Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tony Millionaire: Leviathan

Hands down, Mr. Millionaire is one of the most talented artists around. Beyond his incredible illustration style he is a rare breed having mastered the hilariously dark four panel gag strip (Maakies) as completely as the touching children's tale (Sock Monkey, Billy Hazelnuts). Now his characters are stepping up to the animated cartoon series, The Drinky Crow Show on Cartoon Network.

Tony draws the classic mythological creature, the Leviathan, into his Maakies strips frequently and now it is in character development for the TV show. I pestered him for months to contribute to Beasts! and each time I did he asked me what the hell I was talking about. Eventually he offered to run his sketches of the creature. SO, here is your factoid: These sketches (embellished with Tony's esoteric notes) are the actual reference material being used by animators to create the look of the Leviathan for the Drinky Crow Show.

UPDATE: A still from the show which features the Leviathan!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sea Dragon.

I forget what kind of creature this is but it's a classic piece of clip art at this point. He lives on the BEASTS! credits page.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Johnny Ryan: Harpy

Johnny's Harpy made one hell of a Thanksgiving day Stranger cover...

Amanda Visell: Cerberus

Amanda chose the legendary Cerberus, hound of hell, for her contribution. However, after a couple of months she decided on another slant, contacting me with this new, funnier, and more narrative piece. And although I love the gateway to hell being his doghouse, the above art does not appear in the book.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mat Brinkman: Chenoo

The Chenoo are stone giants who tear up the countryside with unfettered anger. Not bright, or simply too blind in their rage, they become indiscriminate in their attacks, turning even on themselves and forgetting the object of their initial upset. Brinkman rules.

Reader Art: Aeron

Aeron is an artist and blog reader awaiting the posting of Mat Brinkman's piece. Here then is his vision for the stone giants that are Chenoo.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kevin Cornell: Donestre sketch and final art

Kevin's Donestre was one of the early pieces done for the book and the continued quality of submitted art helped me to feel confident about contacting more and more talented folks. To aim a bit higher. The Donestre is a lion-headed man-creature. One of the most clear archetypes in the bestiary, his nature compels him to devour travelers leaving only their head which he weaps over, lamenting his behavior.
The beast's expression is a beautiful, sympathetic portrait of shame and inner conflict. Perfect.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Andy Kehoe: Manticore

Red-pelted, man-headed lionine beast of India. The Manticore's most intriguing feature is its three rows of teeth. The best part of doing the Beasts! project was my constant discovery of new, truly incredible artists. Andy Kehoe is one of those... This is a gorgeous landscape blending brilliantly with the otherwise unlikely 'camouflage' of a red creature.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Swamp Thing

This is a cover article about the Swamp Thing movie monster from an old "Popular Mechanics." They don't tell you how to make the beast so much as they tell you about the guys who did, which is pretty disappointing.

Lagoon Monster Mask.

Beasts being born of the unknown it's not surprising that there are a lot of water creatures in the Beasts! book. I haven't counted but considering how little most of us get in or on the water it's disproportionately large... unless you consider the basic symbolism of water, and the trend of these creatures being suddenly born from it only to retreat back into its incubating depths. In any case, here we have an ad from the perennial vessel of popular monster culture, "Famous Monsters" Magazine.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Richard Sala: Vodnik

The Russian beast known as the Vodnik is reported in many forms: the appearance of a bearded old man, a water ghoul, or simply a floating log. Sala's vision brilliantly connects these experiences: A wayward traveler, were she among the lucky few to escape the Vodnik, may register being watched only to swing around and see water shimmering about this ominous log. Look beyond it and there your wrinkled ghoul lurks, retreating for the moment of a safer attack. The forest is haunted by the Vodnik's previous victims.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jenny Hanivers

Beast myths have many origins. The ones most interesting to me are the embedded cultural myths but then there are the so-called Jenny Haniver types. Purportedly found carcasses of strange creatures that are, in fact, hoaxes of taxidermy. Probably the most famous of these is Jake the Alligator Boy along with preserved mermaids, etc. Ebay is wonderful for finding creatures you didn't know exist. Witness the creature above, "discovered" washed up on a beach.


Some legends say that you become a werewolf by being bitten by certain dogs, others say it's punishment for, uh, fucking those dogs.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Josh Cochran: Tritons

Sketch and final art for this aggressive race of mermen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

1960s Kid Drawings

Tim Biskup: Amermait

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jesse LeDoux: Butatsch-ah-ilgs

The pencil sketch and final art for the obscure Swiss creature called Butatsch-ah-ilgs.

Fifty Foot Fist.

Some posts, such as this remarkable Mandrake the Magician page, do not appear in the book.