Monday, November 21, 2022

Monstrous Fauna - Before The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

For those of you who have read The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia, you may have seen mention of Woodbane’s Journal of Beings. This journal is actually a series of tomes that explore and research the various forms of life that exist in the world of the Grand Bazaar. I first created the character of Woodbane back in late middle school to early high school. I drew this avian-inspired character in comics, illustrations, etchings, and just about everywhere and on everything. He was my first original character. Focusing on this character when I did, unfortunately, led me to building many bad habits when it came to drawing that would take years to undo. Also, I thought Woodbane would be the ticket to my success as an artist. 

You may have figured out that Woodbane is not a household name, and I am not beginning the screenplay of the sixth woodbane movie. I have, however, placed him in my first illustrated novel as the author of a series of scholarly books about creatures both big and small. You might ask yourself why I chose to make a character that had been bouncing around in my head this long, nothing more than a footnote. Well, to answer the question, that is where he has been since 1998 (give or take).

Monstrous Fauna
Mixed media hand-made book featuring drawings, etchings, and handwritten text.

First things first, this post is all a preview of the book. I will be scanning everything and making a better archive of it, and I will share it in its entirety later. 

Monstrous Fauna was the very first book I ever created back in college. Monstrous Fauna would eventually morph into Woodbane’s Journal of Beings, but at the beginning, it was a piece I made for an outdoor art class. I created the book, which collects drawings and etching, and wrote a series of journal entries that told the story of a group of scientists researching the monsters that live in the wilderness of northern Flordia. The end-of-semester show for this class was in a state park. I erected a campsite, had props, built a giant insect monster that I placed elsewhere in the park, dressed in a Woodbane costume (complete with a latex mask of my creation), and did a performance interacting with people that came to the show. Not much different than my day-to-day life now. 

Names you may see again.

Looking back, I find it interesting how my methods of making a book have not changed much in twenty-plus years. First, I have an idea of what I want to do. I then make a lot of art. I then put all the art in the order that makes the most sense. Finally, I write the book and pull all the pieces into a finished product. It is always fun to look back on an extended period to see what methods and themes have been consistent and what has fallen away.

The mighty Geakkoon.

Oh, the memories of when I was a baby creature maker. The Geakkoon was the first monster I created for this world, and they will likely be around for the duration. I have revisited this creature a time or two over the years, and I have yet to create anything I am happy with. In the fullness of time, I will redesign it again, and hopefully, it will be the final version. When it is finally completed, I will share better images of its evolution and designs over the years.

Geakkoon Heard on the Move - Etching

I am only sharing with you a small piece of this book. Once it is properly archived, I will make it all available. The above image features but one of several etchings that I created for this book. I miss working on zinc, and if things play out as I would like, I will one day work on it again. I will need to sit down with this again and read through it and see if there is anything usable for future endeavors. It is likely a pre-rough draft at best, but you have to start somewhere.

That's all for another exciting Monday on the blog. See you back here on Wednesday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability, head over to my website:

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