An artist who draws monsters next to unsuspecting subway riders is blowing up on social media

Hug subway doodleCourtesy Ben RubinBen Rubin creates the ‘Subway Doodle’ creatures on his iPad.

Ben Rubin has worked in television for 25 years and owns The Mint Farm, a marketing company that creates commercials and promotions for television networks and social media.
However, he has recently become a star on social media himself by posting images of furry monsters superimposed on subway travellers to Facebook and Instagram.

His “Subway Doodle” creatures run the gamut from cuddly to blood-curdling — kind of like New York City subway riders themselves.

Rubin has always been an artist.

'I've been drawing all my life, though there was a time where, for a couple years, I just didn't do much art,' he said.

Then he bought an iPad.

'I would sit on the subway to and from work and just sit and draw.'

Rubin started sharing his creations on social media about two years ago.

'I started posting them as a place to archive and collect them, and it just kind of took off, which was kind of unexpected,' he said.

Subway Doodle now has over 52,000 followers on Instagram.

He mostly draws furry blue monsters, but sometimes other life forms make guest appearances.

'I like to think I'm still drawing the things I drew as a kid,' he said.

'I spent my childhood sitting in the back of the classroom drawing monsters and comic book characters in my notebooks, and I'm essentially doing the same thing.'

He doesn't pick specific kinds of people to target, but does enjoy drawing around people who seem to be in their own worlds.

'Part of the humour comes from somebody sitting on the subway, staring at their phone or reading their book, and... isn't even phased by the grotesque creature sitting next to them,' he said.

Occasionally, he'll ask family or friends to pose, but most of the time he takes photos of people without them knowing.

'I never do anything that if somebody saw themselves in my drawing they would be upset with what I did to them,' he said, though he's rethinking that given his increasing audience.

'I'm not deliberately trying to make any kind of statement,' he said. 'Occasionally my work has some kind of social commentary, whether it's about etiquette on the subway...'

'Or the occasional political statement.'

'But ultimately I do these just because I enjoy making them.'

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