Festive Hermits

Hermit Hog Christmas Blog.jpg

As a little exercise, I drew this festive scene of some Hermit Hogs gathering round a traffic cone covered in glow worms.


(Mc) Hermit Hogs

Hermit Hogs.jpg

I just remembered this idea I had for a creature that lived by the side of the roads. They live much like hedge hogs but instead of fending off predators by rolling up into a ball of spikes, they use fast food packaging to hide themselves.

Maybe this is a better route?

Reconsidering Beasts

Sky Kraken

After drawing beetles in the castle, I quite liked the idea of some kind of insect based monster. Going home and doing some research I found this strange creature:


The Creatonotos Gangis is a moth that grows tentacles from its abdomen. While they look quite alarming their use is less than sinister. They secrete pheremones that attract mates but I thought I could work out a more perilous use for them.

Sky Kraken Comp.png

I invented the Sky Kraken as a part moth, part dragonfly that has the same tentacles extend from it’s abdomen except these ones will be used to pull humans out of aeroplanes for food. This creature would live a solitary life and make it’s nest on islands in the Baring Sea. There is only one and is asexual and like most insects, spends most of its life as a nymph. Nymphs are always born into hot-spring lakes on islands in the baring sea. This stage can last up to 100 years while actual flying insect only lasts one summer season.

In the past, these creatures would have preyed on ships and missing ships were all too common back in the day. However, one has not been hatched since the dawn of human flight which is well regulated. A series of missing planes in the North Pacific will lead to this terrible creature’s discovery.

I am reconsidering this idea because it’s not really based on any modern problems, it’s just some kind of ruthless killer. I’d like to base my insect beast on something like the giant insects in Nausicaa. They are portrayed as having evolved along side radical new plants after the humans had so badly polluted the planet. They guard the ‘toxic jungle’ which purifies the earth and kills humans.

I’d like to come up with some kind of creature that cleans plastic from the oceans and uses it to poison humans.






Beasts in the Castle

Here’s my sketches from the study visit to the castle. Initially I drew a couple of waders because the birds are my favourite part of the taxidermy in there.


Then I looked at the one case of beetles that wasn’t in total darkness. I definitely think I’d like to do something based on insects, perhaps go Nausicaa style?


Adaptation Lecture 1: The Door

Door Story

Once I had made it into the cellar, another door presented it’s self. Far to the back of the room, it was almost totally inaccessible, barricaded by a slew of boxes and broken furniture. I clambered over to it, careful not to fall into the dusty depths.

It appeared to be a murky brown but brushing my hand across the grime and cobwebs on it’s surface revealed a black undercoat, then bits of that flaked off to reveal the corroded cast iron core. In the middle of the door was a small window but peering through it’s murky glass revealed only darkness. Clasping the handle with both hands I attempted to barge it open with my shoulder. Three shoves in, it began to budge, then slowly swung open with the hinges wailing.

Hell Hounds

The first breed of mythological beast I shall research for this project is the hell hound. I’ve chosen these because we have a local one that is lurking in our midst to this very day:

The Black Dog of Bungay


Because this particular beast is a local legend, I decided to research it first on my way back home from uni earlier this week. I’d known of the legend since I was quite young but not in any great detail so I headed to the site of his first appearance: St Mary’s Church in Bungay.


The church had become an art gallery ( for The Black Dog Art Foundation) for that particular weekend and so two older ladies were sat down by the font to watch over. I asked them what they knew of the dog.

“A straunge and terryble wunder indeed, traveler!”

Legend has it, on the 4th August 1577, while the towns folk assembled for worship, a thunderstorm arrived. “A great terryble & ferfull tempest… such darknes, Rayne, hayle, Thunder & lightyng as was never seen the lyke” as the churchwarden’s account book describes.

In the dark of the storm, the dog appeared before the congregation. He ran down the pews with “swiftnesse and incredible haste” to slay two worshipers praying for mercy. It then leaped on another man and tore open his back, the wound like a “peece of lether scorched in a hot fire”. A clap of thunder was supposed to have killed the church clerk who was mending the clock at the time.

After that regaling account, I was pointed to a small booklet by the church door that had everything I needed to know in it. They charged 50p for it. On the cabinet I found it on was an old carving of the portly beast.


To my surprise, the story continued in the booklet. The dog didn’t stop there but carried on the slaughter in the church at Blythburgh, 12 miles away. So I too carried on my travels to that very village on the marsh.


Here I met the vicar, finishing off the Sunday mass. I approached him to ask of the spectral hound and what happened on that fateful morning but it seems the legend is not so vividly and enthusiastically remembered here as it is in Bungay. Too soon?

I was about to leave but something caught my eye on the far side of the church, illuminated by the late winter’s sun through the hallowed glass of the nave windows. Upon that very door was the mark of the devil himself. It could be nothing less than a scorch left by the claws of that wretched Black Dog of Bungay.


General Research

After that I widened my research to hell hounds in general. They’re quite common in folklore around England; Barghest in the north, Cŵn Annwn in Wales, Moddey Dhoo on the Isle of Mann and Gytrash in the Midlands. All are said to have shaggy black hair and enormous red eyes. Some are even associated with the Wild Hunt, another spectral phenomenon that appears as great cavalcade of ghostly huntsmen in terrible pursuit. 

However, the most interesting story I found was about the Church Grim. Early Christians in Scandinavia and England used to sacrifice black dogs when a new church was built by burying them alive in the grounds to the north of the new building. This was said to create a guardian, the Church Grim, to protect the church from the devil. They can appear around churches and sometimes ring the bells loudly.



Eternal Sunshine

On my quest for the second scene to compare ‘The Wind Rises’ to in my essay, someone recommended I use a scene from ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. This now seems blindingly obvious considering it is primarily set in the mind of the protagonist.

The film overall does a fantastic job of creating the world of a memory or a dream as locations fracture into each other, my favorite one being when Joel tries to hide Clementine in a totally irrelevant memory and ends up traveling to his childhood.

Elements of his childhood memory start appearing in the current scene; The rain, the bike and the corrugated plastic roof he shelters under manifests itself as a table. A match cut is also used to create a connection with the two memories as Joel reaches out from under the roof in both. The entire film is rife with match cuts.

The scene that has potential for my particular essay is towards the beginning where Joel is telling the story about Clementine blanking him in the library. A spectacular transition takes us out of the memory and back to where the story is being told.

As he walks out of the memory, the lights start to turn off behind him and the audio becomes muffled. There’s also a blurry glow around him that builds through the shot. Depth of field and false blurs are part of the list of staple techniques used in this film.