Some Demons Picture

Man, I am going to piss off some Christians with this.

I was scanning some lineart and decided to scan a few sketches for the hell of it.


A couple weeks back I went to a Medieval Studies Congress. One of the panels analyzed how the medieval concepts of hell and its inhabitants changed over time. It was really interesting! It also reminded me that demons are pretty interesting characters - and fun to draw too! So started doodling demons and, uh, haven't been able to stop. It's almost like I'm possessed or something.


So let's start with the seven princes of hell.

First up is Lucifer, who sometimes goes by the names of many of the other demons in mythology because devils are assholes like that. You know how most myths have at least three different versions that have huge, funadmental differences that change how you perceive everything? Well, demon myths are particularly good at that. There isn't actually a lot of information about demons in the Bible, so most of what we know comes from other religious texts as well as plays, poetry, novels, etc.

Or, to put it another way: like the freaky background aliens in Star Wars, all the cool stories concerning demons are found in the expanded universe texts.

Yeah, I went there.

Anyway, back to Lucifer. One interpretation of Hell posits that it is ruled by seven demon princes, each of whom represents one of the seven deadly sins and is opposed by one of the seven archangels (who in turn represent one of the seven holy virtues). Lucifer is generally considered the leader of the seven princes because he represents pride, which, according to some philosophers, is the root of the other six sins. We lust because we feel we deserve pleasure. We are gluttonous because we think we deserve the right to enjoy it in excess. We are wrathful because we believe anyone who opposes us is inferior. We are greedy because we think we deserve more than others. We are slothful because we think we shouldn't have to be responsible. We are envious because we believe everything good should be ours. It all grows from pride.

It's a pretty interesting philosophical idea. But what really matters is I drew this bitchin' demon!

My demons draw from three main sources: the descriptions of demons in Paradise Lost, the descriptions of demons in Dante's The Divine Comedy, and some woodcuts I've seen in my various books on demons. Milton describes the demons in hell being turned into "serpents" as punishment for causing the fall of mankind - it's especially ironic since Satan Lucifer possesses a snake in the story to tempt Eve, meaning he chose the form of his own punishment. However, "serpent" basically meant "reptile" in Milton's day, as it could refer to a crocodile or a dragon just as much as a snake. It's likely he meant something draconic, as he mentions them sprouting batlike wings and other features snakes generally lack.

As such all of my demons have a slight draconic element to them. It also helps that I love drawing dragons.

I figured Lucifer would try to replicate his original look as an angel as much as possible, since he's, y'know, prideful and shit. He's got six wings like a seraphim (a type of angel), but they're the membranous wings of a dragon instead of feathery bird wings. His upper body is humanoid in shape and covered in shining armor similar to what he wore before the fall. From the waist up he's pretty angelic - but below, hidden by a skirt made of his lower set of wings, is a serpentine tail taking the place of his legs. He tries his best to ignore it.

Next to Lucifer is Satan... err... yeah, this will get confusing. The seven princes of hell name Satan as the prince of wrath, but Satan is so synonymous with Lucifer in our imagination that I can't really call him that. So in my fanon he takes the name of another really famous demon - Apollyon/Abbadon (yes, that's two names, but they both belong to the same demon). Why Apollyon/Abbadon? Well, because he played the role of lead devil in a story called Pilgrim's Progress, that's why! And if he's good enough to represent the king of hell in that famous allegorical novel, he's good enough to be the prince of wrath in my fanon. Abbadon is also described as very draconic in Pilgrim's Progress, which is good because the prince of wrath is often said to be the dragon of the apocalypse that appears in revelation. Plus Abbadon was pretty wrathful in Pilgrim's Progress, so, y'know, I think it fits.

Abbadon is the most overtly draconic demon in the group, though I still tried to work in some mammalian traits (his toe claws are meant to resemble hooves for example). I also wanted to make him the most physically imposing. He's this big muscular tower of armor and spikes. It enables his vice, you see - the stronger he is, the more he can indulge the wrath he's so fond of inflicting. All of the princes are designed to cater to their vices in a similar manner.

Beneath Lucifer is Beelzebub, the prince of gluttony. Beelzebub's name means lord of the flies, and despite my better judgment I went for the obvious interpretation. It's not particularly true to the myth's roots - originally Beelzebub's name was just a dig at how stupid his concept of his power is. He might as well have been called the king of shit or the governor of garbage. But people eventually started taking the name literally, and in the end I like the literal interpretation better than the original. Giant demon flies = win.

Most people would make gluttony a huge fatty, but I actually decided to make Beelzebub a bit slim and slender. It allows him more room to eat. His head is supposed to look like a mix of fly and human skull, with a huge, slimy probiscus protruding from the skull's mandible where a human tongue should be. He's got a bit of a bondonka donk. He also has dragon wings, 'cause, y'know, Milton.

Next to Beelzebub is Asmodeus, the prince of lust. Asmodeus is one of my favorite demons. Dante's take on Lucifer... err... Satan? .......whichever demon rules over hell is based on the descriptions given to Asmodeus in mythology: a three headed arch-demon who rules over all others. Many texts place Asmodeus as the lead devil instead of Lucifer or Satan, while some even posit the three are all the same! The seven princes interpretation, however, places Asmodeus as a separate entity who presides over the throne of lust.

I don't like to get too sexually explicit with my work - it makes me start to feel crawly inside when I try - so making Asmodeus fit his element was hard. So I decided to go for a subtle route. He's got big hands for groping, a phallic stinger, and a huge bladed codpiece. Let the more extreme ideas go to someone who's more comfortable with the explicit. Everything else is pretty much from Dante or Milton - three heads, big wings that can beat fast enough to make the winds freeze the ground, and a subtle air of draconic visuals.

Below Beelzebub is the prince of envy, Leviathan. Now, the Bible never states Leviathan is a demon. In fact, the great sea serpent seems to simply be the largest animal on the planet - a distinctly mortal being. I've also used "leviathan" as my pet term for sea serpents in my nebulous fantasy bestiary, so I don't like using it as a name for a demon prince as well.

BUT the prince of envy is described as a huge, crooked serpent whose mouth is sometimes the entrance to hell itself (this is where we get the term "hell mouth" by the way).

Now, the expanded universe of the Bible has a few other names for personifications of the gates of hell. One is Hades, which was of course stolen straight from Greek mythology. Another is Sheol, which can also be the name of an old woman who runs the underworld (back when the Abrahamic religion didn't have a concept of heaven or hell yet - yes, that's actually a thing that's true! Heaven and hell were added into the Bible like the CGI dewbacks in the special editions of A New Hope).

ANYWAY, my point is that my prince of envy is named Sheol, because it fits well enough.

I wanted to present the prince of envy as a large creature that is nonetheless empty, so my approach to this crooked serpent was to make it look something like a windsock. He's just this huge, gaping tube sock of beast that flies around with its mouth wide open in a silent scream of longing. I covered him with eyes so he can better observe all the things he wants but can't have. He's got some long, thin arms that weakly grasp around in hopes of grabbing something, anything that could fill the void even though nothing can. Those who get caught in his maw tumble through the dark tunnel that forms his digestive tract only to eventually tumble out through the huge orifice that lies at the end of his tail (which is partially obscured by his tail in in the illustration). It is a hollow, pitiful demon, and perhaps the most pathetic of the demon princes. He's also by far the largest of them, but it doesn't comfort him any.

Next to the prince of envy is Mammon the prince of greed. I couldn't find a lot of descriptions of Mammon, but one of my books (and a great artist here on DA named DarkSilvana) said that greed was often represented by wolves in medieval art, so I made him a wolfy-dragony thing and called it a day. I guess he's the sexiest of the bunch if the furry fandom is anything to go by - which it isn't.


Below Sheol is Belphegor, the prince of sloth. Belphegor is described as a demon sitting on a toilet, which is hilarious. I made him a demon on a walking toilet that leaks sewage everywhere and has robot arms to assist its master while he takes his naps. Belphegor is a lazy demon.

Next to Belphegor is Dante's Cerberus, a demon associated with gluttony. Dante's description mixes the three-headed hellhound take on Cerberus with a really ugly dragon, which fit my Miltonic approach to demon design nicely. I'd probably rename this demon eventually if I do more demony stuff, since my fantasy bestiary already has a Cerberus and all, but he's too prominent a demon to pass up.

Below Belphegor is Moloch, a demon famous for his brutality and his cow head. I took a pretty classic approach to him. He's big, he's got hairy legs, and he's got a cow head. I imagine he serves the prince of wrath, much as Cerberus would serve the prince of gluttony.

Next to Moloch is Pazuzu, the demon who was featured in The Exorcist. There are sort of three types of demons in mythology: the scourge demons who wreak havoc and destruction on heaven and the mortal world; the tempter demons who converse with mortals and try to buy their souls; and the dickhole demons who possess human bodies in an attempt to steal souls outright. The mythic Pazuzu is a scourge demon, and a particularly badass one at that. He took down armies. Yet in The Exorcist he branched out into possessing people, and proved to be pretty good at that too. My take on him is based on the mythic version, where he has a half-decayed dog head, four wings, and chicken feet.

Below Moloch is Mephistopheles, who has perhaps the most traditional design out of any of these guys. Goat legs, dragon wings, humanoid upper body, beard, Tim Curry horns, the whole deal. Mephistopheles hails from the folk tale turned numerous plays turned novels turned movies Faust, wherein he tempts a doctor named... Faust. He's the most iconic tempter demon, serving as a familiar to the good doctor while also leading to Faust's ruin. Since he's so archetypical, I went for the archetypical look.

Next to Mephistopheles is Matilda, a female demon. Matilda is inspired by the character of the same name from The Monk, which is one of the first gothic horror novels ever written. While it's never outright stated whether Matilda is a demon in The Monk, we are certainly given reason to think she might be one. She's pretty much your archetypical succubus, leading the titular monk to ruin by provoking his lust. So I guess Matilda serves Asmodeus in my demon-verse, while Mephistopheles probably serves Mammon.

Next to Matilda is Pug from Ben Jonson's play The Devil is an Ass. Pug is the most pitiable, cowardly, inept demon you would ever encounter - a devil who just plain sucks at his job. This was a common character type in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, actually - it's called the "rueful devil." It's a pretty interesting archetype. Nowadays demons tend to be just pure evil, but back the rueful devils of way back when were actually a bit more complex. While flawed and almost always doomed, they had some goodness in them - just not enough apparently. There were two types of these devils as well - the serious rueful devil would serve as a guide for humanity, leading us to redemption through its own questions and schemes. While the serious rueful devil might have good OR evil intentions, his or her actions would always end up being beneficial. The second type of rueful devil is the comedic kind - a devil who sucks so hard at life that humanity actually scares him when he leaves hell and makes him want to go back home. Pug is the comedic type, so I tried to emphasize that with my take. He's kind of adorably ugly, ain't he?

Pug works for Belphegor in my fanon, as Ben Jonson's take on the leader of hell is one of the most chill, reasonable, and affable devils ever written. If anyone is going to be chill, it'll be the prince of sloth.

The last two devils aren't based on any mythological or literary figures. I just wanted to draw some generic demons. Bludgeon, the big one, is my take on a basic scourge/ravager - the kind of demon who doesn't tempt or possess, opting instead to just break things. He's a big ugly thug with a goat head. The skinny one next to him is based on the most common kind of demon I've seen in woodcuts - one that looks like a warped human with limbs that are too long and slender, tiny wings, a weird animal head, and chicken feet. He ended up looking pretty amiable. Bludgeon, the big one, works for Abbadon the prince of wrath. Shriek, the skinny one, works for Lucifer the prince of pride.

And that's it! I may have finally exorcised the demons on my mind by posting this. Or maybe not. Maybe we will see more of the residents of hell in days to come. Only time will tell...
Continue Reading: Ages of Man