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!



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