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Artist Interview – Mythical Beast Wars

Sometimes we need a break from the seriousness of the art world. We need to be taken to a place where our inner critic shuts up, our artist statements are irrelevant and we are free to draw things like wailing Squonks, depressed Wood Boogers and big breasted Mermaids. Where is this place? Mythical Beast Wars. Last week I drew an orangutang with bat wings and donkey ears, wearing a fluorescent pink tank with a bird on it in a field of marijuana. Was it drawn well? No. Did I care? No. Was it fun? Hell yeah!!!!

This week I get to judge Mythical Beast Wars. So, after you read this interview go grab a drawing implement and come up with your best, or worst, Fucanglong. 

Mythical Beast Wars: Fairy vs. UnicornFairy vs. Unicorn

What is Mythical Beast Wars?

At it’s simplest level it’s a weekly drawing contest based on a mythical beast and winner’s are selected by whatever criteria that week’s judge deems necessary, be that artistic merit, sheer entertainment value or longest unending line made by felt pen… And the winner gets a mug! Beyond that it’s meant to be a fun loving place to foster creativity and to give folks who haven’t doodled in years a reason to do so.

In my opinion, there’s a time and a place for deeply thought through artistic ideas and day’s worth of renderings, and this ain’t it. But most of us creatives have a spot in our brain that’s dissatisfied with clean unmarred surfaces, and given a short amount of time and sufficient lack of outside stimulation we’ll fill that space with something, whether it be a rhinoceros with a huge schlong, a telephone receiver with wings or a picture of your friends mom kissing a sasquatch rich with stink lines. Because these drawings are created as an escape in a less than savory situation, these doodles tend to be more entertaining than theme laden, and like a smile they are infectious and better shared then hidden. And on a deeper level that’s the purpose of the site…

And finally we’re themed with mythical beasts because mythical beasts live in a kinda cool gray area, it’s hard to have been a kid and still justify statements like “I hate dragons and unicorns” but on the flip side, mythical beasts are silly and unimportant enough in today’s world that it’s almost impossible to be called out on taking ourselves too seriously.

Mythical Beast Wars: BatsquatchBatsquatch

How did MBW get started?

At an old employer a few years ago, myself and a whole crew of cohorts had a friday morning marketing meeting… generally creatives get bored quickly in meetings, the mythical beast drawing contest was essentially a construct of our own making to give us a reason to show up, something to do during the meeting and at the end of day judgement of the contest signified a few minutes of uproarious laughter and the end of our work week . As that employment ship rapidly approached a rocky shore, we figured putting it online was a simple way to continue the contest and to keep afloat an interaction between friends as we drifted apart. Some of the original crew has drifted away, but we have a knack of picking up enough new and varied participants most weeks to keep it fun and rolling forward.

Mythical Beast Wars: SquonkSquonk

What have been the most popular mythical beasts?

Hard to say what’s most popular as traffic numbers and participation numbers don’t always mesh. But suffice it to say that beasts that indulge in things like nudity, booze consumption and bloodthirst (especially for eating children), tend to trigger more impulsive ideas than your standard beast from greek mythology.

Mythical Beast Wars Dwarf vs DragonDwarf vs Dragon

Where do you see MBW in the future?

I want to be the lifestyle brand of mythical beast drawing contests! : )

Really though there are plenty of sites for folks to show their portfolios of real work. I’d prefer this stay a fun community of varied individuals who together can create something more entertaining with than as disparate parts. If someone wants to come along and throw wacom tablets at the winners, each week I have no complaints, but I’d rather leave the contests as meaningless as they are and try and grow creative offshoots from there. First stage is the “Childrens book project” where I want to essentially crowd source picture books from out participants. Monsters, and beasts of the world are creatures of the imagination and in my opinion their renderings should be as varied as the minds and cultures that first imagined them. If i can share one thing with the young’ns it would be that there’s no rules to imagination and there’s certainly no right way to draw.

We’re always looking for more participants and we’re currently looking for judges with something like minded to promote. Pay us a visit at mythicalbeastwars.com



  1. Katie (Reply) on Monday 8, 2012

    I’ve been participating in mythical beast wars for the past 6 months. I’m a horrible artist. However, it’s always fun! I look forward to drawing my submission each week. Some weeks my drawings are better then others, but it’s encouraging to see the progression of my skills. So happy to be a participant!