Eight years ago, Stefan Kuhnigk was stuck in a meeting at the ad agency in Germany where he worked as a copywriter when he accidentally spilled his coffee on a blank piece of paper.

The logical thing to do would be to clean up the mess and toss it in a trash can. But Kuhnigk sat and stared at the stain — and an idea started to percolate.

He thought it resembled a small monster. So he set it on his desk and let the stain dry overnight, and when he returned the next morning he grabbed a pencil. He drew an outline around the brown blotch and added a grimace and a couple of eyes.

The first Coffeemonster was born.

He liked his little monster so much that the next day, he started spilling coffee on purpose. His co-workers at the ad agency in Hamburg were amused. They liked coffee, too, they said, but they preferred to drink it.

A few of them roasted him mercilessly.

“They didn’t know where this was headed,” Kuhnigk said. “I have to give it to them — I did not know either.”

Since then, Kuhnigk, 35, has made more than 600 Coffeemonsters — some sweet, some subversive — and has sold them across the globe as coffee mugs, T-shirts, wall clocks, tote bags, prints and original sketches. Each monster has a backstory and a following, and shows how one person’s mistake can be transformed into his inspiration.

His monsters include Waspophant and his girlfriend, Flyheather, mischievous lovers who are always kissing.

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#coffeemonsters 222 This is a true lovestory. They both know each other for a couple of days now and are so deeply in love, i don't know what to say. "Waspophant" and his girl "Flyheather" are really cool. Always playing tricks on each other. I catched them after she played a trick on him and poked his shoulder on the false side. She directly kissed him in surprise. Sweet. :) Made from best coffee, coffeemonsters are a daily thing. Join the monsters on www.thecoffeemonsters.com If you are interested in owning an original #coffeemonster yourself just message me: coffeemonsters@thecoffeemonsters.com Tagwords for instagram and twitter: #coffee #illustration #kaffee #kaffeemonster #monster #kunst #art #artist #artwork #brown #stain #fluid #fun #inspiring #handmade #idea #illustrator #pencil #paper #draw #drawing #comic #spilled #splash #spill #cute #love #elephant

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And Gabe and Jakyllo, troublemaking monsters who are on the run from police.

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#coffeemonsters 572 ✍️ . Storytime: Once they fled from the police they never gave up. Gabe and Jakyllo were closing in on the finish line but then they ran into a police barricade. What happened then is legend: They both ate all officers and ran on. And if noone catched them by now they are still running and laughing. . Follow me drawing monsters on www.youtube.com/coffeemonstershome . The FB with Livestreams: fb.com/coffeemonsters . Tags: #coffee #illustration #coffeemonstersart #coffeelover #kaffeemonster #monster #art #☕️ #kaffee #coffeeshop #coffeepainting #coffeeart #draw #espresso #cafe #pencil #Inspiration #omg #jump #dontworry #behappy #backriding . Made from best coffee, coffeemonsters are a more or less daily thing by artist Stefan Kuhnigk

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Kuhnigk’s fans follow him on social media (his Instagram has more than 22,000 followers), and he compiled 100 of his favorite caffeinated creations in 2016 to make “The Coffeemonsters Book” — which, naturally, is a coffee-table book. The book explains the different personalities and backstories of his monsters.

His work also was featured at a Starbucks in Hong Kong as part of an exhibit of coffee-fueled art.

Kuhnigk said his drawings appeal to almost anyone who loves Java. Who has not spilled a cup or two?

“The drawings connect creativity, quirkiness and coffee,” he said. “They’re also relatable and easy to understand, which makes them very likable, I think.”

What keeps Kuhnigk drawing (and splashing his cup of joe) is a simple blend of nuttiness and ingenuity, he said.

“I’ve always enjoyed doodling — in school, I always doodled and drew on my homework,” he said. “There was almost never a blank page. I like the romance of it — me, in a cafe, doodling.”

In public, though, he rarely tips over his coffee. At least, not intentionally.

Instead, Kuhnigk creates most of his Coffeemonsters at home, brewing up a fresh cappuccino or espresso after work.

"I drink some and spill some, then leave the stain to dry and come back to it someday for a drawing,” he said.

Each monster takes no more than 30 minutes to draw — about the same amount of time it takes him to finish drinking a cup of coffee with a drop of cream, no sugar.

Espresso leaves a deeper stain than a latte, he said, but sometimes, the stains are too dark for him to draw on.

“Most of the time, I live the cappuccino life,” said Kuhnigk, who now works as a copywriter for a different ad agency. “But you can use pretty standard office coffee too and get a perfect result. A stain is a stain.”

Because his spills are random, so are his creations.

Kuhnigk’s Coffeemonsters range from grotesque to goofy, with some sporting bulging eyes and two or three heads, and others resembling mocha-colored sea creatures and space aliens. Among his personal favorites is one he calls “the angry chicken.”

“Angry coffee — I love it,” he said.

After each spill, he usually lets his ideas steep for a few days. Or as he calls it, “brew.”

While Kuhnigk has many fans, he sometimes will get feedback from unimpressed people who will say, “Hey, I could do that,” he said.

Those are times when he takes a deep breath and a long drink of his cappuccino.

“It’s the best compliment you can get,” he tells himself.

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