The Nightmare Monkey Girl

…And then there are projects you keep around for years and years and years, because you don’t understand them, but they just compel you for some reason anyway…

So, once upon a time, I sculpted a monkey head from Sculpey.  I’m not sure why.  It’s just what came out.  But I saw her VERY CLEARLY in my head.  Shriveled, sort of like a baked apple. Gnarled hands.  I saw her in derby gear, for some reason.  I wasn’t exactly sure where she came from or what she was doing…but she was there, annoying me, and I just needed to get her out.

I sculpted her head, and got it exactly the way I wanted it, first try.  And then it sat there for years.  And years.  And YEARS.


It sat there for so long because I just wasn’t sure what to DO with her.  So about 3 years after I sculpted her, I decided to give it another go.  I sculpted her gnarled little hands.  I wanted them to be ape-like, and wearing roller derby gloves, because, hey–that was what she looked like in my brain.


A little acrylic paint really added some creep factor into the face & hands…



So now what?  The best I could figure was that I’d make her like a stuffed animal.  This was well before I had done any research on how to meld Sculpey with fabric, so I did the best I could.  I made doll arms and attached them with thread through the loops in the wrists and up near the armpit, then secured the edges with fabric glue.  I wanted the hands to look “wrapped,” so eventually I figure I might wrap & glue the hands to cover the seam.  But honestly, who knows?


I had gotten some doll skates years ago, when the idea first nagged me, and I attached them to her doll feet.  I attached her limbs to a simple hairy monkey doll body I made.  In my head, I had hoped to maybe paint tattoos all over her arms and legs…

In any case, she sat there for a while longer in this phase, just looking all mournful.  Probably mad at me for creating her in the first place without a solid plan.  But hey, monkey girl–that’s sometimes how it goes, okay?


From time to time, Myla would pick her up and ask me if I was done with her.  “No,” I’d say.  “I’m not sure WHAT I’m doing with her yet.”  I told her she kind of creeped me out, to which Myla replied, “I think she’s a CUTE creepy monkey girl.  But she needs some hair.”

In my mind, she has dreadlocks.  Gnarly, dirty, dusty, stick-covered dreadlocks.  With leaves and twigs and stuff stuck in them.  I follow a dollmaker on Instagram who uses wig hair from salon shops, but that idea with this monkey girl creeped me out more than even I could stomach.  So I went with this tattered yarn.  Which, unfortunately, is cotton candy pink…but maybe one day I will dye it dark brown.  Or maybe she’s a natural pink, who knows.  (Myla votes to keep it pink).

I sculpted her little helmet so that it slips on and off quite easily, and stay on fairly well.  It needs little stickers or doodles or something all over it, just like a REAL derby monkey ape-girl thing…


And here she is at this stage.  And she’s sad.  And sort of pitiful, because most likely, she’ll lie her for a very very VERY long time.  Unfinished and uncertain.  And I think she knows it.


So there you go.  The nightmare monkey girl that has haunted me for years.  Maybe if I pass her image on, she’ll stop haunting me, and tell me how to finish her.  She’s like a little monster in the corner you forget about until suddenly she catches your eye, and gives you the shivers.  Myla still thinks she’s “cute.”

But for all of you out there who will now be haunted by the Nightmare Monkey Girl:  YOU’RE WELCOME.


13 responses

  1. HAHAHAH!!! That last picture is exactly how I felt after a hard bout. 🙂 Good job!!

  2. She is creepy, but beautiful creepy.

  3. Um, she’s terrifying and amazing and now I really want to go play with Sculpey!

  4. Awesome! Unfinished projects lie in the shadows mocking you. We talk about the “monkey” that tells us our work is terrible, and we try to tame the monkey so we can get on with our work. That’s tough when the work IS a monkey! I think you just need to tell her to shut up and be quiet, and when it’s her turn you’ll tell her. I am going to share this with my drawing friends! I love the pink locks!

  5. You are so funny!!! And talented. I like your creepy derby monkey. 🙂

  6. You are so funny! (And very talented!) I really like your creepy derby monkey. I vote to keep the pink hair, too! Maybe you could watch the movie “Whip It” with Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore for inspiration? 🙂

    1. Hah! Thank you. Yep, I used to play derby, and it brought out my animal nature, so that’s sort of what inspired me, I guess…

  7. She needs knee pads and elbow guards. And some flames on those skates would be fun. I have a niece who does roller derby in Houston. Her skate name is Grim Cracker. Maybe your monkey girl would feel better if she had a name.

    1. That’s a great name, too! Yep,I had plans for little derby pads, and even a little punk rock t-shirt and hotpants….just can’t seem to finish them…

  8. She’s beautiful and creepy and perfect. Keep going! Doodle her little tattoos on her arms. Give her fantastic mural sleeves of the jungle she came from.

    It’s like she’s lost but a delicate, wandering kind of lost.

    I don’t know what I’m saying but I do know she’s awesome.

    1. Thank you so much! Maybe she’s like a jungle animal who was attracted to the animalistic nature of derby….

  9. I think you need to contact Tim Burton and Henry Selick because this should be their next film or at least a character in it. Norma Jean the Roller Derby Nightmare Monkey Girl. Name up for debate but that is what popped in my head. Love her :o)

    1. Heheh! Norma Jean sounds like a good one! Thanks

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