When artists take initiative and spearhead projects that showcase their passions, it can lead to opportunities that no one could predict. That's exactly what happened when Jared Andrew Schorr made a poster featuring a thoroughly modern (and totally adorable) monster alphabet.

It “started with me and Sally throwing ideas around about what kinds of projects would be fun to work on,” Jared says. “She suggested designing an alphabet, and I liked it. So I came up with two of each letter and then picked the better one and cut them all out.”

For two years afterwards, Jared worked on other projects ... and then the alphabet “seemed to spark something” in the British natural snack food companyBEAR. “[They]asked me to do a whole new alphabet for them,” says Jared. The Monsterbet was born, and BEAR has since become a major client for him.

Under the guidance of Hayley Gait-Golding, Emma Hines, and Andrew Williams, he designed the look for BEAR's first TV commercial and created Monster Magnets, which are included in each box of BEAR Alphabites cereal. With names like Horace the Hairsniffler and Sly the Slippery Spynoodler, the Monsterbet characters hit just the right note between scary and hilarious, and each magnet includes an engaging array of mini-games, puzzles, and factoids. Jared says that BEAR also “did an amazing job of taking the assets I created for them to make an awesome site [where] kids create their own monster alphabet character.”

Jared sees personal and self-initiated projects as effective ways for illustrators to show people what they're capable of, while at the same time recharging their own creative batteries. “It's nice to create without a purpose other than the creation itself,” he says. “Getting lost in the process is always fun, because you can make no mistakes. It's all discovery, and that's super exciting!”

Written by Eve Tolpa