Amanda Cibulka illustration camahueto Chilote mythology

Mythical Creatures: El Camahueto

So, this is my first real drawing on my new Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. I’ve done a little drawing before with various programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint Tool SAI, GIMP) and just a mouse or touch pad — no pressure sensitivity whatsoever. So my strategy then was to do a line drawing in pencil and trace in pen, scan into Photoshop (until I realized Illustrator works much better), clean it up and then color it in using various layers, the lasso tool, and the paint bucket. It worked, but was tedious and limiting.

So it was really refreshing to have both the ability to use multiple layers and brushes/effects, as well as the ability to vary line quality/value with the amount of pressure I used. The result was pretty close to my non-digital art style, but faster and with a lot more flexibility in terms of color, drawing tools, and layering.

I present to you the camahueto, a creature from Chilote mythology, hailing from the Chilóe Peninsula of Chile.

Amanda Cibulka illustration camahueto Chilote mythology
I didn’t feel like doing a background, so he’s just gonna float. He’s pretty enough on his own, anyway.

The general description is of a creature resembling an enormous young bull with short grayish to green fur and a golden or ivory horn in the center of its forehead. It grows from a fragment of camahueto horn planted by a bruja (a Spanish witch) in a marshy area near the coast, where it grows underground for 20 to 30 years, until one stormy night it erupts from the earth and makes a mad dash to the sea. On the way, it leaves a path of destruction, creating streambeds where its horn drags, splitting open the earth, and collapsing canyons as it passes through. It can only be stopped by a bruja using a rope woven from seaweed, and it can then be led carefully to the sea to prevent destruction, or its horn can be cut off to render it docile, at which point it will continue to the sea without causing further damage.

The horn itself is said to be a cure for many ailments. It can also be given to a human or animal to impart extraordinary strength and endurance. However, if the dose is too large, the person or animal will become “encamahuetado,” entering a state of violent madness.

(Sources include English and Spanish Wikipedia and Tesoro mitológico del Archipélago de Chiloé by Narciso García Barría)

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