Answers: Heonia or Kruckwic?

All six of you got it right! “Cruckwic” inspired the horned creature, and “Heonia” inspired the one with the dark blue background.

Among the interesting reasons for your guesses, my favorite was @riniscreature’s:

Heonia sounds like a dainty plant to me, like a flower. And then Cruckwic sounds more like a mischievous character. Like a creature hiding in a forest and giving people riddles and wrong directions.

That was a fun story I haven’t thought about!

Originally, I imagined Cruckwic as a gowned professor because that was shortly after I learned how to pronounce a professor’s name with a similar ending (according to which I would pronounce the final “c” as “ch” in “speech”).  With “Cruck-“, it somehow sounded like an old mythical creature with rough skin, so that’s how it came to be. Surprisingly close to reasons some of you gave.

With Heonia, I imagined a creature that lasts eons, producing rings signaling time, deep under the sea.

My reasoning sounds like this association between the sound and the drawing would be language specific, but surprisingly some of them hold across cultures. I will discuss this next week. Until then – try this week’s, where I now put three creatures as a challenge!

An Unexpected View (+ Ink)

I added ink to the original pencil drawing. I wasn’t sure how to deal with the complex lines of the trees – if I were to draw them all with pen, they would have overshadowed the church. So I tried wash and exaggerated the contrast. The moleskin paper was too thin to take the heavy wash but I was happy with the depth from the wash. The drawing started unexpected anyway.

Sketched on site. Pen and wash afterwards. YK 2019.

Name it: Heonia or Cruckwic?


In your reply, let me know which one you think is Heonia, and which one is Cruckwic, and a short reason why you think so!

These are portraits of two creatures that I conjured up from the two made-up names. Next week, I will reveal which name originally inspired which portrait.

If you feel like it, also try drawing Heonia & Cruckwic youself (in a random order) and let me know! I will try to guess yours. I tried this with my family and they loved it.

This activity is inspired by a recent study in cognitive science. It found that, when people are asked to draw creatures with made-up names, they nonetheless make drawings with consistent features. Furthermore, another set of people who viewed the drawings could match them with the original names better than chance. There are suggestions that this may be due to the “iconicity” of the words – the similarity between the words and its meaning. But that position goes against the conventional wisdom:

with the exception of words that directly imitate sounds, the relationship between word-forms and meanings is arbitrary: “There is no reason for you to call a dog ‘dog’ rather than ‘cat’ except for the fact that everyone else is doing it” (Pinker & Bloom 1990, p. 728)

More on this next week.

Until then, let me know which one you think is Heonia and which one is Cruckwic, and a short reason why you think so. If you feel like it, also draw them yourself in a random order and let me know!


YK 2019.

Little My on a Swing

I made my first drawing with the Duke 551 Confucius Fude Nib Fountain Pen (which I got inspired by Ed’s drawings), and wondered how Little My (from Moominvalley) would like it.

After reading the comparison of Fude Nib fountain pens, I decided to get the one with the widest nib. I used to think pen strokes are too dry, and brushstrokes too wet, and this one seems to strike the right balance for me. It’s stiffer than I expected, but I like it since it gives a clean edge at the tip and a rough edge on the other side, which feels like carving.

Then – although I love admiring everyday objects, one point of drawing them is to see them from fresh angles, so I let My in.

YK 2019.

An Unexpected View


The city center of Cambridge is usually busy with tourists and shoppers during weekends, so if I have to shop, I usually scramble to get out of the center as soon as possible. But this time I decided to take my time and check out a cafe my friend recommended. The inside was full and steamy, so I had to take a seat outside, and funny enough, only then I noticed the view of The Round Church, the 800-year-old church that I have long wanted to visit.

The air was hazy and cool, and as I drew, someone knocked on the cafe window behind me. An elderly couple smiled and raised their thumbs. It was a sweet unexpected excursion in the middle of the busy city.


— out of the cloud.

YK 2019.


I’m experimenting using forms as simple as possible. Then I’ll think more about the conceptual side – what I’m drawing, and whether there is a new message worth conveying.

YK 2019.