Creature Feature – Enfield ~ Lines

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Even if it feels like Autumn just begun, with Halloween gone by it’s starting to feel like Winter really fast.
We’re holding ourselves to the current season though and as we try to appreciate roasted chestnuts and sweet wine, we’re sharing our Enfield’s lines with you.

By giving ourselves the challenge of creating a humanoid version, we tried to come up with a design that also felt modern and intriguing. Usually there’s a set time-length for these illustrations and we can say that this one pushed our time slot to the limit!
You can check our complete post about these Irish Chimeras and the colour version of the illustration here.

★Enjoy roasted chestnuts and stay inspired★

The Enchanted Moorish Maiden

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The plea of StarTwo’s enchanted Moorish Maiden. “Oh noble traveller, save me…”

If you happen, wondrous traveller, to find yourself roaming by the moonlight and chance upon the ruins of a castle or wet your feet in a cooling river or ocean waters, beware of the enchanting, warm voice beckoning you to come closer and hear its sultry plea with promises of riches and eternal flesh made human again, to be forever yours.

There are enchanted Moors in the land of Portugal and if you can not bring them salvation, they will most certainly bring you doom.

Moorish Maidens or Enchanted Moorish Maidens are fantastic spirits and according to traditional folktales and legends, they are princesses of great beauty and are known to be dangerous seductresses.
They are obliged to live in certain places, in a supernatural stupor until a certain chain of events releases them from their curse and most stories do speak of the incidents that made them become spellbound, the main ones being that the Maidens fell in love with Christians and by consequence were forsaken and cursed by their families, or as daughters of Moors with magical powers who depart in warring campaigns against their enemies, are left eternally enchanted as means to protect the treasures their fathers left behind.

The ways to free a Moorish Maiden from her enchantment are usually also revealed – by the Maiden herself, as she uses all her charms and otherworldly beauty to make those that hear her feel tempted into aiding her, while ignoring the risks. These usually involve tasks that range from an apparent simplicity to tricky demands such as offering a salt-less bread, milk, to proclaiming certain words and resisting the urge to look at a curiosity inducing matter and of course, giving the Maiden a kiss.

To fail completing these tasks means doubling the enchantment on the Maiden, dooming her forever and losing her and the treasures she is guarding, not to mention putting your life at risk as well.

It’s in the south of Portugal, due to the historical Moorish invasions that these tales and legends became intertwined with the origin of city names and castles which were built by the Moors. Although a Christian country, paganism was a normal happening and the supernatural mixed with the real to create these folktales about amazing treasures and the tragic Maidens that guard them for eternity.

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A Moorish Maiden in Vila de Moura’s Coat of Arms

To this day, many believe they still haunt several places (especially in the region of Algarve), maybe a means to keep some modern Indiana Jones away.

But are Enchanted Moorish Maidens truly just related to Moorish princesses?
Then, what of the Marwo of Celtic origins, present in northern Portuguese folklore and Galicia, way before these lands ever saw a Moorish invader?

That will be a subject we will gladly share with you on a future post, where we shall compare these mystical, beautiful Maidens that populate Portugal’s rich folklore! This was a particularly charming theme to illustrate and we tried to mix both the mysticism of the Maiden and her sultry charm with the danger that lurks if you pay attention and don’t fall for her charms right away.

★We wish you a wonderful weekend and stay inspired★

An Irish Mythical Creature – The Enfield

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Myths and legends, there are so many of them throughout our immense world. Many came into existence as a means to interpret nature’s strength, the divine, the unexplained. But some also came from the need us humans have for security and protection. From such want, the Enfield was born.

Enfields are a lesser-known type of Chimera, a mythological creature made up of body parts of other animals. They are known to generally have the head of a fox, the body and forelegs of an eagle and the hind and rear legs of a wolf (some variations also add lion and greyhound parts into the mix). They are mainly associated with Ireland although records also place them in England. One thing is certain, the Enfield is unquestionably Celtic and of great importance to its chieftains.

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A medieval Enfield

In Celtic tales, Enfields had the role of being the guardian of the leaders fallen in battle. The Celts believed in giving their dead a proper burial ceremony which gave them a motivational disadvantage as their enemies would try their best to steal the bodies of the chieftains and, to put it into milder words, disgrace them. This meant, in Celtic culture, that the deceased would be cursed to never find peace in the afterlife unless properly avenged.

The want for a guardian of their fallen, made the Celts conjure forward the Enfield, a fierce defender to protect the lifeless body of their chieftains, remaining by the dead man’s side and protecting the body from anyone with ill intent.

But not our rendition of an Enfield!

Curious and eager, as all young things are, his path has yet to burden him with such a grave task as guardian of the dead. Mind you, he doesn’t shun his future, an Enfield is proud of his legacy and grateful to those who have chosen him. But it is pumpkin season now and the Fairy Queen bestowed upon her humble vassals the possibility to become human for a day and go enjoy human things.

So this is where we caught our Enfield, in mid-transformation from chimera to human, eager and still cautious about undesirable eyes catching him off guard. Tonight he shall feast on hot minced meat and pumpkin pie before returning to his elders and learn the ways of the guardians of the Celtic Chieftains.

Happy Autumn once again and have a wonderful weekend and as always,

★ stay inspired!★

An Irish Mythical Creature – The Enfield ~ Teaser

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Now that Autumn is getting comfortable as ruler of the northern hemisphere, strange creatures (with our very own twist) feel emboldened to make an appearance here on StarlitDen! We invite you to come meet our first visitor, an Irish mythical creature, this next post and worry not, we’ll make sure that you’ll be quite safe.

★hope you’re all having a great week and stay inspired★

A Japanese Folk Tale: Dodomeki ~ Lines

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We previously shared a teaser and then the finished illustration of our original vision of the youkai Dodomeki , and today we want to share with you the lines under the colours.

Lines have been done traditionally in ink with a mix of pens and a brush pen. The slight colour has been done digitally.

★Stay inspired!★

A Japanese Folk Tale: Dodomeki

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When words can move corrupt creatures

Onward with the folklore!
Today is for the yokai named Dodomeki.
The name roughly translates to “many eyed” demon and it’s quite the literal translation as the transformation into a Dodomeki happens when young women give in to the temptation of stealing money and as a consequence, small bird eyes spout from their skin.
The name comes from a series of word plays and to explain it better, here’s an excerpt from yokai.com:

The copper coin, or dōsen, had a hole in the middle of it, and was colloquially known as a chōmoku, or “bird’s eye,” due to its shape.
The phrase ashi ga tsuku is a common idiom which means “to catch someone who has committed a crime.” Very clever readers would have noticed that if the word ashi, which can also mean money, is replaced with chōmoku, which can also mean money, the phrase changes to mean “covered in bird eyes.”

The story tells of an oni spotted causing havoc around a horse graveyard at night, to which the lord of those lands -Fujiwara no Hidesato- quickly ran to fight off.
As the demon appeared, ten foot tall and covered in glowing eyes, Hidesato shot an arrow to the brightest eye making the oni run away, only to collapse near the Mount Myoujin (in Nara).
Giving chase, Hidesato witnessed as a burst of flame was released from the Dodomeki’s body and poisonous gas escaped from the mouth. Unable to keep up the fight due to the poisoned air and heat, Hidesato had to flee. The next day when he returned, there were only remains of heavily burnt ground, with no sight of the Dodomeki.

400 years passed, and a priest named Chitoku was responsible for the investigation of unexplained fires at the temple of a town near the Mount Myoujin. Whenever the priest gave his sermons, he noticed the presence of a woman under a robe that would approach the temple and by confronting her she admits her identity to be the Dodomeki that once disappeared in that same area where the temple was built.
By scaring the priests with the fires, bit by bit the Dodomeki had the opportunity to regain the blood it spilled and toxic fumes that were once released when wounded in the past.
But despite the original intent, feeling enlightened by overhearing the powerful sermons of Chitoku, the Dodomeki vowed to do no evil ever again and since then the name Dodomeki was given to the area around Mount Myoujin.

With this illustration we sketched and inked traditionally and added the colouring digitally. You can see the lines on this post!
In our own version of the Dodomeki tale, even if only platonic, we wonder if there was a spark when power met with power on opposite ends of the scale.

★Have a great weekend everyone, stay inspired★