do it yourself: Name Monster Drawing

Create a fantastical creature or monster from your name! Explore symmetry as you design a one-of-a-kind monster using markers and your imagination.

guidelines + materials

AGE: 4+ (with adult support)

TIME FRAME: 45 minutes


  • 1 Sheet of Paper
  • 1 Set of Colored Markers
  • 1 Pencil


1. Write your name. Fold the paper in half lengthwise (hotdog fold) and crease the center. Open the paper back up and write your name in cursive on the fold line, large enough to take up most of the half side of the paper. An adult can write the name if necessary.

2. Create the mirror image. Trace over your name heavily with a pencil (2 – 3 times). Refold the paper on the crease and rub over the paper with the back of a marker. Check inside to see if the name has transferred onto the other side of the sheet. If not, keep rubbing. Once complete, you’ll see a lighter mirror image (reverse image) of the name on the other side of the paper.

3. Design your monster. Open the paper and retrace your name on both sides with black marker. Look at your monster design and see what stands out to you as possible parts of your monster. Usually there will be shapes that suggest eyes (maybe more than 2!), antennae, etc. Then, use the marker to add new lines and designs.

4. Add color. Use the colored markers to color in your monster with different colors and patterns.

5. Share your work! Let family and friends see the cool monster you’ve made and talk to them about how you made it! What surprised you? Do you have a favorite part within your monster? If you would like to make another monster, experiment with turning your paper upside down and designing your monster from the bottom up.

Additional Learning Activities (Grades K – 4)

Creature Collage
Cut out your monster and glue it onto another paper or sheet of cardboard. Then, use whatever materials you can find to add more features to your creature. Why not try yarn for hair or fun, shiny elements by gluing on pieces of tin foil? Play with the materials you have and collage directly on top of your monster design.

What’s Their Story?
Think about the creature you’ve created and give it a story. What kind of personality to do they have? What do they like to do? Dress up your background with drawings and color by thinking about where your monster might live or be found.

Select a Story!
Reading is a wonderful vehicle for learning and for introducing new ideas to learners. Select engaging and age-appropriate books that feature monsters or imaginary creatures and read them to your child before and/or after the Name Monster activity.

Recommended Related Reading (Ages 4 – 10):

  • Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
  • The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions by Anna Llenas
  • I’m Not Just a Scribble by Diane Alber

CA Arts Standards for Visual Art (Grades K – 4)

  • Through experimentation, build skills in various media and approaches to art-making.
  • Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.
  • Discuss and reflect with peers about choices made in creating artwork.
  • Create personally satisfying artwork using a variety of artistic processes and materials.
  • Explore and invent art-making techniques and approaches.
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Museum Open Memorial Day 5/27

NCM will be open Memorial Day, Monday, May 27.

Plan your visit!