Medieval Monsters

Around this time last year I began an MA in Medieval Literatures. Safe to say it was an incredible year, and one of the best bits was an introduction into the weird and wonderful world of medieval marginalia.

I was fascinated by the thousands of illustrations enchanting the pages of the ancient books I was reading on my course, most of which made very little sense to my modern understanding. You might have come across the mystery of snails in medieval manuscripts. At some point the consensus of our great*-grandparents seems to have been that snails were evil critters who attacked knights and sometimes rabbits for no apparent reason. The British Library have a great blog about it and some conspiracy theories of their own.

Terminator snails are not the most fearsome monster to be found in the borders of medieval books. There are also contortionist dragons, fearsome rabbits, and yoga-practicing knights, among many others. All are beautifully drawn using rich pigments and illumination – where gold leaf is applied to the picture. The Book of Kells is a great example of the finest illumination. I couldn’t resist having a go at drawing some of the images I saw, as well as trying to interpret them from a modern point of view.

A year on, I have selected my favourites of my manuscript monsters. This is what happens when you take medieval art completely out of context.

Over and out,

Drake

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Doodle 07.05.17

Another medieval monster from the realms of marginalia, based on Les grande heures de duc de Berry, Paris, 1409.

Obviously, there were cheerios in the fifteenth century.

Pen and ink, medieval monster, and a cheerio

Drake 🙂

Doodle 07.04.17

Dear Follower, 

My apologies – I have not posted in many weeks. I was stuck in a time machine. Hopefully this new doodle makes up for my absence!

Pen and ink, and the inspiration of one medieval manuscript.


This continues my series of interpretations of medieval marginalia. I hope to create a few more, now that I have escaped that pesky time machine.

— Drake

Doodle 23.09.16

Happy Friday 🙂

My arm is getting better, and can draw in short snatches before it starts to protest.

This week I’ve been trying something new. A little involuntary, due to my weak arminess, but these doodles are much less overworked than usual. Also note that the black and white photocopiness of these pictures is intentional, and is a prelude to a possible zine I’ll be working on. 

I’d love to know what you think! -Drake

“Troll Hitchhiker”, pen and ink, sketchbook


“Mr Grumpy”, pen and ink, sketchbook


“Mr Sleepy”, pen and ink, sketchbook

Doodle 09.09.16

Greetings!

This week I relocated to York. I left my shed, somehow managing to cram all art supplies into this tiny suitcase…


And now, instead of a shed, I have a tiny corner 😀


So, in honour of this newness, I have dedicated this post to a little piece of York. Here is my impression of York Minster:


See you next Friday 😜