When too many ideas are worse than too few


This is my mindset lately. I suspect I’ll be back to normal soon, but no promises. In the meantime, I feel a Facebook portrait contest coming on, so stay tuned.


Beware the Notophtalmus gingrichisis


Most deadly trait: a hazardous volley of "newt-spew"


Since my last post featured a tumescent, quasi-human parasite, I thought I’d share this entry from my Field Guide to Obnoxious Creatures of North America. I feel like I’ve seen this critter recently, and I wanted to learn more. Here’s what I found:

The earliest known sightings of Notophtalmus gingrichisis—the swollen-headed or “fathead” newt—were reported in the Eastern United States in the mid-twentieth century. However, its most commonly accepted origins are the humid subtropics of Georgia, where it migrated in the early stages of its growth. Today, the swollen-headed newt can be found in all areas of country, though it is most frequently observed in areas of concentrated wealth ranging from the swampy, lower depths of Republican fund-raisers to drier, well-illuminated locales, such as Tiffany stores.

While a prominent head is its most distinguishing feature*, Notophtalmus gingrichisis is also characterized by extreme grandiosity and bad gaffes. Observers are advised to avoid the creature, as fathead newts in the wild often exhibit signs of violent temper, ruthlessness, unethical behavior, and excessive greed. Evidence also suggests the creature believes itself a brilliant visionary, though by all accounts it is, in fact, terribly myopic and given to confusing concepts like “historian” with “lobbyist” and “democracy” with “demagoguery”. Great caution is advised if one comes into close contact as the newt’s most deadly trait is its hyperbolic speeches and diatribes, frequently referred to as “newt-spew”. Newt-spew is a known toxin, causing confusion, numbness, paralysis, hallucinations, and/or memory loss. Repeated or extended exposure to newt-spew will cause victims to lose all sense of reality and begin to believe that the newt is an actual human being.

* and will flush scarlet when aroused, as in the presence of Female Staffers

Sounds like a nasty little bugger—and one that might very well prove dangerous. Be advised.

Be careful what you wish for

Great knowledge comes at a great price.


I recently read (and reviewed) Laini Taylor’s urban fantasy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which inspired this image. While I loved the book’s heroine, Karou, the character that really fascinated me was Izîl, the doomed man from Marrakesh. Taylor creates a terrific mythos in the book about wishes and magic, and Izîl makes a tragic decision to tap into the most powerful magic-wish there is: a bruxis, which he can only obtain by extracting all of his teeth. Unfortunately, like Faust, Izîl wishes for knowledge, and his wish is granted in the form of Razgut, a fallen angel who rides the man like a mule until his death. Being an astral creature, Razgut has cosmic secrets that he continually whispers into Izîl’s ear—fulfilling the man’s desire for knowledge but also, in the process, driving him mad. Naturally, no one but Izîl can see Razgut, so he also loses his family and livelihood as mind and body are all destroyed by a wish that ultimately proves a terrible curse.

For the illustration, I was mostly interested in Razgut, who’s described as a kind of parasite, “a bloated torso with reedy arms wrapped tight around the human’s neck”. I imagined him like a giant tic, draining Izîl’s vitality so the man grows ever frailer as Razgut engorges himself. I figured he’d be tricky to draw as his face should have some remnants of seraphic beauty, but he’s mostly a vile creature, an imp-angel with little to suggest his previous life but a pair of wing stubs.

At any rate, these characters got me to thinking about wishes that are best off not coming true. I wondered*: had Izîl known the exact form of his wish fulfillment, would he have simply have been more specific? Or would he save his teeth and never wish at all?

Myself? I’d save my teeth.

* Yes, I know fictional characters are not real people. I just like to pretend they are.

A blog is born


Question: is the bird puking the baby or eating it?


Sometime in 2009, I started thinking about creating a draw blog. A few things were in the way–a day job plus freelance work, and a novel, which I struggled to write in my cracks of between-time. After finally getting a solid draft of that book down, I’ve since reorganized my life to spend more time on what I love (drawing! writing!), so the time has come to finally unleash my sick and twisted visuals onto the interwebs.

My goal with this blog is to create at least one new image per week. I’ll likely include other scraps from whatever I’m working on and random musings about things I love: art, books, food, music, film, bicycling, and Boston Terriers.

For starters, I’ve decided to work on a series of drawings featuring fantastic animals. I’m currently finishing a collection of stories called Strange Beasts, so I figured I’d keep in the theme of things with this first drawing. I’ll also be re-imagining select monsters from my 1978 AD&D Monster Manual (and if you know what that is, I love you already).

Note that I’ll be looking to readers for comments and ideas on what to draw. So stay tuned for all the excitement and free Facebook portraits for winning suggestions! The first reader contest will be coming soon. For now, the word to remember is: chimera.

Thanks for stopping by! Even if my ramblings fail to amuse, I hope I can entertain the world with some demented drawings.