Sunday, January 29, 2012

P is for Penghou

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts! is a Chinese creature, though also known in Japan by the name Hōkō. It strikes me as a sort of Cheshire Dog: it is a tree spirit, with a dog's body but a human-ish grin, & according to Wikipedia, it tastes just like dog. :-O

edit: I forgot to include the medium &c.!
Acrylic on illustration scanned from Chatterbox 1882, ~7"x9.5"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy 180th Birthday Lewis Carroll!

This isn't a proper oddment, because it's an old piece. But I just couldn't let Mr. Dodo-Dodgson's birthday go by without a mention.

Curiouser & curiouser!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I have quite a long-standing obsession with twirly curly tendrils. I'm not sure what it is about these shapes that always makes me feel a little tingle of delight. Could it be that they remind me of the childish pleasure of spinning?

I'd intended to do this one yesterday, but my schedule is spinning out of control these days, so I may be a bit erratic in my oddment posts for a little while.

Photoshop with text from The Practical Standard Dictionary.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

O is for Otoroshi

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts is Otoroshi, an exceptionally hairy, tusk-bearing, gate-guarding monster. Normally he hangs out on temple gates, but this time he's gracing a Marvel-ous wire number from Jim Brown's Catalogue, 1939.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Which came first, the oddment or the egg?

Photoshop on text from Chambers's Encyclopaedia, 1906.

p.s. I was invited to be a guest blogger on Karen Elliot's Word Shark blog. Thanks, Karen!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Monkey

It has been a snowless Winter here, unusually warm even for North Carolina, but today I've been remembering all the snowy places I've lived...

Photoshop with text from Ahn's New American Interpreter, 1928

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Curiously Contiguous Creatures

This is my hundredth oddment post! (That's only counting the ones with critters in 'em.) Frankly I'm a little surprised that I've made it this far, & I thought I should do something special for the occasion, but I was drawing a blank, so I just decided to do 100 little oddments, all jammed in together like a jigsaw puzzle. I hope I counted right! It got confusing after a while.

It would have been nice to color these, but then I'd never get it done on time! In general, making all these oddments fit into my life has been quite a puzzle in itself, but overall I'm glad I decided to give it a try. Thanks for cheering me on! Now we'll see if I make it to my actual goal, a full year of oddments. I'm over halfway there! :-)

Pencil on paper, plain & simple. ~7.5"x4"

Monday, January 16, 2012

N is for Namazu

This week's critter for AlphaBeasts! is Namazu, a giant catfish monster who causes earthquakes & tsunamis whenever he manages to wrestle free from his usual captive state. I thought it was interesting that catfish do tend to abandon their normal bottom-feeding habits when they feel tremors; their unusual activity at such times probably led to this legend.

Acrylic on illustration from Cornell's Primary Geography, 1873. (And yes, I know catfish don't live in the ocean. Namazu is a river-beast. But I figured he might wander seaward when he's in mid-mischief.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Come Try My Helmet On!

{Please listen to The Bobs "Helmet" while viewing this post for full effect.}

This little fellow suited up in preparation for Friday the 13th, & so far, nothing has done him harm. May all of you survive the day intact!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It's raining, it's pouring, & I'm imagining a little oddment hitching a ride along the gutter... life is but a dream.

Photoshop with text from a Ahn's New American Interpreter, 1923

Monday, January 9, 2012

M is for Me-kurabe

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts!

The Me-Kurabe is a strange being/ phenomenon-- a sort of skull-mountain staring contest creature. The skulls of one's victims materialize & roll about, then assemble themselves into a gruesome pile, whereupon they stare fixedly & accusingly until they're stared down, whereupon they disappear.

After I was pretty far into this it occurred to me that it might not qualify as beast, per se... but by then I'd invested too much time to justify starting over! (Although I hasten to add, I didn't draw the skulls. See below.)

Acrylic on scanned (& Photoshopically duplicated) illustration & text from First Lessons in Physiology and Hygiene, 1885, ~3"x4".

The original looked like this:

By the way, if you'd like to see all my AlphaBeasts together, click here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


A silly little entry for IF's "grounded" prompt.

It just so happened that I'd recently bought one of these grounding adapters so as to plug a new lamp into our antiquated outlets. The shape & texture reminded me a bit of a flightless bird, so I broke out my Testor's gold enamel & feathered it up. The eye & background are acrylic on paper.

1 7/8" tall.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


This little calendar was a Fleam find, complete with a curiously-shaped hole crying out to be oddmentified. So I made a little fellow to peer through & wish you a Happy New Year. Don't try to use the calendar though-- it's a bit out of date.

Acrylic on paper with found booklet, ~5"x5" when open.

The (pre-oddment) cover appears below. There were interior pages too, but no longer attached to the cover. You may see them in future oddments! ;-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

L is for Longma

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts made it in just under the wire. I couldn't find any Japanese beasts that began with L so I went for a Chinese dragon-horse. It took just a wee bit longer to paint than I'd planned!

I do love painting highlights, & golden scales call for lots of 'em! If you'd like to see a couple of process scans, here's my Longma post on Curious Art Lab.

Acrylic on text scanned from Young People's Natural History, 1901

By the way, 2012 will be the year of the Dragon, although the new year won't officially happen until the 23rd.

Edit: Prints of this painting are now available in my Etsy shop: