Don't Look Now, but There's a Monster Next to You on the Subway

Woman on subway grins
A little human-monster interaction in this creation from artist Ben Rubin. .

Ben Rubin /

Woman grins on subway
According to Ben Rubin, this doodle represents the bizarre experience of sitting on the subway and realizing you have someone's backside in your face; it's just part of the experience. Incidentally, this is Rubin's mother, who apparently has a good sense of humor. Ben Rubin /

Artist Ben Rubin has been drawing all his life, and as the owner of a marketing studio in Brooklyn, he gets to stretch his artistic muscles every day, creating promotions and commercials for television networks. But it's the "Subway Doodles" he composes to and from the office that are really turning heads.

man on subway listening on headset
This monster just wanted his morning cup of coffee. Ben Rubin /

Rubin, who has more than 148,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 20,000 on Facebook, takes photos of his fellow commuters during his ride to and from work and uses those photos on his iPad to add (mostly) blue, fuzzy monsters that casually lurk among the population.

"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 told Insider.

woman reads on subway
This monster couldn't help himself — it looked like a really good book. Ben Rubin /

"When I began Subway Doodle, I took pictures on my iPad, but I wasn't happy with the image quality. I began taking pictures on my iPhone and transferring them to my iPad via Photostream. Once I select a photo to doodle, I import the photo into Procreate. Procreate is the drawing app that I use," Rubin tells MNN.

bored boy sits on subway station bench
Both the monster and the boy are sooooo over waiting on this bench. Ben Rubin /

Some of Rubin's monsters are cute and cuddly, while others are scary, gory or sad. Rubin admits the way he's feeling at the time influences the direction of his doodles.

"The idea I have in mind often dictates whether the the creatures are cute or scary. But sometimes the creatures are a reflection of my mood. It feels good to externalize my emotions. It's 'doodle therapy,'" he says.

Man asleep on subway
Haven't you ever just wanted to snuggle up next to someone taking a nap?. Ben Rubin /

Rubin says he takes a lot of photos, but very few of them become doodles — maybe one out of 100.

"When I'm taking pictures, I rarely have a concept in mind, so many of the photos simply don't provide any inspiration. A large number of my photos are too blurry to use, especially when I am taking the pictures on a moving subway in low lighting conditions," Rubin says.

sad monster on subway
What a sad monster — he has a case of the Mondays. Ben Rubin /

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

Person with backpack on subway platform
This monster is just tagging along for the ride. Ben Rubin /

Rubin considers himself lucky to be doing what he does, both at his marketing firm (called The Mint Farm) and with his doodles.

"My business partner handles all of the operational and financial aspects, which allows me to focus 100 percent on the creative. On any given day, I lose myself in writing, editing or designing graphics. I couldn't be happier."