So, I know I've focused pretty heavily on civilian life so far. The majority of my time recently has been learning about the culture of court life. I don't want to leave the impression in your mind that the Fishoid culture is one-dimensional. I promise I will try to show more diversity in the future. The war division of the Slimelord's kingdom is pretty competent and downright intimidating. The warriors that emerge from this humble race are among the most viscerally terrifying creatures of the civilized world, in my opinion. Their ferocity has only been rivaled by savage beasts in the wild. Curiously, though, they are still very approachable when not in battle. This particular soldier asked me to draw him looking fierce but could hardly keep from laughing at his own stupidity.
When the murders began to occur in the village, no one was terribly worried. Peasants are expendable and probably deserved whatever they got... the filthy chum. But when the grisly corpses started showing up in the halls of the palace, terror rippled through the noble ranks. The predator was among them! No peasant could get through the palace gates... the slasher had to be nobility! The running theory was that he got bored of preying on the poor and escalated the thrill, but truth be told, peasants are much scrappier than the prissy upper class and the deviant began to fear for his own life.
I'm not sure why fighting is such an impulse for the young. I know I loved weapons and battle with my friends as a kid. It's just interesting that the desire to fight crosses all cultures and seems especially strong in the males of most. I feel like it should be alarming in some ways but maybe I'm just getting old and taking things too seriously. It's hard not to smile though, seeing them try to look menacing.
The slasher was finally captured and imprisoned after weeks of finger pointing and rumors. I am, of course, glad to see the murderer punished as I have come to know some of the victims families and have grown quite fond of most of them. I was not, however, looking forward to witnessing a public execution. On another, more scholarly note: the raised arm of the executioner is customary to symbolize that he holds no personal grudge or ill-will toward the condemned and is only here to do his solemn duty of carrying out swift and decisive punishment at the order of His Sliminess. If the executioner can not, in good conscience, make this gesture he would hand his task over to another who can.
Thus far I've come to know the Fishoid culture and its people to be quite reasonable and earthly. I admit I was pretty surprised to be summoned to witness and draw a "defensive black magic ritual"! The Slimelord is very proud of his black defense program and wanted it to be recorded well. I always try to keep and open mind but I was disturbed by this. The attack was mounted against a local goblin settlement that the Slimelord felt had encroached in his kingdom. Scout reports later confirmed that the settlement had been burned to the ground and the inhabitant scattered or killed. I'm not a fan of Goblins typically but that doesn't mean I feel great about a covert magic assault like this. Not that my opinion matters in the slightest...
Because the fishoids struggle in the emotion department, their songs and stories tend to lack a certain dramatic element one would expect in such a medium. It typically sounds more like a detailed series of facts put to music, a bit drab and dissonant. In an effort to compensate for their dry qualities, they have adopted the style of presentation from other cultures as if the aesthetic makes up for the lack of flair. Honestly, the effect, though awkward, is quite charming and very very informative!
I had the pleasure of watching the village blacksmith at work today. He's every bit as gruff as he looks but a truly humble and dedicated artisan. I feel as if he was forged in a furnace himself as a tool dedicated to this one task (and that he does very well). He was clearly uncomfortable with the attention but after my translator explained the purpose of my visit, he agreed to let me sketch from the corner so long as I didn't make a racket.
After that strange and disturbing display in the Slimelord's chamber, I needed to take a walk and think about something else... or nothing, if I could manage it. I saw one of the young females sitting in a courtyard lost in thought and felt the significant contract between the two scenarios was too interesting not to document.
The most feared creature in the Slimelord's pocket was his personal assassin. Though emotion is not a trait experienced in abundance among the Fishoid race, in this creature there was a void that some rumored was used instead to store the flesh of his victims. It was for these reasons, chiefly, that he was such a prized possession for His Slimieness. No remorse and included corpse disposal? The efficiency of it would give goosebumps to anyone with skin.
I have a habit of sitting down to sketch out a bunch of loose doodles and end up half distractedly fussing around with the same rough sketch for too long. So here's a claymore-wielding fishoid portrait.
These people do a remarkable job teaching their frys to absorb the words of their elders. I think they realize that the world around them is not interested in their culture and they must diligently share and record for the sake of their race.
Making a sign in mockery of benediction, the Hand of Doom crackles with toxic energy. The smell of burning flesh weighs heavy and constant in the still air, making your eyes hot with pain. Through the tears you see the spectral oculus mimicking you with a deluge of dark, syrupy blood. Your lungs, too full of noxious fumes, seize up and the vile hand dissolves in blackness.
The centuries of daily immersion in his craft had removed the recognition of life from his over-saturated mind. Everything was a resource. Each creature and object became a means to further his studies. To any normal person he would appear a withered, senile old man but inside his mind was a spiraling universe of ideas that left little room for social etiquette and consideration for his environment. Interesting, really, to think about how much he could help the world if he wasn't so irreversibly disconnected. Maybe the secrets are not meant to be accessible. They must stay locked away so humanity can continue to die away and their poison seep back into the earth.
When the blood rage wears off, the emptiness screams for more blood.
The unusual thing about the Slimelord's fishoid fortress guard is that they actually WANT attackers to come in closer (it's a quirk of their particular species). The Slimelord searched the darkest depths of the underworld for a creature that would stare the enemy in the face with a wicked grin and defend his kingdom with a patient, crafty ferocity. Brutes are often expected to be impulsive and rush into battle but these Angler warriors are completely content to wait for the perfect moment to strike.
"-damp gasping sounds-" agreed the slimelord's fishoid champion.
"The sword is a tool, the mind is a weapon. The bog is a temple, the frog is its priestess."
The thing rose from the lake, its flesh waterlogged and sloughing off in globs that spattered the shimmering surface in meaty plops. It's hard to say why or how a large, rotting pumpkin stayed affixed to its shoulders... especially with it lurking beneath the water only moments earlier. But, obviously, I didn't stay around to ask. The look of that wicked, rusted cleaver and the thought of it making a battered jack-o-lantern of my skull gave my body an almost weightless propulsion across the uneven forest floor.
So poetic and beautiful, the dead yielding life. The pale larva develops and emerges from its tender cocoon to behold the endless world beyond. It must now make the long, perilous journey to devour more flesh and fuel it's own life with the taking of others. Inspiration in the smallest of places
In places such as these, the contents of those typically solid shells are laid open in bountiful supply. The delicate meats encased within presented invitingly in vivid crimson displays across the shimmering earth. The shadows of the heavens, those hovering dark scavengers, greedily rain in masses to gulp down the nectar until they are too heavy to return to the air.
When it came down to it, her conquered enemies could never decide whether to run away or just dive into her bone crushing embrace.
Waste knight, want knight.
So long had he been in his dark master's service, he had shed his human visage and, with it, much of his individual sensibilities. The cult was so familiar that the rest of the world now seemed the true cult and he the civilian... with a ceremonial dagger.
In an instant, the stench of death overwhelms you. A bewildering wave of regret and fear crushes your chest as the horrifying...thing emerges violently from the center of the amateur chalk pentagram you drew on the attic floor. Your mom was right, you shouldn't have messed with this stuff.
She's been here as long as the town's records go. Her ragged cloak dragging and head hanging low. Keep out of her way or you won't stand a chance. You're her's when you cause her to give you her glance.
"...and the child had gone beyond prune-y. He had absorbed the unspeakable dark essence of his ancient father."
"Turns out the human skeleton makes for a perfect armature for flesh!"
Never been easy being me. I tried the honest life... even got myself an education... but that didn't make me any less of a rodent now did it? So... I do the best I got with what I got.
The once proud King, clearly disturbed by his ghastly transformation, commanded his attendants to attempt to slay him. When they all failed, his rage and grief consumed him and he slaughtered every last soul, leaving him to wander the halls alone, a lunatic. A broken Lich in silk slippers.
I do this for the little bits... for tasty scraps and cherry pits. I'll always leave a tidy floor, just give me but a little more...
And, thus, lowbrow art was born. A bloody streak in the dirt... drawn by a ghoul. A vivid medium mixed by hand of various dog, vermin, and toddler bloods.
Super sick of squirrels dropping acorns on our skylights. Get 'em harpy!
"Bruuhht!" -Bugbear Berserker
His mamma woulda been so proud if he hadn't eaten her...
Of course it had to be a self portrait for ghost day. Me and the darkness that hangs around at my shoulders. The spectral shroud I can't shake some days. I retreat to the paper- where I feel safe but also encounter my own noisy thoughts without distraction.
That sinking feeling...
Goodnight little one.
I do'knowhy I al'ays het dem goatss. I jus' sitchea an wet for dem lil cloppin' hoofs.
Only thing worse than heroes is acid reflux... *braaap*
So many strange things to see in the forest!
They leave no man alive and no dog uneaten.
You never know what awaits you on the other side.
Work in progress illustrating characters from the game "Lisa the Painful"
Ink on Bristol
"They'd been coming back here for days looking for Rusty and at long last they had found him... or... whatever he had become."
Ink on Bristol
"Processed meat is an exotic journey for the palate in these parts. I have no beef with small portions but I anticipate the main course."
Ink on Bristol
"An unintentional detour and a series of complications led them to this strange, uncivilized world. A wasteland of cold terror and hot star exposure."
Ink on Bristol
"Of course I knew it wasn't actually a bunny, but after my little sister called it that, we all just sorta started calling it that too. It doesn't do much... mainly just stares at stuff and twitches it's ears. But it seems nice."
Ink on Bristol
"Many people been saying not ta fall asleep in these woods. Those babies never been hiking as far as me and I'm dog tired. Nothing to them rumors anyhow."
Ink on Bristol
"There are typically unfathomable distances between their kind that even the most advanced technological forces are hard-pressed to overcome. This simple act of generosity made a mockery of all of that."
Celebrate life's little achievements.
Sometimes it's hard to get a break.
Ballpoint pen on computer paper.
"Though the horrors of the box were great, she could not be certain they were worse than not knowing it's secrets."
Ballpoint pen on Bristol.
Ballpoint Pen on Bristol.
Etched glass title.
Graphite on paper.
"Though few things are worse than Legos hiding in a shag carpet, it's still better than playing alone all the time."
The words were spoken and the world was broken.
"Gods! If I got splinters like this from human corpses I'd have quit my job decades ago."
The life of a soldier ant is short and violent. Though strength and numbers tend to be their advantage, even the heartiest among them stands little chance against a direct hit of vinegar.
Nothin' makes me giddy as yummy spring lamb. Momma taught me all about catchin' em without gettin' caught m'self. She used t'say
"A lamb will not stop bleatin'
Til you make its heart stop beatin'
So don't delay or she'll give you away
And it's shepherd you'll be stuck eatin'."
As Sir Barret the Boastful wheeled his ghastly trophy into the distance, you could hear his booming voice echo across the countryside.
"The story often ends with monsters swallowing our friends but today it is a narrative that bravery amends.
They like to crush and squish you, make another grizzly dish to make you hope and pray and wish would quickly end.
The craven Catholics wonder what's this plague that we are under. Has God become annoyed with us and called down vicious thunder?
I tell you that's a myth, empty rumors lacking pith. You will realize forthwith your awful blunder.
So that is why I'm here while you fools hide in fear. I will bring these nasty creatures down, my war prowess quite clear.
So find your village saved from the horrors I have braved, I'll see if you have been enslaved by this time next year."
Orion battles the cosmic serpent and falls to its unfathomable power. The ancient creature reduces the heavens to a blackened wasteland littered with flickering embers and leaves the would be hero's smoldering body for the slaves of the universe to look upon throughout their lives. It hangs above our earth a warning to those who would consider themselves significant.
Heed ye the tale of worrying Wayne. He wasted his life bearing self-induced pain. Friends tried reassurance but he wouldn't hear it. Now he drifts through forever a miserable spirit...