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Water horses

Canberra is engulfed in smoke at the moment, so when I sat down to draw this month's Patreon rewards I was dreaming of creatures that live in the water. Perhaps a Scottish Kelpie, a Welsh Ceffyl Dŵr or a Scandinavian Knokken?

After a bit of poking around on the web I came to the conclusion that all of the water horses seem quite nasty in disposition, but the Nuckelavee from Orkney sounds positively terrifying. I wonder why they are so fearsome when ordinary horses are generally quite mild? Perhaps that is the point?

The Nuckelavee (please go on to read the wildly fascinating descriptions on wiki) is a salt water horse demon that is said to have 2 heads, one eye, a mouth like a whale, a human torso stuck on the back with hands that reach the ground and can be blamed for disease, wilting crops and plague. The only upside is that the Nuckelavee can't stand rain is a bonus.

Read more about the Devil o' the Sea on Orkneyjar a fabulous website for Orcadian folklore.

BUT with enough destruction around from the fires here in Australia I settled with a demure (in comparison) Scottish Kelpie. A supernatural fresh water horsey shapeshifter who likes to lure people to their deaths by enticing them for a free ride to a near by loch with the intent of drowning them. Very possibly the famous monster of Loch Ness could be a Kelpie!

I began my process by hunting for a suitable reference photo (lower left), sketched it in pencil (top) and then moved on to gouache (lower right). I've just started with gouache and practice is the order of the day, so I abandoned that for my usual digital mash up of a pencil drawing and a monoprint.

I create desktop wallpapers and smartphone backgrounds each month for my Patreon supporters. Have a look at the other benefits here...

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