Online Bestiary & Mermecoleon & Fun Facts about Perytons!

I recently found an online bestiary at http://bestiary.ca/index.html that is too good not to share. For example, look at this most excellent crocodile:

I love the human feet sticking out of the mouth — and the curls on the creature’s back. Plus it’s got a face like a bear and very human eyes. The bestiary informs me that the ‘cocodrilus’ weeps after eating a man.

Inspired by this most excellent bestiary, I decided I wanted to try to draw an ‘ant-lion’ aka myrmecoleon. The bestiary tells me: There are two interpretations of what an ant-lion is. In one version, the ant-lion is so called because it is the “lion of ants,” a large ant or small animal that hides in the dust and kills ants. In the other version, it is a beast that is the result of a mating between a lion and an ant. It has the face of a lion and and the body of an ant, with each part having its appropriate nature. Because the lion part will only eat meat and the ant part can only digest grain, the ant-lion starves.

OK, well, I have already decided I want to go for version 2 because version 1 is probably only scary to ants. So I start thinking about ants and lions and how I can combine them… I look to my online bestiary for help and all I get is this:

OK, not quite what I was looking for… I’m guessing the above is a drawing of ‘version 1.’ So I looked at pictures of ants and pictures of lions and doodled some in my sketch book… not my best effort, but so far I have this:

Not terrible, but also not quite there yet. I think the lion head needs to look more insecty and the insect body needs to look more leonine.  This is just drawing 1. We’ll have to play with it some more.
In other interesting news, the ‘Peryton’ is NOT really a creature of myth like the harpy or griffin… it first appeared in Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Book of Imaginary Beings” (published originally in 1967 in Spanish, later published in English translation in 1969). Who knew?
According to Borges, the peryton casts a human shadow until it kills its first human; thereafter it casts a peryton shadow… so the illustration by Sutherland from the AD&D Monster Manual is quite correct!


Top 10 Search Terms

Here are the top 10 search terms people have used to find this blog since I started it:

top 10 search terms

The only one that has me confused is ‘rat monkey.’


The Iron Lady


Beholder attack

I posted this while working on it earlier; I think it is done now:


Goodman Art Folio

Shameless self promotion alert: Goodman Games has already published art folios about the work of Peter Mullen and Brad K. McDevitt; up soon will be one all about me — 16 pages of my drawings for DCC and Goodman stuff with commentary on my thoughts, musings and influences. I don’t have an exact release date yet; but this soft cover booklet is perfect for bathroom reading or as a gift for your best friends or dearest enemies – printed in basic black and white – available sometime soon from Goodman Games.

Here is the cover art when it was 1/2 way done… you can see a more complete version on the Goodman site. The text at the top is not a part of the drawing; it was just as an example/place holder.


Google Glass

These idiots are going to cause a lot of traffic accidents.

You have heard about ‘Google glass,’ right?  If you haven’t, it’s a tiny computer with a heads up display, camera and earpiece that you wear like a pair of glasses. It reads texts to you through the earpiece, can follow voice commands and can show you images via the heads up display. People are already at work on facial recognition aps and other functions that make this the smartphone that you wear rather than carry. It will photograph whatever you are looking at if you say, “OK, Google, take a picture.” Google is trying to make the computer as natural an extension of your body without putting it IN your body as current technology allows.

I’m surprised they didn’t call it ‘Google goggles’ or ‘Googgles’ or something like that.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old man, but I hate it already and think it’s fucking creepy to have a computer/smartphone/texting device that is always on my head and shows the world absolutely everything I see and is constantly whispering in my ear or showing me pictures so I never need to be alone ever again. I predict that the world will soon be divided between the ‘googlers’ who are constantly sharing absolutely everything they do and see and hear and the rest of us who don’t give a shit. Plus the googlers will wear their stupid devices while they drive or walk and probably swerve all over the place and run into the rest of us who aren’t simultaneously travelling AND surfing the fucking web or texting on our eyeballs at the same time.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin dialed the creep factor up to 11 when he said, “It’s really a device that wants to be outdoors, wants to be outside, wants to be with family and friends…”  Really? This device “wants” things? I want things like chicken… and when I get chicken, my dogs make it clear that they want chicken, too, and that seems perfectly natural to me… but I’m just not ready for a computer or smart phone or tablet or wearable computer goggles that wants things, too. There is entirely too much ‘wanting of things’ going on… and now that the purveyors of technology are claiming that things are starting to want things too, I’m about ready to say, “Enough, already” and go live in a cabin like Ted Kaczynski.

EDIT: Google Glass is also a device that does not want to be sold or shared. Not only has Google restricted early sales of the device to people who have made a compelling public pitch as to why they should be deemed worthy of owning the device, but, if you should be so lucky as to be ‘allowed’ to buy a pair of the cyber goggles, you are forbidden to sell, loan or give them to anyone else. Welcome to the brave new world where corporations are people and objects can tell their ‘owners’ the terms of ownership.


Maggie, I wish I’d never seen your face…

It has been a week or so, but all of the world is still chattering about Maggie Thatcher’s death. It feels a bit surreal, like Reagan’s death a few years ago — especially since people in the public sphere are falling over themselves to memorialize a woman many of them hated while she was alive. And, perhaps because she seemed to thrive on controversy and appeared to relish a good fight, ‘hating’ Maggie might be a better tribute to her than getting all misty eyed and sentimental.

About the best thing I saw about ‘Maggs’ wasthis Steve Bell cartoon in The Guardian. I think Bell is an underappreciated artist; a modern day Hogarth with the whimsy of Herriman.

I don’t live in the UK, so much of the debate on Thatcher’s reign doesn’t resonate with me because I doubt I understand all of the issues. But the breast beating and the discussion of ‘legacies’ and the eulogizing make me sick, much like the sight of all of the ‘war hero’ pomp and eulogizing of President Reagan in 2004 seemed fairly ridiculous since Ronald Reagan had spent his WW2 military service in Hollywood making training films. And now I hear that Maggie is getting the Hero’s funeral with carriages and guards and gold braid and the whole nine yards — giving ‘military honors’  to people who stuck pins in a map and signed the orders that sent others to die without ever bleeding themselves just does not sit right with me. John McCain IS both a politician and a war hero — I’m glad every morning that he isn’t my president, but I won’t deny that he earned his medals. Give him the military honors when he passes and I’ll have no complaints.

Maggie never bled, but she certainly liked to fight.  She was the scrapper to Ronald Reagan’s more avuncular and telegenic cold warrior (In addition to being fellow ideologues,  Maggie and Ronnie both shared an affection for extremely sculptural hair care). Maggie’s “any enemy of my enemy must be my friend” mentality found her cozying up to stone cold killers like General Pinochet simply because he was anti-Castro. Never mind that Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected president of Chile and herded his political opponents into a stadium to be tortured and executed.

Any who dare to ‘speak ill of the dead’ can count on being treated as a pariah by a certain demographic. But Maggie didn’t pull any punches in life, disenfranchising those who didn’t vote for her and even relishing the media ‘he said she said’ dustups. I don’t know if she truly believed all her Ayn-Rand, social-Darwinist free market capitalism claptrap or not –  but she acted (and ruled) as if she did. Maggie didn’t pull any punches or ever concede that her opponents might have had a good point while she was alive; she described ‘compromise’ as ‘failure.’ Given how intractable and vicious she was in life, I see no reason to suddenly treat her with velvet gloves in death. The ‘Iron Lady’ is dead. I won’t miss her.