Monsters! Villains & Bad Guys
It's INEVITABLE ... If you are a picture-book creator, sooner or later you WILL be writing about and drawing MONSTERS. Monsters are FUN and SCARY all at the SAME TIME.
For picture-book creators who love FANTASY and ADVENTURE, tales about monsters are right up their alley.
For picture-book creators who prefer NON-FICTION and TRUE-TO-LIFE stories, the MONSTERS in their stories are the PROBLEMS and TRAGEDIES their characters face. Because MONSTERS can be METAPHORS.
Sometimes a grown-up says: I DON'T BELIEVE IN MONSTERS! That is a LIE. If you sneak into the grown-up's room late at night, in the dark, when they're asleep, and they don't  know that you can see them, you will find out... no matter how old they  are, they STILL won't let an  exposed foot hang out from under the covers or over the edge of the bed.
Grown-ups don't lie on purpose . . . Monsters are like SANTA CLAUS. . . Age appropriate stories are invented to help children understand and answer their questions about both MONSTERS and SANTA. Of course that's about where the similarities between the two end. Everybody knows there's no such person as Santa Claus.
Scary stories with monsters are like ROLLER COASTERS. . . Your heart POUNDS and POUNDS!! YOU'RE SCARED, BUT YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE REALLY OKAY! You were never in REAL DANGER
For instance . . . Most kids LOVE DINOSAURS. But then. . . There's not a T-Rex waiting outside, READY TO EAT THEM next time they leave  their house!
Parents and picture-book creators need to know what are AGE-APPROPRIATE MONSTERS for their specific youngsters. Babies and toddlers begin with PEEK-A-BOO. Not scary at all, of course but it is SURPRISING, and  it's just as much fun when you're 18 months old. Any MONSTERS at this age are just SOFT FURRY THINGS in the corner of the crib.
As the child ages, their MONSTERS AGE WITH THEM. Now the corner of the crib isn't good enough . . the monsters slink away and begin living in DARKK PLACES. . . UNDER THE BED. . . IN THE  CLOSET. . .
Creepy things living under beds and in dark closets are JUST THE BEGINNING . . . Because as kids get older, it won't be long until APPREHENSION gives way  to good old fashioned CURIOSITY. . . JUST EXACTLY WHAT IS UNDER THERE?!
This is when picture-book creators will have the most fun writing scary stories for kids! Of course, while keeping it all age-appropriate, make your monsters just as scary-mean-ugly-nasty-sneaky- and UNPREDICTABLE as you can make a monster be! Haveing said that . . .
Picture-book creators have a special gift that not all writers and artists possess. Picture-book creators who can write and draw MONSTERS & SCARY STORIES that kids love, have a truly unique & rare gift that not every picture-book creator possesses. Some monster and scary-story picture-book creators have the rarest gift of all. And, quite frankly, the rest of us DON'T WANT IT!!! despite the fact that it means you will likely sell KA-ZILLIONS of books!!
The RAREST OF GIFTS that a picture-book creator can possess  is that uncanny ability to satisfy the TOUGHEST READER OF ALL (generally a middle-school-aged boy) who just LOVES anything pertaining to body processes, functions & fluids. If that's your style of picture-book creating, then GOD BLESS YOU! I know your readers ADORE YOU in their own special, not-socially-acceptable way.
ANYWAY... as the child ages, their MONSTERS AGE, and this creates great fun for the picture-book makers, because now stinky, slimy monsters come out from under beds and from inside closets and begin evolving into VILLIANS and BAD  GUYS!
VILLIANS and BAD GUYS and their MAYHEM can get even meaner and even more scary as teh child grows up. This will help children get prepared for the REAL-LIFE SCARY MONSTERS they will face as adults.
Our original monsters will grow up with us, too, because NO ONE EVER outgrew a GOOD SCARY MONSTER STORY!