Sticky Notes: The Esophagus Man.

The Esophagus Man, Copyright 2013 Liz Vitale
The Esophagus Man, Copyright 2013 Liz Vitale

Actually,The Esophagus Man and I go way back, to my high school days. I was on our school’s newspaper staff and produced some of the cartoons and illustrations with my pal Alex. In our official newspaper cartoon, entitled “Sir Charles and Nogard”, which was about a space-traveling knight and his dragon friend(I really should revisit that), The Esophagus Man was not exactly an adversary, but definitely an aggressive force of nature that would disrupt whatever scene he was in. He would run through a panel, jabbering his strange language that sounded something like “Ableah! Bluhbluhbluhbleah ableah bleah!” and totally mess everything up. I miss him. Continue reading

Monstrous Engravings: Unknown Sea Monster Caught in Nantes.

Unknown sea monster caught in Nantes,© 2015 Liz Vitale

I drew this after a peculiar engraving I found while looking for Map Monsters. Made in France in the 18th century, this image shows a creature with some sea turtle-like features but it also has a strange penguin-like form as well. I am going to guess that, like a lot of sea serpent carcasses hauled up from the depths, this creature was probably the decayed remains of a perfectly natural and normal animal and decomposition rendered it unrecognizable.

This is also the first page in a new journal/sketchbook given to me by Crazy Cuz’n Jaime, after she got to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios!

Potter Book 6_8_2015

Thank you, Jaime!

Monstrous Engravings: “Demon Summoned by a Witch”

While looking through Google results of “monster engravings”,I came upon this wonder. There was a witch kneeling in front of the three-headed creature, but I left her off. This is one of the strangest conjunctions of heads I have ever seen on a monster; a bird’s head with a forked tongue, a man-like head, and a head that looks quite like an otter’s.
it’s been a lot of fun drawing like the old engravings; it really makes me focus on just how many small lines go into shadowing a particular area.

The Cosmographia Unaversalis is an amazing compilation of books by Sebastian Munster; he and I would have gotten along swimmingly, judging by our interests. Not only is the Cosmographia Unaversalis full of maps of faraway places, but the books are loaded with a wide variety of subjects: “portraits of kings and princes, costumes and occupations, habits and customs, flora and fauna, monsters, wonders, and horrors”.

Sea Monsters: Ketos! (sea monster or ancient giraffe?)


On Dec. 17, 2002,Adrienne Mayor published this in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology:

“This note proposes a new interpretation of a scene on a well-known Corinthian vase illustrating the Homeric legend of Herakles rescuing Hesione from the Monster of Troy. Commentators have assumed that the artist intended to depict the monster as a ketos, an imaginary sea monster, but the features of the beast do not conform to the traditional imagery of sea monsters in Greek art.
I suggest that instead of creating a typical hybrid sea monster by mixing the features of various living creatures, this artist used for his model the large fossil skull of a prehistoric mammal. The vase was painted in the midst of widespread interest in large fossil remains, which the ancient Greeks identified as relics of giants and monsters of the mythological age.
The features of the odd head on the vase match the basic skull anatomy of a large mammal of the Tertiary age, such as the Samotherium, a giant giraffe of the Miocene epoch. Numerous literary accounts describe exposures of these and similar large mammal fossils in antiquity along the Turkish coast, on Aegean islands, and on the Greek mainland. I conclude that this vase painting is the earliest artistic record of such a discovery.”