Another creepy character…the Plague Doctor

a plague doctor callously ignores a pleading victim tugging at his waxed robes.

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.

Memento Mori

in the tradition of the medieval still life with a skull mixed in as a reminder of mortality

Now to go back to a very old piece indeed, this conceptual still life from 2006 or so! My only goal here was to do my own version of the kinds of medieval and renaissance still-life paintings I remember seeing where various objects like books, globes or dead fish would be interspersed with a human skull as a reminder of mortality. If memory serves these were called “memento mori.” But it’s been awhile since I was in school, admittedly.

I was also interested in what was described to me as the “archaic smile” that was normally found on ancient Greek sculptures of girls and boys (Kore and Koros, I think). These beautiful young people wore enigmatic smiles as free-standing sculptures or pillars, supposedly because it made their faces look like they wore the proper serene expression when being viewed from below. I’m wracking my memory here, but I believe that’s what I was thinking when including the bust of the young man.

Memento Mori is on Society6||Redbubble. Among other things I made some depressing stationary you can use to remind people of mortality.

a skull superimposed on a cracked eggshell turned into a piece of unique stationary for the goth in us all.
Oh no!!