David Atkins shows the friendly side of monsters in Bestiary exhibition at Bega's Spiral Gallery

The Ichthyosaurus monster illustrated by David Atkins is included in the Bestiary exhibition at Spiral Gallery.
The Ichthyosaurus monster illustrated by David Atkins is included in the Bestiary exhibition at Spiral Gallery.

By using bright colours and exaggerated lines, illustrator David Atkins has transformed scary monsters into lovable characters for his Bestiary exhibition at Spiral Galley in Bega. 

Mr Atkins has been drawing and painting for many years, finding inspiration in monsters, dinosaurs, stencils, beasts, comics, old posters and graffiti.

Starting out in mural and graffiti work, Mr Atkins is used to painting straight onto walls, but had to scale it down for his latest exhibition.

“I’ve still got some big pictures in this exhibition, the biggest is about two metres wide, it’s a monster dog, I call it the Dogosaurus,” he said.  

While the scale has dropped, the bright colours and bold outlines characteristic of graffiti remain. Mr Atkins said the Bestiary exhibition has taken about a year to put together.

“One artwork is a combination many others I have done, I draw a lot to get my ideas out, because it takes time to get them right,” he said.  

This technique lets him combine his pictures to make even more strange and wonderful beasts. 

“The more bizarre the better, we’ve got flat headed monsters, horned bandicoots, dragon worms,” he said.

The whimsical designs are not meant to be scary, Mr Atkins makes them colourful and eccentric to portray his monsters as friendly, even goofy. 

“I’m taking the scary thing that hides under a child’s bed or lurks in the dark and transforming it,” he said. 

“I draw big teeth or horns or claws, but in a way that makes them less scary. If the kids can see the picture and laugh at it, then it takes away their fear.”

Mr Atkins draws most of his inspiration from children, who request him to draw monsters from their imaginations. 

“They’re always have the best ideas, I’ve got a few I’m working on at the moment, which always inspire me to make more. 

Mr Atkins said he will collect suggestions from exhibition visitors and make a list of new ideas, so he can fill the world with even more friendly monsters. 

Bestiary opens at 5pm at Spiral Gallery on Friday, November 17. Exhibited prints will be available for purchase. The exhibition continues until November 29.