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breeden
ursulav

Random Sketchiness...

Playing around with more anime--might follow up the dragon girl with another anthro-mythical type, in this case, a manticore. I remember when I was a kid, I had this book, Encyclopedia of Legendary Creatures (mentioned in Irrational Fears) which had the most spectacular illustration of a manticore by Victor Ambrus. But like gorgons, basilisks and chimeras--the original kind, with the goat and the lion and the snake thingy, not the random combination of peculiar species, which, while chimerical, isn't quite the same as the multi-headed classic--manticores are dreadfully obscure beasties. Back when I was writing some of the worst prose ever hammered out by a pre-teen, I had an entire saga featuring manticores, but believe me, we're all glad it's lost to mankind forever and that I graduated onto bigger and better things. Like...err...chupacabras. Um. Right.



Anyway, I was doodling in Painter and that's what I came up with. I'm getting wrist twitchies, so while I've increased the pressure sensitivity of the stylus, (I tend to drive it viciously into the tablet) I think this chick may have to stay in sketch form for at least another day or two so that I don't lose a few days to a bout of tendonitis. Although for all I know, it's all the damn clicking I do playing "Rins of Myth Drannor," or typing long and furious rants about how fig wasps prove that any divinity designing life on earth approves of infanticide, incest, and family planning. (Don't ask. Trent Lott would not approve of the fig wasp.)

Digital doodling



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Big pants!

I remember a book from my childhood of mythical/legendary animals, but cannot remember the name of it. It had the regular dragons and manticores and stuff, but it also had vegetable sheep, some sort of forest cat with funny patterned fur, and a deer that ate humans and had the shadow of a human. Did you ever see this one? I've been beating myself about the head trying to remember the name of it.

I think the deer creature you're thinking of is the Peryton.
Half-bird, half-deer with the shadow of a man. Follow the link for more information.

That is seriously cool. *adds perytons to her list of things to someday illustrate*

The vegetable sheep is, in fact, the legendary "vegetable lamb" which people believed in quite sincerely, including many scholars, for centuries (and used as part of the proof of things like spontaneous generation.) Supposedly there was a plant which grew a sheeplike creature, which hung off the plant like a fruit, stem growing from its naval, and ate all the vegetation in a circle around the plant until finally, having exhausted the local food supply, it starved to death. There was quite a trade in fake vegetable lambs for many centuries, which probably amused the hell out've the natives in the obscure areas of Mongolia that the vegetable lamb was from (as well as enriching them as they sold their creations to gullible naturalist tourists.)

In doing research recently for interesting races of beings and creatures to help me create a Fantasy world, I came across the story of the vegetable lamb. Based on what I read, it came from the misunderstanding of some Europeans toward the idea of cotton. The only fluffy white stuff used in fabric that they really knew well was wool, which came from sheep. They knew that cotton came from a plant, but they evidently couldn't quite put their minds around it completely, so it got convaluted into the idea of a vegetable lamb that grew on a plant from its navel and was harvested to make cotton for fabric. When I read this, I had the sickening but irresistably cute image of hundreds of tiny, fluffy sheep growing from a cotton plant, swaying in the breeze and saying, "baaaa" in tiny little voices. :-)

In doing research recently for interesting races of beings and creatures to help me create a Fantasy world, I came across the story of the vegetable lamb. Based on what I read, it came from the misunderstanding of some Europeans toward the idea of cotton. The only fluffy white stuff used in fabric that they really knew well was wool, which came from sheep. They knew that cotton came from a plant, but they evidently couldn't quite put their minds around it completely, so it got convaluted into the idea of a vegetable lamb that grew on a plant from its navel and was harvested to make cotton for fabric. When I read this, I had the sickening but irresistably cute image of hundreds of tiny, fluffy sheep growing from a cotton plant, swaying in the breeze and saying, "baaaa" in tiny little voices. :-)

(if this gets posted multiple times, I appologize--I'm having trouble posting comments....)

I need to get around to drawing a peryton for Rainwing sometime.

My reference ('Encyclopedia of Things that Never Were, Page and Ingpen, 1985 - not sure of the overall veracity of it, but it's got to be better-researched than the 1st Ed. AD&D Monster Manual...) confirms my memory that manticores have a scary amount of teeth. Most old-style images I've seen of the things tend to show their head opening in a manner reminiscent of a Pez dispenser. And they can shoot spikes fro ma ball on the end of their tail.

I guess we can chalk up the scorpion tail and little bow mouth to sexual dimorphism. *grin*

Well, dang. I knew about the triple row of teeth, of course, (and while she's got a few visible fanglets if you get right up close, there's a limit to what I can make my fledgling anime skills portray.) but my on-line quest turns up either "iron spikes" or "poison sting" on the tail, with the spiky bits obviously having historical precedent.

It's that bloody Piers Anthony...one of his books had a cover illustration of a manticore with a scorpion tail. Which is ironic, given that I haven't read anything by him in a decade and generally can't stand his work now, but the cover illustration sticks with me. Excuse me while I sink into the Charlton Heston version of "You...damn...dirty...manticore!"

Ooh, yes, the one on the very first Xanth novel... and if I recall correctly, the image was very orange-brown in color. Well, girls with scorpion tails are fun to draw anyway. And those are some happening pants you gave her.

Doing the cover to a Xanth novel seems to be some kind of Tithonioan* immortality for an artist, as I think they're still using the same cover art from the first editions: your art will survive as long as there are horny teenagers to devour the series, but will be forever attatched to that.

* from Greek myth, Tithonius was granted eternal life, but not eternal youth; he got ever more ravaged by advancing age, until he turned into a grasshopper. In turning him into an adjective, I'm being more conceptual than literal - Tithonian immortality is a kind of immortality you really don't want.

I wandered to the bookstore today and checked: yep, 'A Spell For Chameleon' still has the same painting of Bink trying to out-talk a manticore, with a scorpion tail. The painting's by Michael Whelan, so it's not as if you're remembering bad art... just good art gracing a bad book.

Having nothing but respect for Mr. Whelan, I'll just assume he was young and needed the money.

Cool, thanks for that link! I do believe that was the name of the deer creature. There were many other creatures like that in the book that noone really mentions much. The book was around circa early 80s because my school library had it. Each creature had a text page and a picture page. The illustrations all looked very medieval style paintings, ala the unicorn tapestry or Fra Angelico. I remember the pictures well, just not the name of the book.

Yay chimeras! I like chimeras. Sadly, I think I've only ever heard of them here and in a Final Fantasy game.
(fear me, I am a random poster and visitor to your website!)

heraldry research is great for fabulous and compund beasties

Some of the most thorough discussion of fabulous and compund beasts can be found in English and European heraldry. Here's an online reference, thin on illustrations.
http://skell.org/SKELL/beastdict2.htm
A good book to find, through inter-library loan if nothing else, is _The Heraldic Imagination_ by Rodney Dennys. Where else can you learn of the obscure legend of the bonacon? It's not much to look at, but it is exceedingly odd.

Re: heraldry research is great for fabulous and compund beasties

*notes that they have "Wonderful Pig of the Ocean" but not manticores* P'raps this is even more obscure than I realized...or maybe nobody wanted one on their shield.

Re: heraldry research is great for fabulous and compund beasties

No, just the online link isn't that complete, even if it did have calygreyhounds :). Dennys in _The Heraldic Imagination_ gives two full pages to the manticore and the sometimes-related -depending-on -the-medieval- beastiary -you're-reading -at-the-time mantyger. Cites the earliest appearance of the manticore in English heraldry to be 1470, in the badge of a Sir William Hastings (described as a "staunch adherent and friend of King Edward IV during the War of the Roses"). A few other descriptions & illustrations are provided.

I suspect that one little mishap will instruct her to keep that tail curled up the other way!

Ouch!

Cute, though!

===|==============/ Level Head

Could you do your anime thing with your robotic aminal thing? I think a robotic manicore anime archer would be a stretch....~EG~

Of course, I may have just had too little sleep...

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