Monday, December 17

Sheffield Children's Hospital and The Monster Machine

I'm pleased to say the monster's have found their way up to Sheffield Children's Hospital! 
With Christmas in mind I sent The Monster Machine up to them to try and spread some monster cheer in the run up to Christmas. Here is a brilliant festive picture of the Outpatient's staff ready to read it with patients! 

Visit them online and see the fantastic work they do -

Friday, December 14

Hedgehog Class Monster Paintings!

The monsters were thrilled to get an email with some monster questions for them last week from the Hedgehog reception class at Ashcroft Nursery School.
The Hedgehog's have enjoyed reading The Monster Machine picture book and I'm told it has inspired some imaginitive writing and monster art! Which is wonderful to hear.
Their teacher has very kindly sent a few of the monster paintings to me for the Monster gallery, and I'm really pleased to show them to you, they look very striking against the deep red background. Red is an excellent monster colour...

Chester's monster, with lots of bright yellow claws!
Georgina's monster with cute googly eyes and a pink feathery tummy!
A monster thanks to the Hedgehog class, and their teacher :)

Monster FAQ 
Monster Gallery

Saturday, December 8

Story Snug! Picture book recommendations for little people near and far...

It was lovely to see The Monster Machine on Story Snug yesterday!
Story snug, by Catherine Friess is a great picture book blog which is updated regularly with exciting picture book recommendations across all genres making it an ideal stop if you're looking for a special book for someone small... or big for that matter.

Catherine's little girl also made one of my Monster Christmas cards- take a look at those fingernails!  Brilliant work :)

Saturday, December 1

The Monster Machine, Monster pop up card! To print out, colour in and make, by Nicola L Robinson

Monster Pop Up card to print out and make, by Nicola L Robinson

What better way to say Merry Christmas, or I love you or just hello! than with a lovely pop up monster greeting card?!  Complete with a pop up mouth with teeth and tongue.

I have designed and made this monster card inspired by my monsters for The Monster Machine, my monster picture book. (Written and illustrated by Nicola L Robinson (me) and published by Pavilion Children's books.

This card is fairly easy to make and requires only very basic materials. I would recommend young children are assisted by an adult as there is some cutting and folding which may be a little fiddly for very small hands.

NOTE - The addition of tongue and teeth is the most tricky part, if you fancy making a gummy monster, and making a very simple version you can leave them out!

To make the monster pop up card you will need - 

- 2 pieces of A4 lightweight card or heavy paper for the card body (I used 1 red and 1 white for extra colour)
- Another piece of A4 of white lightweight card or heavy paper for the teeth and tongue
- Scissors to cut out the pieces
- Glue to stick in the teeth and tongue
- Pens and pencils or collage materials to colour in the monster
- A printer, to print out the monster template.
- The 3 monster pieces which you can download below.

How to make the monster pop up card, in 12 steps... (with photos)

1 - Download the 3 monster machine monster mouth card template- (Click to download in pdf)
Part 1 - Card Inside (With Monster!) 
Part 2 - Card Outside - Note print this part on coloured paper for extra interest. I used red.
Part 3 - Monster Teeth and tongue templates. If you're making more than 1 card you might like to download this Set of 4 Monster Teeth and tongues to save on card. (Many Thanks to Child-Led Chaos for the suggestion)

2 - Print out the pieces, they should all fit centred actual size as they are on A4.
The 3 pieces, printed out ready to make...
 3 - Fold the 'card outside' in half along the dotted line and put to one side.

Folding the 'card outside' in half.
4 - Fold the 'card inside' in half along the dotted line.

Folding the 'card inside' in half.
5 - Now we are going to make the pop up mouth! Fold the card back on itself so the monster is on the outside.
i - First make one straight cut along the line as marked.
Cutting along the mouth
ii - Then, carefully fold along the two dotted lines, these are going to make the monster's upper and lower jaws. If you have thick material it might help to lightly score along the lines first with a metal ruler before folding.
Folding along the dotted lines to make the pop up mouth
iii - Open the card out and carefully pop out the mouth! You should be able to fold the card back in half to test the mouth opens and closes.
Open the card and see the monster mouth
Folding the card to check the  mouth opens and closes
When closed the mouth folds should be folded inside the card, like this.
 6 - Now for the best bit, colour in the monster! I painted mine with acrylic paint, in a bright red, gold and green but you can use anything you like, it is best not to make any collage too heavy and thick particularly around the mouth (make sure he can still open it!) as you still need to be able to fold the card. You can also decorate the background, I've added a couple of little bats.  Allow to dry!
The painted festive monster! 
7 - Colour in the monster tongue. Leave to one side to dry. If you haven't printed the card outside with the monster mouth on coloured paper you might like to colour in the inside of his mouth too.

8 - Carefully cut out the teeth and monster tongue, then fold along the dotted lines.
The cut out tongue and teeth , folded along dotted lines.

To fold the tongue - Fold in half lengthways along the dotted lines, then fold along the diagonal dotted lines. Then open out and fold the square end downward a little inside the tongue. (See photo)
Folding the tongue
9 - Open the monster card, and apply a little glue to the flat end of the monster tongue, before gluing inside the mouth. Be sure to alight the folds so he can still open and close his mouth!

Inside the mouth! showing the tongue and teeth glued in place.
10 - Apply a little glue to the folded tabs on the monster teeth and glue inside the mouth. You can add as many or as few as you like. Be careful not to stick over the folds. Allow to dry.

And from the front, monster with teeth and tongue, say 'Aaaaah!'
11 - To finish the card, we need to stick the outer card to the back of the monster, so we can see inside his mouth!. Put a little glue around the edges of the card outside and line up the monster pop up, before sticking firmly. Allow to dry.

12 - You can write a festive message on your card, or even decorate the outside too.

When the recipient opens their card, they get a monster surprise! RAWR!!!

The finished card! Have a monster Christmas :)

This tutorial and accompanying templates are exclusive to The Monster Machine and strictly for personal use only. The Monster Machine is © Nicola L Robinson 2012 all rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 27

I've opened an illustration print shop on my main website...

For those of you who enjoy my monster machine work, you may also be interested in my other illustrations, after many moons and numerous requests I have finally organized opening a shop selling prints of some of my work directly through my main website.

Dragons, Giant Squid and more... ready to be framed and hung on your walls! All prints are professionally printed on the highest quality Hahnemuhle German Etching Paper 310gsm which gives the prints a fantastic finish. 

Postage is included in the cost to all UK customers who can buy prints directly from my site by clicking on the buy now buttons, I can also ship to other countries, but please contact me first as this will be subject to additional shipping costs.

Do head over to my illustrator site and check it out!

Many thanks,


Friday, November 23

Tuesday, November 6

Joseph's Monster collage for his Grandma

This very bold and striking collaged monster was made by Joseph, Age 4, from Santa Clarita, California for his Grandma, as a thank you for giving him The Monster Machine. I hope you enjoyed the book Joseph!
Thank you very much for sending it to me to see :)

Monday, November 5

Monster Art - from Alison Age 4

This very colourful and presumably very furry monster was sent to me over the weekend.

Drawn by Alison, age 4 who lives in Monterey, California.

Having just returned from a trip to San Francisco myself I am a bit jealous, haha :)

Monstrous thanks Alison!

The Monster Gallery

Saturday, October 27

Happy Halloween from The Monster Machine! (a monster picture book)

Monsters! They're going to eat your brains and gain your knowledge... just kidding :)

It's that time of year again, when the night creeps in and the temperatures drop and all the creepy crawly things that should be outside decide to come inside with you where it is nice and warm.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Halloween is upon us once more! So I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween from myself and all the monsters in The Monster Machine...  (The Monster Machine is not a scary picture book, but it is a monster picture book)

All of the monsters are really excited about Halloween, as it will be their very first one, they have made some special monster Halloween stew to celebrate. I haven't asked what they have put in it...

Spot the Monsters?

If you have a copy of the book already why not try to spot all the monsters? all of the monsters in the illustration can be found within the pages of The Monster Machine, apart from the pumpkin and the Halloween monster chef, who is a new addition to the ever expanding clan and also happens to be a bit of a star in the kitchen, according to the other monsters...

Draw a monster!

If your little monsters are feeling particularly monstrous and creative this Halloween and beyond (who really needs an excuse for monsters?) you can send me their monster drawings and I will add them here to the Monster Machine blog.
Send any monster drawings to with your name and where you live and maybe the name of your monster too if he has one!
More on 'The Monster gallery' here

Happy Halloween!