Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Cavern Rat

The cavern rat, with scale comparison graphic.

Cavern rats dwell within the depths of caves. With a tail that secretes a sticky mucous they affix themselves to cavern ceilings and walls where they dangle, waiting silently for unfortunate creatures to make their way past. These reclusive mammals move sluggishly most of the time, but can strike with lighting fast reflexes to snatch insects, crustaceans, and small bats that venture too close to their long, deadly arms. They can capture prey almost as large as they are, using a venomous bite that immobilizes their victims so that they can be more easily devoured.

Cavern rats are almost completely blind and rely on their ears and sensitive hairs to perceive their surroundings. Large, bony plates along their back offer protection from larger predators and camouflage them against craggy cavern walls. Cavern rats may be active at any time of day. To them, deep within the caverns, it is always night.

The cavern rat drawing demo is an online supplement to The Explorer's Guide to Drawing Fantasy Creatures which can be downloaded here after signing up for the IMPACT Books online mailing list.

Friday, June 15, 2012

First Anniversary of Fabled Earth!

I just realized last night that Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Fabled Earth! Thanks to all of you who have visited, followed, commented and otherwise supported this blog and my artwork over the past year!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I made this drawing of a peryton (a mythical creature that had somehow flown under my radar despite my longtime interest in creatures) as part of the prize for the The Shadows that Rush Past contest I held on my blog earlier this year.

For paper-space and aesthetic reasons, the wings are relatively small. They certainly could not realistically lift a powerful creature like this, especially with his heavy antlers. I think he should get a pass, though, since he's a magical creature.

For a great exercise in imagining how a winged fantasy animal like this would need to look in order to achieve flight, check out Terryl Whitlatch's drawing of a pegasus with massive wings. The discussion that follows is also worth a read.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Artists of Vashon Island

One of the ferries to Vashon Island.

Last month Vinod and I took a weekend trip to Vashon Island (twenty minutes from Seattle by ferry) to experience the bi-annual Vashon Island Art Studio Tours. Creative people are well represented among the island's population of 11,000. In addition to stores and galleries that carry artwork by Vashon Island artists, the island also has its own art association, movie theater and community theater.

A view of Puget Sound from Point Robinson.

Point Robinson Lighthouse

We stayed in a little cottage that sits on peaceful garden grounds at a B&B called The Artist's Studio Loft. The property is nestled between art studios, homes, and farmlands dotted with unoccupied vegetable stands that operate on the honor system.

On the afternoon we arrived we watched birds waddle after a horse, hoping to find the bugs she stirred up as she grazed in the pasture next door. In the evenings we listened to the pleasant chirping of frogs.

Our weekend cottage.

We made it to just over half of the twenty art studios on the list. We would have liked to see them all, but for us two days wasn't enough. We spent too much time chatting with the artists and admiring their work (and their beautiful homes and gardens). We were impressed by the talent and craftsmanship possessed by every artist we visited during our tour. The thought of buying a piece from each one was very tempting, but unfortunately, being artists ourselves, we couldn't afford to. 

How would you like a view like this from your yard?

Or this?
One of Gunter Reimnitz's ravens guards Gordon R. Barnett's balcony.

We visited the following artists and studios:
Empty Nest Studio
Brian Benno Blown Glass
Liz Lewis Pottery
Brian Fisher Studio
Penny Grist and Larry Muir
Reimnitz Studio
Mary Hosick Pottery
Pam Ingalls
Kristen Reitz-Green
GRB Bells

I encourage you to check out their websites and the Vashon Island Art Studio Tour website to learn more about these artists as well as those we did not have the opportunity to meet this time around.

One of Gordon R. Barnett's beautiful bell designs, the Crocus Bell.

Gordon R. Barnett's work space.

We were envious of many artists' beautiful work spaces. I hope to someday have a special studio to work in rather than a disorganized bedroom awkwardly retrofitted for the purpose, crammed with flat files and tabourets. We would have liked to take more pictures, but it was hard to avoid the feeling that we were intruding in the artists' intimate studio spaces.

It was one of the more relaxing and inspirational little vacations in recent memory. We have to go baaaaaack (for the winter tour)!

Edited to fix the link to Pam Ingalls's website, which was previously not working.