Behind the Infographic: “Rare Monsters from Around The World”

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Every Flikli designer is allowed 10% of his or her time to work on self-generated, self-guided projects or larger internal team projects. These projects are presented either internally or to the public upon completion. Notable fruits of this 10% time were our well-travelled videos “The 8-Bit Games” and “Office Posture Matters”. This time around, with Halloween looming, something a little less wholesome was born… In anticipation of the upcoming monster-filled holiday, four different Flikli illustrators stitched together an infographic of obscure legendary beasts. The artists researched and reconceptualized nine of your not-so-everyday monsters in different styles to create a unique collection of horror never before unleashed upon the world. The results of their work was a collaboration full of haunting illustrations and little known facts about monsters that do much more than just “go bump in the night.” Check it out here: When I saw the infographic I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like illustrating ancient legends today, and what reasoning lay behind each illustrator’s monsters of choice. So I interviewed the four of them to get the full story on “Rare Monsters From Around the World.” Rocky, the originator of this twisted project, had the following to say about choosing and visualizing the mythical creatures: “What I did was simply try to visualize the monsters in their realistic form. For this you need to understand the symbolism of a certain culture. I chose the Tarasque, because I encountered it in Tarascon when I travelled there in September. The Tzitzimitl was chosen because I’m fond of pre-Columbian culture, and wanted to choose one from that area.” An extract from Rocky’s collected sketches. (Image credit: rokimanjaro) And on the joy of drawing monsters: “Obviously motivation is beneficial to creative art, so it is much more exciting to create exotic monsters than drawing another man in a suit with a briefcase.” Matyas drew Tengu, a monster he found out about through this project. “I just asked Rocky to show me some rare monsters, because I only knew the typical ones, like Edward from Twilight. I chose Tengu because I like Japanese culture but I rarely do something related with it (although manga has had some effect on my comics style). This was the perfect opportunity to try out some Japanese-influenced styles! I particularly like the Tengu because it’s a crazy old guy, half human-half bird, a total lunatic. It was interesting how many versions there are of it. I especially liked the human face version with the long nose, but there is a birdface version as well with a beak.” One of Matyas’s sketches. (Image credit: meetthefish) What about his love for drawing monsters? “Drawing a monster is like a gift. It’s interesting because it’s unreal, it’s dark but funny too in a bizarre way. You don’t want to meet any of them, but you admire their unusual forms and shapes. It’s like spiders for me. I don’t like them, because I fear them, but they are beautiful creatures. Maybe every monster is evil, but I’m not 100% sure. We draw them, not because we like evil things, but because ugly things are sometimes more interesting than beautiful ones.” It turns out, Mark, creator of the Haniver, Manticore, Jenny Greenteeth , the Kraken, and the Wendigo, has had a monstrous interest in this topic for a while now… A snippet from Mark’s sketchbook. (Image credit: sketchfield) When asked about his monster choices he replied, “The monsters that I chose were based on a childhood toy called Monster in my pocket. This toy series was also about rare and special monsters from all around the world. It’s how I became familiar with the Haniver and the Manticore. I met Greenteeth Jenny through the Hellboy comics, which feature a lot of monsters from folklore, especially European. The Kraken was an old drawing from a boring university presentation :). And my personal favorite, the Wendigo from Algonquian mythology I also know through the “Monster in my pocket” toys and Stephen King’s novel Pet Sematary.” Meanwhile, Robert redesigned the English folk legend Spring-Heeled Jack to bring him up to date with the 21st century. “I chose Spring-Heeled Jack for this project because I liked that he is a monster with really human qualities. It was interesting to draw him, because I like to draw traditional vampires and zombies as well, but I try to reconceptualize them to make them less realistic and more like cartoon characters. I imagined them as lead characters in an animated film.” I also found out his favorite part of the process wasn’t even part of the final product! “My favorite part of the project was animating a hand-drawn figure. I had also created a very short motion animation of the Spring-Heeled Jack breathing.” Robert’s animated version of Spring-Heeled Jack. (GIF credit: pregardt)