallery), New Orleans Square, Disneyland

Monsanto House of the Future, Disneyland (c. 1957)

The Disney Gallery Courtyard, 
New Orleans Square, Disneyland (c. 2007)

You should be able to click on the images to download.

I claim no rights to any of the images.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

What I Drew Oct 1 - Oct 16 (Disney Parks) – Top 10

Over 16 consecutive days to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th birthday, I filled a Disneyland autograph book with 50 Disney Parks themed sketches. Each sketch was the result of what I call an improv style mixing up and random reassembling of folk’s deconstructed suggestions pitched to me on Instagram. By comparison, in 2020 to celebrate Disneyland’s 65th birthday, I drew 50 sketches in an autograph book over the 17 days leading up to July 17, the birthday day. However in 2020, I was on furlough and had more time for 3+ a day sketches.

Here are the top 10 liked pieces of the 50 with additional stories not part of their brief, daily blog postings:

#1, pp. 10-11 - Han and Leia taking little Ben / just strolling the park!

Suggestions by Nicole P. /

This family from the Star Wars stories is totally up for artistic interpretation, since currently there aren’t any filmed canon depiction of them when Ben was a child. 

I feel that Han would continue to wear white shirts and black or dark colored vests and jackets. 

For Leia, I feel she’ll have braided hair and a practical outfit akin to the fatigues she wore in Return of the Jedi.

2x hidden Mickeys.

Thing I drew that no one asked for: Liberty Square outside of the “Hall of Presidents.”

#2, pp. 50-51 - Chip and Dale / pop up pin shop

Suggestions by Jeff S. / @vbehappy

There’s no telling how the comparative sizes of the characters and locales and tell-tale architecture and features will affect the scene composition and story. With the chipmunks being no taller than the pins being sold and the pin trading cart, I thought zooming in on Chip and Dale was more interesting that showing the cart. 

While the duo could have fun with the pins found there, it doesn’t appear as if they have then means to trade pins much less purchase them.

2x hidden Mickeys.

Thing I drew that no one asked for: Daisy Duck.

#3, pp. 100-101 - Mickey and Minnie / the Hitchhiking Ghosts / Magic Kingdom hub / sharing the Kitchen Sink sundae

Suggestions by Jeff S. / @realmarkd / Jeff S / Nicole P.

If I color the sky yellow, it’s usually because I want the scene to be happy. 

As the final sketch of the book, I selected this suggestion combination from the last four combinations to be the last because Mickey and Minnie were the characters. For the final three sketches, I pulled a second character suggestion as an embellishment and for this one, it happened to be the Haunted Mansion’s hitchhiking ghosts. 

The Kitchen Sink sundae suggestion was pulled from the last few remaining props and purposefully matched to Mickey and Minnie because it matched better than the other final four character/attraction combinations.

The birthday salutation came about partly because I couldn’t think of a funny exchange between the mice and the ghosts.

2x hidden Mickeys. 

1 hidden baby oyster.

#4, pp. 2-3 - Goofy / visiting Be Our Guest Restaurant

Suggestions by @the_kira_diaries / @nikkistar5394

As the first sketch of the series, perhaps it’s high ranking has to do with it having the most time to attract eyes and likes on Instagram. Perhaps it benefitted from the excitement of the novelty of this series?

At the left is Gaston in silhouette. At the right is Belle greeting guests in silhouette.

2x hidden Mickeys.

#5, pp. 68-69 - Chip and Dale / dancing at Jellyrolls / watching the Dalmatians play

Suggestions by Jeff S. / @motheroffreels / Nicole P.

A big part of “Jellyrolls” is their dueling pianos. While the suggestion combo has no obligation to depict two baby grand pianos, I thought one piano should be part of the scene and the glossy finish of the piano top would make for a good dance floor for the characters. Joe Gardner as the pianist has everything to do with the recentness of the film Soul. Alternates could be Mickey, Donald or Roger Radcliffe (to match the Dalmatians).

I had thought that I might have Chip and Dale dressed in their Rescue Rangers costumes. That is until I came across images of the animated short Two Chips and a Miss. Having the pair wearing tuxedos and including Clarice as a dance partner just fell into place.

“Playing” Dalmatian pups turned from “playing games” to “playing instruments.” 

3x hidden Mickeys.

Thing I drew that no one asked for: Clarice, bongos and a violin played as a bass fiddle.


#6, pp. 30-31 - Kida and Ariel / in Typhoon Lagoon / carrying a 50th anniversary cupcake

Suggestions by @kmwright222 / @nikkistar5394 / Jeff S.

If you look closely, the cupcake in Kida’s hand has a “50” emblazoned on it. However, by looks alone, I’ll understand if the cupcakes aren’t recognizable.

It’s a remarkable coincidence that these two swimming princesses would find themselves matched with the Typhoon Lagoon water park. I didn’t arrange it to be so.

2x hidden Mickeys.

1x hidden baby oyster.

#7, pp. 6-7 - The Princess and the Frog characters and Br’er Rabbit / (going) "around the world" at Epcot

Suggestions by @caitlinfogartyart / @the_kira_diaries

As it was “artist’s choice” for which part of Epcot to feature, France seemed perfectly suitable for Tiana and friends with New Orleans having such strong French influences. 

Here again, I use yellows and golds to convey happiness.

3x hidden Mickeys.

#8, pp. 94-95 - Flynn and Rapunzel / in Mickey’s PhilharMagic / taking shots/drinking

Suggestions by @alltookayleigh / @yooo_gert / @the_kira_diaries

The story of “PhilharMagic” has Donald attempting to head off chaos as he chases the wayward sorcerer’s hat through several Disney sequences recreated in glorious three-dimensional CGI. One of the segments is Lumiere’s performance of “Be Our Guest” which fits well with the “drinking” prompt.

3x hidden Mickeys.

#9, pp. 60-61 - Ariel and Eric / on Pirates of the Caribbean / getting spooked

Suggestions by @nikkistar5394 / Abigail R / @alltookayleigh

I suppose the spookiest part of “The Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction is in the section with skeletons posed in various vignette, even if most are touched with a dark humor.

The purplish stormy sky is an experiment where normally one might see a black or indigo sky. It at least contrasts with the wreck and skeleton.

2x hidden Mickeys. 

1x hidden baby oyster.

#10, pp. 40-41 - Russel with Carl and Dug / at the Emporium

Suggestions by @vbehappy / @kmwright222

I counted 3x true hidden Mickeys here. Any other Mickey is intentionally a plush doll Mickey. 

I challenged folks to find as much as they could in the pile of plush dolls, but it would be easier to understand my intentions had I colored it. Then you could identify the princesses by their different hair color.

More About What I Had Drawn Those Days

Luck of the Draw

As I had described in the announcement and call for suggestions, the things that I drew were the random recombination of deconstructed suggestions that folks pitched in the week leading up to October 1st. Each suggestion was broken up into three categories of prompts: characters, Disney Parks thing and embellishments which could be props or action. All of that was printed out, cut up as slips of paper and put in assigned buckets to be pulled randomly.

Rather than pull prompts for one suggestion combo at a time. I did so four at a time. I kept the best three. From those three, I choose one to be the “every third” to be finished in full color.

Because it was my intention to draw Disney characters (those characters currently owned by the Disney Company) enjoying Disney Parks experiences drawn in a Disneyland autograph book, when I pulled one of the two non-Disney character prompts submitted, I then pulled a second character prompt to be the featured actor(s), and put the non-Disney character in the background.

The other bit of jiggering I did with the suggestions happened at the end with the last four suggestion combinations. Here, I purposefully picked from all of the remaining slips the four character prompts that I liked, and matched them with the four Disney Parks things that I liked and randomly pulled a few embellishment prompts too. Lastly, I pulled second character prompt for the final three. That’s how I ended with Mickey and Minnie in the final sketch.

Good Even-ings

I drew on the odd numbered pages, the right sided pages when you open a book.

The time, I did preliminary sketches on the left sided pages. It was good practice for characters that I hadn’t drawn before. It was a nice exercise to play with expressions on a larger scale than the final sketch. On some, I worked out some technical issues like tiny character size comparison charts.

Photos of the even-odd page spreads were shared only on this blog, where only the final odd pages were shared on Instagram and Facebook.

What Disney World Book

I purchased several Disneyland autograph books from ShopDisney online store last year with the specific intention to do sketch series like this. When I decided to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th birthday with the marathon task of fifty sketches in an autograph book, I knew that I had books on hand. However, I assumed them to be generic Disney branded books, and didn’t order any Walt Disney World branded books.

A-Hoy, Captions!

If I do have a rule regarding when to have dialogue word balloons in these single panel comics, it’s if it needs it then I’ll add it. I’m certainly happy to not add dialogue if it’s not necessary. Other times, I’ll leave the comic be because I couldn’t think of anything in the way of dialog. 

For example, for the scene of Carl, Russell and Dug in the Emporium, I wondered if Carl should say something. Nothing that I could think of was funny. I’m not very good with “Caption this” challenges.

Thank You

Thank you to the following folks to pitch ideas that ended up in this book:

On Instagram:

_jilliano124_ • akoymdf • alltookayleigh

anek.art001 • ani8tor57 • art3mis8182

bowling_and_bowties91 • caitlinfogartyart • cr8ture

elicid • elijones94 • fletchthis • herreriamon • jayrodesign

jessiemind • kmwright222 • lysette.v.e

madesalvo • mascotdrawings • mannysmyname

motheroffreels • nikkistar5394 • realmarkd

rod_j_sloan • spanky.bear • stevedelacruz.16

swampboyes • the_kira_diaries • vbehappy

yooo_gert • zoe.with.twodots

On Facebook:

Nicole P. • Kinzey F. • Abigail R.

On Blog and D.M.:

Jeff S.