Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


Before I begin this review of what has to be not only one of the most prodigious (if not THE ultimate) instructional & informative books dealing with paper mache’mixed media available to buy today. Then it most certainly ranks in the top five. I must just say I had promised Dan a video review using one of the puppets I am building. (Boney ‘D) Sadly the puppet in question is not finished indeed far from it at this stage. Since I wanted to get this review out as soon as possible (other commitments permitting) I decided to go for the box standard text & pictures review. One of the first things you will notice is that I have chosen to use a minimal amount of pictures ‘direct’ from the book. Deciding which pictures to finally use was a hard decision to make I assure you. I chose to use so few pictures for two simple reasons.

1: There is just so many excellent pictures that the choice was a hard one. Scanning & re-scanning pictures over the better part of an hour before deciding on those you will see below was most definitely NOT easy.

2: If I had let myself just scan away mindlessly I could have easily left nothing for the purchaser/reader to see & breech copyrights on what is & is not permissible as use within a review.

The decision WAS a tough one I can tell you, but I went with the few you will see in the end. Not simply as a wild ‘what the hell’ gamble as anyone who has viewed ANY of Dan’s video’s on his website or his NEW slower versions on his forum WILL know the book follows extremely closely to what Dan has shown in his video’s. So NOTHING I could do here by showing more pictures could improve what Dan has given us already. So without any further delay beyond that I have taken so far here is my personal review of this Dan Reeders latest book which as far as I am concerned is a work of art in itself.


This is not the first of Dan’s efforts in the mysterious world of book writing, indeed no. It is in fact one of six books Dan has written. Five of which are on the subject of papier mache’ & one is a short story about a little dragon: Williams Treasure. That's William in the picture above (under Dan's name bottom middle) right on the front cover of his latest book. For now I am going to concentrate on this Papier-Mache MONSTERS Turn Trinkets and Trash into Magnificent Monstrosities Dan’s latest paper creation.
To begin with it is a soft back edition that is a comfortable size to hold & have nearby when following Dan’s very detailed instructions even if you are limited for space on your work table. With one hundred & fourty four pages cram packed full of incredibly detailed & accurate pictures with just the right amount of text to accompany each image to guide even the most fresh of beginners through quite complicated looking constructions. As you can see from the contents page below you may be easily fooled into thinking the books width & the listed content to be not a lot. I assure you would be wrong if you thought that. Once you turn over from the contents page you will be delving into more information than you can take on board in a single reading.

Once the book begins proper Dan takes you on & out from the very start of the methology & tools he uses & you will need in this art form. For those of us who know our way around a sheet of paper & some glue even then Dan’s teachings are still an engrossing read.

Of course you have to remember this is a book not a video. So there WILL be ‘expected’ gaps, or minor jumps between one picture to the next. Do not be alarmed at the thought of this though each step & depicted picture in turn are very closely knit together. So what at first may seem like a great leap from one step to another, if you look carefully you WILL see the way you progress through each stage quite clearly. Because of the simplistic layout Dan brings a wonderful mix of sophisticated techniques to the reader in such a relaxed style. Indeed the section showing the wonderful pig creation is so relaxed Dan takes his injected humour to a new level even for him for those of us who have the pleasure of knowing him more closely myself included won’t/didn’t expect this seriously funny section. As I have said though the book is so well presented the pictures alone here are more than enough to work from.


As you work your way through the book be it just as a relaxing read with your favorite drink & snack or actually as you begin to delve into the world of creating with paper mache. You will quickly become acquainted with the masterful manor in which Dan reveals how so many of his & other artists works actually use some of the SAME most basic principles to create wonderful effects. Indeed as one good example during the creation of Dan’s pig (above) the methods he uses are the same as with his dragon head trophy with some obvious adjustments allowing for shape & size between each creature. Yet both creations could not be more dissimilar if they tried once completed. As seen with the dragon head trophy below.


As you become more relaxed soaking up the wealth of secrets Dan shares & then begin your first creation. You will quickly understand that it makes little to no difference whether you are making a small table top sized screamer or a one meter tall dragon head trophy of your own. Dan’s methods are so simple & as such can easily & readily be used just as effectively on something as small as a plastic doll (shown below) to create marvelous mixed media monstrosities be they for Halloween or just because you have a taste for things of a dark monster like in nature. The main thing & the simplest of all to remember with Dan’s method, my methods or any of the many hundreds of other paper mache mixed media artists/sculptors around the world today. Is NOT to try to emulate exactly what Dan is showing you, more try to emulate his ‘methods’. Very soon you will be creating art too.


Once you have read the start of Dan’s book several times & then feel confident enough to begin your own projects, which thanks to Dan’s marvelous relaxed yet very in depth teaching methods will show & you begin to create you will very quickly find once you have finished creating your first monster following the books instructions you will want to begin another project. Instead of simply leaving you to your own imaginations Dan’s book then continues on showing you some of his other wonderful works. You just know from the point in the book where the page header says ‘More Monsters’, the short introduction to this section & the simply awesome ‘creatures’ shown below. That there is even more yet still to come & believe me what Dan has to show you will blow your mind. Dan’s creations are nothing if not inspiring to look at. If you have created something using Dan’s techniques from this or any of his previous books you will quickly come to understand how everything & ANYTHING IS possible.

Simple screamers, dragon heads, trophies or otherwise, monstrous bloated beasties swinging from ropes, ladders or trapped in cages, perched on shelves even simple puppets that will turn heads as you make them dance or walk by your side. What may have once seemed unimaginable for you to be able to even think of creating before many, many creations of all kinds will be waiting to be born through your hands & thanks to the guidance of Dan’s book(s) YOU can do it too.


Once again just when you think Dan has given you all he is going to give you. Another section leaps out at you as you turn the dwindling pages thinking “No the books near the end now. There can’t be much left to see?”. Just then another section leaps out at you screaming ‘Wait until you see this’.


I didn’t want to bring this review to an end without including a ‘excerpt’ from the last page. Why? Well there were many things I could have said about this marvelous book & didn’t. Indeed there are many, many things I wanted to say but couldn’t – Spoilers & all that lol. But having read the book several times myself I felt I couldn’t do this review justice without allowing Dan to have the last say himself direct from the book. Having read the book & I guarantee you will & more than once & not just for references sake either. This book will leave you in awe of a fantastic art form that at first appeared to be way beyond your reach, but indeed thanks to Dan’s teaching methods couldn’t more in your grasp.

If this is the first book of the fantastic artist Dan Reeder that you have bought to date then you will be glad to know that his other books can be bought from several places. For FULL details of Dan’s other books, prices simply go to his website today Sadly his earliest works are no longer printed BUT, they can still be found if you look around. Of course once you buy ANY of Dan’s books you will surely want to others to add to what will be a fantastic collection of art design master pieces to adorn anyone’s book shelves. If you buy Dan’s latest books direct from his website you get the extra prize of actually having them autographed by the artist himself.

It gives me great pleasure & pride to both know Dan personally as a friend & fellow mixed media artist, but also to have been granted permission to use pictures directly from his latest book to help make this review possible.

Thank you my friend. Never stop doing what you do.


This review was written for the admiration & respect i have for my friend & fellow artist Dan Reeder & the pictures were used with consent by the copyright owner Dan Reeder. I would appreciate it if readers would respect my work by NOT simply taking anything from this review without first seeking my permission. I would ask that you would show the SAME respect to Dan Reeder too & NOT copy any of the pictures i used without Dan's permission.



  1. thank you for the book review.i've already started a screamer last night not knowing about your new post although i've promised myself to finish my little projects first...i think i broke my promises while i'm waiting for the stuffs to i blame the drying time hehe... the head ball is ready but who knows when it gonna be a screamer.anyway intentions counts and i would like to give it a would be great to have it as an experience in my "luggage".i've also tried your napkin technique on a pumpkin now is drying as i failed at my very fist mache earrings.they wasn't enough hard after drying.
    so much to do so little time for it.....

    Ps question-i use household acrylic wall paint instead of you know what's the differemce between them?

    thank's in advance


  2. Ildiko said...

    "Ps question-i use household acrylic wall paint instead of you know what's the differemce between them?

    thank's in advance"

    I haven't a clue sorry?

  3. I love Dan Reeder's work too! I think I really need to get his book!!!! Great review!

  4. Either tell Dan what you make or better still show him your blog (link) & he will tell you which of his books would be best for you to buy. I promise you what you don't know already Dan's books WILL set you on the right path if you want to work the way he does.