At first, I was going to make another half-spider, half-woman Arachne, and even spent a fair amount of time capturing screenshots of her to use as a visual guide while I did the modeling, but, as I've already made three such spider women over the years, I reasoned that I'd drawn water from that well too often and decided that I should make a creature that I'd never done before instead and went with a Manticore.
The Manticore ("Mardyakhowr-", literally "man-eater" in early Middle Persian, and, later, "Mantikhoras" in Greek) is a mythological creature, similar to the Egyptian Sphinx, whose legend originated in ancient Persia. The Manticore was said to have the head of a man, three rows of teeth, the body of a lion, and a barbed tail (something like that of a porcupine or scorpion, depending on the source). Manticores were voracious predators of humankind and could also launch sharp spines from their deadly tails, much like arrows. As that wasn't nasty enough, nowadays, the Manticore is typically depicted as a bat-winged beast capable of flight as well (especially in tabletop and digital roleplaying games).
Even in ancient times, many were skeptical of the Manticore's existence and reasoned that it was likely just a mistaken interpretation of a tiger, lion, or other great cat. On that note, I like to imagine that someone observed a large feline get the tip of its tail covered in cockleburs, or a similar, sticky, spined plant, and whilst trying to remove the irritant, "launch" it through the air, giving rise to the myth. Speaking of which, when I was a tween, I stuck a single cocklebur on the tail of one of our cats to see what would happen. As I expected, the cat freaked out and soon dislodged the burr while it was running around like a lunatic. Unfortunately, our curious poodle found and devoured the dropped burr, which immediately made him sick, and he vomited it right back up again, leaving me a lovely mess to clean up (which served me right). I'd never do something like that to a cat as an adult, and I'm ashamed of it now, but at least no permanent harm was done to either animal.
To me at least, the Manticore is something of a mythical creature even in the Japanese "Princess Minerva" 1995 Nintendo Super Famicom video game that I based my figure upon. Years ago, I played through the entire adventure and never encountered a single one! Like the Unicorn figurine I made back in 2015, the Manticore is a Princess Minerva enemy that I've only ever seen on a monster sprite sheet that someone else put together.
Either the Manticore was cut from the final version of said game (but the sprite graphics for the creature were left in the software's code), or, I somehow missed them entirely while I was exploring that fictional world--which is certainly possible, as I'm not fluent in Japanese by any stretch of the imagination, so, I may have completely overlooked a villager or some other NPC (non-player character) mentioning where they could be found. I failed you, Minerva! I'll turn in my monster hunting license first thing tomorrow morning . . .
Newsprint, tissue paper, white paper, white glue, acrylic paint, wire twist ties, embroidery floss (hair), ink (eyes/mouth), and graphite pencil (eye shadow).
6.0 cm (2.4") long x 6.4 cm (2.5") tall, with a 10.6 cm (4.2") wingspan.
One Week: June 10th-16th, 2018.
The year is almost half over and this is already my third art project for 2018, so, I obviously need to slow down, as I don't know how I can possibly continue to maintain such a high level of productivity!