Yipes! What have we here? Well, he may look like the Boogeyman, but this is a plague doctor. He’s a character from a comic one-shot I’m working on called The Ocean. Back for November NaNoManGo I did 30 concept drawings for this comic, I’ll post them soon.
But to continue, the doctor is covered in voluminous protective robes treated with wax. His beak is simply the medieval version of a respirator or gas mask, in this case a cone filled with herbs and potpourri that are supposed to protect him from airborne disease and I would imagine from the stench of the mounting population of plague victims. The gloves, goggles and hat are further protective measures, basically the man is in a Hazmat suit. The smoke in the background is from the incense burning in an unseen censer he carries on his person as an additional protective measure.
I took the outfit design from an old engraving, including his curious winged-hourglass staff. Supposedly plague doctors used their staves to prod their patients instead of touching them, and perhaps even beat them or force them off if they threatened to get too close. (My doctor is doing so here.) Other things I read suggested that plague doctors were drawn from the most untalented and untrustworthy members of the medical profession, and that their casualties from the disease were very heavy.
I personally don’t know what’s true and what’s myth, but whether he is a kind man or callous and neglectful, the Plague Doctor and his fearsome alien appearance play a part in the beginning of my story.