Creative Creatures

Sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest of places. The Surrealists certainly thought so, and the German illustrator, Stefan Kuhnigk can definitely relate! The story goes something like this: During a short coffee break in 2011, Stefan spilled some of his coffee on a piece of paper and discovered something interesting. To him, the spill looked a lot like a little figure. Stefan used the rest of his break to develop the coffee stain into a little monster. The following day, he thought, “Well, I could do it daily, just to be creative every day. So I took a spoon and spilled some coffee on some paper to see what would happen.” What started as accidental inspiration has resulted in over 600 creative coffee monsters!

Using abstract blotches, smudges, or marks to kick-start your imagination can have some pretty amazing results. In one way or another, we’ve all done something similar. Have you ever noticed interesting shapes floating around in the clouds? What about a face on the moon? This is a phenomena called pareidolia, and artists have been playing with it for years. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A piece of paper
  • A splash of coffee, food colouring, or diluted paint
  • A pen, pencil, or sharpie – Anything to make marks with!


  • Place a protective layer between your paper and the surface you’re working on.
  • Using a spoon or a dropper, splash your diluted paint, coffee, or food colouring onto your paper.
  • Make sure to let the liquid completely dry!
  • Take some time to really look at the mark you’ve created. Let your imagination see forms, shapes, or figures.
  • Use your pencil, pen, or Sharpie to draw what you see. Sometimes it’s nice to sketch out figures with a pencil first, and then outline your sketch with a black pen or marker.
  • Repeat as many times as you want!

Want to see more of Stefan’s Coffee Monsters? Click here or here!