Water is hard. I don’t mean in the jump-from-too-high-go-splat sort of way, either. It’s hard to draw. Fluid, in general, doesn’t like to be constrained to two dimensions.
The latest pages from the Miller’s Daughters see the ultimate demise of poor Ophie, and that meant some water needed to find its way to paper. It turned out pretty nicely, and will be even better when I add shading later this week!
The second page shown is the Rake, sauntering off out of the woods, his murderous mischief quite managed.
A friend of mine recently remarked that some plumbing problems we were having were due to Vodniks; my confused, vacant-eyed response led to a really fun story about some Czech friends of hers that blamed Vodnik on any plumbing problems that came up.
It’s been a few months now, and as the resident Cryptozoologist of Salt Lake City, I decided to do a little digging on my drippy little house guests.
The Vodnik is the Slavic cousin to the Russian Vodyanoy, a far more sinister fellow (they are all males) that haunts lakes and rivers. The Vodyanoy are frog like creatures, with aged bodies, froggy faces, fish tales, and long, stringy beards and hair. They paddle about on half sunken logs with their webbed hands, looking for unwary locals to drown. They seem to like wandering about without any clothes, too. Sound familiar?
The Vodnik, by contrast, seems more human like in features, although they are a greenish tint and tend to be covered in moss. They wear tattered, cast off clothing, and also loiter about lakes and rivers. Unlike the Vodyanoy, which are mostly malevolent, Vodniks can be beneficial or dangerous, depending on their mood.
One area that Vodyanoy and Vodnik overlap is that they keep little ceramic containers with them, in which they store the souls of people who have drowned in their domain. The crockery is considered currency to these folk, and a large collection of souls is a sure sign of wealth and influence. If the crockery is opened, however, the soul escapes in the form of a bubble, leaving the vessel it was in worthless.
Fishermen and people who make their living on the water will leave offerings of tobacco to the vodnik, in hopes that they will leave them alone or help them in their industry. A vodnik who feels slighted may attack local water features, such as dams, well, (possibly plumbing) and locks. This behavior has also been reported with Vodyanoy.
As I was proofing earlier pages of the Miller’s Daughters, I realized I had made a pretty big mistake. I had missed an introduction of the Miller himself, and went from a nice scenery page to a page detailing the family dynamic of the Miller and his children. Oops. Over the weekend I put together a new page to introduce the poor old chap, and thought I would share. Here are the finished inks for the page, followed by the same art with shading.
I’ll be adding text to the bottom of the page, and amending the text that was on the original second page of the story!
I’ve been trying to get a page a week finished on the Miller’s Daughters, but it’s not going quite as assertively as I would like. No bother, really, progress is still progress. Here is the newest page:
The whole series can be found here… There are still some edits that need to be done to the long-form story, but it’s still a pretty entertaining read!
I get these horrific creative blocks from time to time, and nothing that I am working on has the power to move my pen. When times like these come up, I draw monsters. This week, though, luchadores worked themselves into the mix, because, well, luchadores.
Luckily for me, these little drawings got me fired up about the Night Circus, so I designed the background monsters for the circus:
I got lucky this week, too. The next page for the Miller’s Daughters decided to stop being such a brat, and I was able to get the inks done for that one, too. I should have the fully finished page up tomorrow!
I have a few friends that extol the virtues of warming up with “meaningless” doodles before a drawing session, and I am really beginning to understand why. That practice not only loosens up your wrist and fingers, it also loosens up the creative faculties in your mind, making you a better conduit to express your thoughts!
In Leicestershire, England, there is a little cave carved into a sandstone cliff. There is an oak tree growing there, and tatters of thin, translucent cloth can be seen fluttering in the breeze upon its branches. This is the bower of Black Agnes, and should be avoided at all costs.
Where the story of Black Agnes (or Annis) originated is lost to history; some say she is the spirit of an ancient Anchorite who died in the cave, others say she is the remnant of the old goddess Danu, pissed as hell and haunting the cave. Some speculate that she is a remnant of the Hindu goddess Kali, with whom she shares some characteristics. Others say she was manufactured by exhausted parents who needed a good bogeyman to keep their kids out of the woods.
Black Annis is a stooped and aged creature, with sharp iron talons. Her skin is blue, which helps her blend into the night and hunt her favorite prey, which consists entirely of human children. Agnes would lurk outside of a home and wait for a child to wander away into the woods, were she would grab them and haul them off to her bower to eat.
The ancient oak tree outside of Annis’s cave was used to cure the skins of her victims, which she would later drape across her body as skirts and shawls. It is said that Agness carved out the cave herself with her iron-clad claws, and that she still lives there to this day.
This week’s look at the workbench is for an upcoming storyline in Grimmleigh’s Morbid Tales for Dreadful Children. The story is called the Night Circus, and it only draws a ton of inspiration from Something Wicked this Way Comes. In this story, the circus comes to a new town during the new moon, and when the sun rises all of the adults of the town are gone. The hero of the Night Circus is a little girl who wakes up during the night, and realizing her mother is gone decides to take matters into her own tiny hands. Here are a couple of pages of concepts for the story:
We love Overwatch at the Lab. It’s a lovely game, with great play and an exceptionally diverse cast. Lucio, though, takes the cake as our fave. He’s just so nice. So, this week’s fan art is our favorite Brazilian DJ!
Research for most monsters can be a lot of fun, and pretty educational, too. Take this week’s Monster Monday inductee, the Redcap. I had no idea that the people of the border region between Scotland and England had their own unique legends. Makes sense, though, given that this area has been contested and fought over for centuries. Conflict tends to be the mortar with which great legends are built.
Redcaps are malicious, foul little fiends that live in the abandoned castles and ruins throughout the border regions. They may be related to goblins, or faeries, or perhaps some sort of inbred cave dwarf, but no one can really tell for sure; most folk that glimpse them are too busy running away to tell. Sadly, this rarely works, as Redcaps are some of the fastest creatures of the Other and can easily catch up with the fleetest of human feet.
Redcaps have long, tapered fingers, weathered faces, and red tinged eyes. They also sport bright red caps, sewn expertly from human skin. Redcaps are vicious and accomplished slaughterers of humans that wander too close to their haunts, and it’s not just for sport, either; the Redcap needs to keep its hat soaked in fresh blood to stay alive. If the cap dries out, the Redcap will die. Needless to say, this rarely happens.
Redcaps are also known to carry long pikes, which they are very accomplished with. They wear heavy, iron-shod boots, which may be worn to lull their prey into a false sense of security, or perhaps to keep them from running too fast to stay in this realm.
While Redcaps are very common in the Border areas between England and Scotland, there have been several stories of their antics in Ireland, too. The only reliably documented way to defeat a Redcap is to try and hide from them, which is next to impossible, since they tend to know the lay of their lands very well. If you find yourself in the hunting grounds of one of these horrid little beasts, it’s best to make your peace with life; there is probably not much of it left to live.