Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
The Incognitum by Ashere The Incognitum by Ashere
 Isti-Papa, or "Great Man-Eater," is a giant hulk of muscle and bone, ragged with matted fur and stinking of algae and muck. A beast of murderous temperament, it devours anything in its path. Sometimes it sits on its haunches and scrapes the bark off of trees, using its long tusks and curved claws. Other times it ambushes other animals--deer, elk, even bear-- crushing them with its great weight before it carries them off to be dismembered. Should it come upon a dwelling, it will demolish it and eat whomever it finds inside. The hide of the beast can turn away spears, and even gunshots barely bother it. None are safe in the forests where Isti-Papa rules. 

Isti-Papa comes from Creek Indian folklore, but I thought it'd be fun to equate it with one of the odder paleontological reconstructions ever fashioned: Thomas Jefferson's American Incognitum, a carnivorous elephant with downward facing tusks. It was, in point of fact, a Mastodon, but Jefferson wasn't to know that. The Creek stories equate Isti-Papa variously with a bear and an elephant, so I split the difference and threw some Ground Sloth in there as well. 

Add a Comment:
jkondrak Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015
This is an excellent drawing, and I love the concept. The picture inspires me to write something about it or stat it up for an RPG. 
Ashere Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Go for it! Inflict it upon your players!
SinovenatorChangii Featured By Owner May 29, 2015
inspired by the first interpetation of a mammoth maybe?
Ashere Featured By Owner May 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
manwith0name Featured By Owner May 16, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
This is very interesting!  I'm writing a sort of sword-and-sorcery story which draws upon Kaska folklore for a similar animal, but I'd argue my design is not at all as creative or intimidating as yours Isti-Papa!

Incidentally, scholars believe memories of mammoths were merged with other megafauna as generations of North Americans progressed without actually coexisting with said animals.  It makes sense that you would squish several together here!
Ashere Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think there's a lot of really interesting creature design to be done when you blend in the various megafauna our ancestors ran into! I'm curious about this story you're writing, though. What's it about? :)
manwith0name Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
No doubt!  The world truly has a fantastic history, and it's inspiring for the imagination.

The story is the adventures of a tundra-dwelling warrior named Gadwat.  Gadwat is the son of a woman who was corrupted by evil forces, and it's not clear whether those evil forces are responsible for Gadwat's conception.  He grows up to be more ferocious than most warriors in his tribe even though it is warlike by nature.  When a legendary monster called the Mozwok- inspired by our friend, Incognitum- conducts one of its destructive raids upon the tribe, Gadwat fights it off but accidentally causes it to trample several other warriors, one of whom he was on poor terms with.  His origins again come into question and Gadwat, simultaneously guilt-ridden and furious, leaves the tribe and travels north to search for a new beginning.  It's very much in the vein of ye olde barbarian story, the difference being that Gadwat ends up causing a lot of trouble in the civilized world rather than becoming a legendary hero.

Honestly, my main attraction to pulp fiction is the ease with which it integrates awesome monsters, and most of those are at least loosely based upon prehistoric life!
Ashere Featured By Owner May 24, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That sounds rad as hell. I'd love to read it when it's done!
manwith0name Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Ha, well, hopefully the first draft will be finished sooner than later!
Gwiber49ofIreland Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
Swiggity Swooty, Foxy's Comin 4 Booty (Chat Icon) 
PseudonoobDA Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I never thought that a creature with the features of a Mammoth/Mastodon and a Megatherium would look this amazing.
Ashere Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I had sort of a vague image in my head of a mountain of flesh, and I'm very proud of how it came together. They blend in a pleasantly archaic, mythic looking way. 
TheMorlock Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Student General Artist
I like it. :D
KitWhitham Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
Sweet! You should make a book with all these folk-lore creatures!
Ashere Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm actually getting a gallery here at the University of Alabama, so I'm trying to beef of the amount of art I have to show! But that would be cool, wouldn't it? It's something I'm going to keep in mind. 
TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with :iconkitwhitham:, you should go for it.
darklord86 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
Very nice!
guilmon182 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow! Looks like a bad-ass monster from Brutal Legend!
ArchAngel23 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
This is amazing.
Add a Comment:
  • Art Print
  • Canvas
  • Photo
Download JPG 2929 × 1722


Submitted on
January 18, 2014
Image Size
1.9 MB


1,866 (3 today)
86 (who?)