So this October I had big plans. While many get excited at the prospect of the depths of winter, and the celebrations of Christmas, I am much more an autumnal spirit. The nights drawing in, and the chill in the air make me much more comfortable than the biting cold of Scottish Winter. October is the crown jewel in Autumn for me.
Both mine and my brother’s birthdays are in October, and to top it off, Halloween, the night where monsters walk among us, ghosts pull at the curtains and ITV might be persuaded to play something that isn’t a crime procedural drama with the same revolving door of plots and characters.
I’ve often thought about why I’m so drawn to October, Halloween and the spookier side of life and I’m yet to come up with a convincing reason.
Some say that the draw to horror and the macabre is common among many queer people, because we see ourselves in the monsters played out on screen, and watching sex-crazed barely legal teens butchered gives us faith that the people who are being horrible to us in school will eventually get their comeuppance.
Another suggestion is that people are unhappy with the mundanity of their lives so they reach out across the void to fringe interests to give excitement and meaning to their existence.
Regardless of which psychological process in me has caused this obsession with the spooky, scary, macabre and occult, it is one of my only interests that endures, and Halloween is the enabling dealer who hooks me back in every time.
This year however, my impeccably laid plans for October didn’t quite go to plan, because the universe had bigger plans for me, and I ended up doing a great research commission for Creative Dundee, the results of which will be announced later this month.
I had a look at my schedule and realised that I just didn’t have the time to do everything I had planned to do in October, and deliver a project that I would be proud of, so one of them had to get the chop, so the #BeastieAry got put on hold.
The #BeasieAry was going to be my October long project where I did a drawing of a different monster from Scottish Folklore every day, as the popularity of month-long drawing challenges has taken off online in recent years and I’ve always wanted to do one, but have never really managed to pull one off, because of whatever I’ve been working on at the time.
Not in 2020 though, because as the pandemic continues to run rampant through everyone’s life I have an over abundance of time to devote to a project where I get to draw monsters every day.
The reason I selected specifically Scottish monsters and creatures to focus on was because, apart from the big names in Scottish Folklore (your kelpies and your changelings) there are a lot of stories of creatures that I had never really heard about when I was growing up. As we grow and change as a society we risk losing the connection to our past, where the stories lie, and I wanted to shine a light on these exciting tales and bring them back to a modern audience who might never have heard about them otherwise.
So here’s the first week’s worth of drawings from my #BeastieAry, for the rest check out the full gallery here.