Monday, December 28, 2009

Dragon of the Month: Storm Dragon

Storm Dragon (Chinese Dragon)
Nimibiaquidus tempestus

Size: 50'
Recognition: Long serpentine body with broad fur mane. Markings vary by region.
Habitat: Northern Asian highlands and mountains.
Classification: Draco/Terradraciforme/Nimibiaquidae
/Nimibiaquidus/n. tempestus
Also Known As: ChineseDragon, Thunder Dragon



The Storm Dragon is a creature that has been imbued with centuries of powerful legend, but is today one of the rarest of the dragon species. A large predatory flightless dragon in the family Nimibiaquidae, the Storm Dragon lives in the alpine regions of the Asian continent stretching from the north in Siberia to as far south as the Tibetan Plateau. Its thick pelts of fur insulate the dragon in the harsh arctic climates it favors and the twin antlers, (unique to the male only) are used in mating competitions between rivals. In the winter months the Storm Dragon will migrate south to find nesting lairs. The long whiskers, tongue and unique nose structure give the storm dragon the ability to travel and hunt in blinding weather conditions, attacking prey undetected. This habit of moving silently and invisibly through the clouds of fog and snow that blanket the Asian highlands have led to the Storm Dragon's name and fed the mythology of many of its supernatural abilities.

Hunting for large game such as elk, caribou, and yak, the Storm Dragon is a powerful animal that has become the very symbol of power itself in many Asian cultures. In China the Storm Dragon is synonymous with the emperor and graces many works of art. Come to represent good fortune and prosperity the Storm Dragon is loved and feared around the region.

In the small Himalayan country of Bhutan, the Storm Dragon is known as the Thunder Dragon and is emblazoned on their flag. Such mythological importance is placed on the dragon there that the ruler of Bhutan is referred to as The Dragon King, and its inhabitants called The People of the Thunder Dragon. The Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Bhutan is the largest nesting grounds of the Storm Dragon.

Today, with the industrialization of much of its habitat,
and the loss of many of its natural hunting and breeding grounds, the Storm Dragon is endangered. It is believed that there may be as few as 500 specimens living in the wild. Efforts by the Chinese government to breed the dragon in captivity have all failed. With effort, this beautiful, majestic and powerful creature will hopefully survive for centuries to come.


Below: Historical images of the Storm Dragon:






































To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
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©2009William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dragon of the Month: Sea Lion

Sea Lion
Cetusidus leodracus

Size: 15'
Recognition: Long serpentine body with fin appendages. Broad fin and mane. Markings vary by region.
Habitat: Northern Atlantic Oceans and waterways.
Classification: Draco/Orcadraciforme/Cetusidae
/Cetusidus/c. leodracus




The Sea Lion Dragon is a predatory sea orc that makes its habitat in the northern waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Hunting in packs of up to a dozen animals the Sea Lion has been a known creature to fishermen and sailors for centuries. Existing in the Cetusidae family the Sea Lion shares many of the habits of its cousins the Sea Tigers and Sea Leopards.
Mainly hunting on fish and small sea mammals the Sea lions spend most of the winter and early spring months as far south as the coast of Spain and The United States where the females will lay eggs and tend to the young. In the summer months the packs of Sea Lions will migrate north to Greenland, Norway and Alaska to follow the food supply. Today the populations of the Sea Lions have diminished as their native nesting shores have been developed, but many can still be seen in the summer months off the coast of Maine and Washington, where the Sea Lion tourism business is booming.
The historic knowledge of the Sea Lion has been fairly well documented. In the classical period the Sea Lion was discovered by sailors encountering the animals on their long voyages into Europe. It was believed that a lost sailor could follow the Sea Lions to a safe harbor. This almost mystical understanding of the Sea Lion (and all members of the Cetusidae family) in nautical navigation led to the naming of a constellation after the animals. The Cetus Constellation.

below: A variety of historic depictions of the Sea Lion.




































To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.com/Dracopedia


©2009William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dragon of the Month: Lernaen Hydra

Lernaen Hydra
Hydrus lernaeus
Size:20'
Recognition: Snake body with multiple necks and heads.
Habitat: Mediterranean seas, marshes and lakes
Classification: Draco/Hydradracoforme/
Hydridae/Hydrus/ h. Lernaeus





The Lernaen Hydra is one of the most famous species in the dragon class. Once quite common along the Mediterranean sea coasts and rivers, today the Lernaen Hydra is a rare find. Similar to other species in the Hydra family the Lernaen Hydra possesses multiple heads with which it uses to hunt for its prey along the river beds and lake sides. Primarily feeding on small rodents, fish and eels the Lernaen Hydra is usually not a threat to the human populations nearby. However its poisonous bite can kill a man if consecutive bites are suffered. Because of a historic fear of all dragons the Lernaen Hydra has been hunted extensively throughout the centuries leaving their populations greatly decreased.

The most famous accounts of the Lernaen Hydra is that depicted in the classical Greek legend of Hercules, who traveled to Lake Lernae in Greece to slay a specimen that lived there. Thisa legend has produced a large number of works of art depicting the encounter.


The Lernaen Hydra
3rdC bc. Greek


The Lernaen Hydra
2nd C.ad. Roman Mosaic

Hercules and The Hydra
Gustave Moreau

To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
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©2009William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Dragon of the Month: Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky (Leafwing Feydragon)
Dracimexus pennafoliumus
Size:10"
Wingspan: 8"
Recognition: Earthtone markings, mottled brown.
Habitat:N.W. Europe/Forests
Also known as: Jabberwock
Classification:Draco/Aerodracoforme/
Dracimexidae/Dracimexus/d. Pennafoliumus



The Leafwing Fey Dragon is a rare dragon species that is contained within the family Dracimexidae, or Feydragon. This species was first recorded by a Roman historian Cassius Pompious in the 3rd C. ad during the Gaulish wars with the Germanic tribes, "A mysterious bird insect haunts the labyrinthine maze of dark forests, and seems to taunt our minds with its churlish chittering."
This famous call of the Jabberwocky is what gives it its name. (wok-wok-wok-wok-wok). This call is believed by some to be a mating call, or a communication that predators are nearby.
Over the centuries the Jabberwock has become a favorite subject of children's rhymes, fairy tales, and stories. Capturing a Jabberwock and keeping it as a pet was believed to be good luck by folk cultures in Germany, France and England. In fact it was believed that the young king Phillip of France kept a Jabberwocky in a menagerie.
It is this history that of course lead to the most famous depiction of the Leafwing Feydragon, in Lewis Carrol's "The Jabborwocky" and illustrated by Tenniel. below: You can imagine how frightening a jabbering creature in the dark woods could be to a small child.
Today the Jabberwocky is an endangered species throughout Europe, and its protection is taken very seriously. Sightings of them in the wild are extremely rare, but feydragon spotters are reporting having seen them in the deep forests of the Arden, and other ancient woods.













To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.con/Dracopedia


©2009William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Dracopedia Project:Introduction

The Dracopedia Project
by
William O'Connor
The Dracopedia Project is an ongoing work to help catalog, develop and concept all of the myriad dragons of world using my book: Dracopedia, as a template.

Because of the space limitations of the book, there was a great deal of information that had to be left out. Using the Dracopedia as a primer I plan on creating and exploring many more Dragon species.

The various posts that will follow will help to further create a comprehensive understanding of dragon-kind, their families, species and subspecies in depth. I hope that you will follow along and help add to this project with ideas of your own that will hopefully be included in future editions of the Dracopedia.

Become a part of what ImagineFX magazine calls:
"A great idea masterfully realized."

Thank you.

William O'Connor

To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:
Amazon.con/Dracopedia


©2009William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.