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This Artist Is on a Mission to Illustrate Every Mythological Creature

Iman Joy El Shami-Mader has been drawing a creature a day since October 2017, and posting the illustrations on her Instagram

 

She told Atlas Obscura “It all started with the book Phantasmagoria—which is great—but there are many creatures that are only mentioned in passing or without any description at all.”

 

 

guys, one amazing thing after the other is happening and I’m serisouly just gobsmacked by it all?.. I cannot find the words to thank you all!❤️❤️❤️ . today another creature from the USA! here’s… Champ/Tatoskok . In American folklore, Champ or Champy is the name given to a lake monster supposedly living in Lake Champlain, a 125-mile (201 km)-long body of fresh water shared by New York and Vermont, with a portion extending into Quebec, Canada. The legend of the monster is considered a draw for tourism in the Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York areas. Over the years, there have been over 300 reported sightings of Champ. Legends of a creature living in Lake Champlain date back to Native American tribes in the region. Both the Iroquois and the Abenaki spoke of such a creature. The Abenaki referred to it as “Tatoskok”. “Champ,” has allegedly been seen by hundreds of witnesses over the years. Descriptions of Champ vary, but most suggest a creature between 20 and 80 feet long, with a series of distinct humps on its back and a serpentine body. Some say the head looks like a snake or a dog. . Thank you Martin H. for telling me about Champ! . I was serious in my insta story btw – anyone know @realgdt … send him my way ?? . . . . . #phantasmagoria #creature #monster #champ #champy #lakemonster #monster #champlainlake #newyork #vermont #canada #serpent #snake #inkdrawing #drawing #illustration #fantasticbeasts #arkart #beautifulbizarre #blackwork #scales #bestiary #originalart #copicmarkers

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She has asked her Instagram followers to send her ideas of beasts to draw at mythical.creaturologist@gmail.com, and has received and drawn suggestions spanning many time periods and cultures, as well as several characters from fiction such as a porg from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and an Owlbear from Dungeons & Dragons.

 

El Shami-Mader began the project as a stress reliever while working five jobs.

 

I felt extremely drained and worn-out all the time. I really needed something to balance out the lack of creative expression I was feeling and to get my mind off things, at least for an hour a day… A few years back I did a series of fairytale illustrations and came across many amazing creatures, like the Bøyg in Per Gynt. Since I always wanted to deepen my knowledge about these creatures, I ordered the book Phantasmagoria by Terry Beverton and it arrived on my doorstep on September 30, just in time for me to begin a daily monster-drawing challenge I’d set myself for the month of October.

 

She says that she feels mythical creatures show “humanity’s need to have a reason for both good and bad things happening. Sometimes they are a ray of hope, the only thing able to cure an incurable illness; other times they bring plagues and death. They are wise helpful spirits, and they are malicious tricksters. It can also be really funny—you can tell that some only exist because of the bad descriptions the scholars wrote down.” 

 

 

had an extremely stressfull day catching up on all the work that piled up while I was living the good life on my mini-break in Vienna! so today I had very little time to get a good drawing done and as often, I’m really unhappy on how this little guy turned out… I’ll re-draw it soon, ’cause I do think the general idea can look nice! The Leshy . The Leshy (Russian: Ле́ший, IPA: [ˈlʲeʂɨj]; literally, “[he] from the forest”) is a tutelary deity of the forests in Slavic mythology. The plural form in Russian is лешие, leshiye (retaining the stress on the first syllable). As the spirit rules over the forest and hunting. Leshy are masculine and humanoid in shape, are able to assume any likeness[3] and can change in size and height. He is sometimes portrayed with horns and surrounded by packs of wolves and bears. In some accounts, Leshy is described as having a wife (Leshachikha, Leszachka, Lesovikha) and children (leshonki, leszonky). He is known by some to have a propensity to lead travelers astray and abduct children, (which he shares with Chort, the “Black One”) which would lead some to believe he is an evil entity. He is however also known to have a more neutral disposition towards humans, dependent on the attitudes and behaviours of an individual person, or local population, towards the forest. Some would therefore describe him as more of a temperamental being like a fairy. . . . . . . . . . . #leshy #creature #monster #demon #evilspirit #forestspirit #darkforest #darkart #darkfairy #fairy #beautifulbizzare #fantasy #myth #folklore #mythologyart #inkonpaper #ink #blackwork #blackworknow #illustration #originalart #bestiary #humanoid #copicmarkers #copic

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El Shami-Mader told Atlas Obscura that she would love to turn her illustration into a series of books, adding, “For now there is only an idea, but a friend of mine is a composer and we were thinking of collaborating on a trilingual ‘monsters set to music’ book. My current priority, however, is finding as many mythical creatures as possible.”

 

Read the full interview here, and check out her Instagram here

 

 

Illuyanka . In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt, the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa. The contest is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli. The dragon was the symbol of the goddess and she was destroyed. In one version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. Having promised her love to a mortal named Hupasiyas in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound by Hupasiyas with a rope. Then the Sky God Teshub appears with the other gods and kills the dragon. . what are your favourite mythologies? which ones should I still check out?? . . . . . . . #phantasmagoria #creature #monster #snake #serpent #dragon #illuyanka #hittites #mythology #fantasy #fantasticbeasts #beautifulbizzare #darkart #ink #inkdrawing #drawing #originalart #blackworknow #blackwork #scales #bestiary #creatuanary2018 #legend #mythicalcreature #mythologyart #gods #goddess #teshub #hattusa

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Feature Image Via Iman Joy El Shami Mader