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About Deviant Member James FlaxmanMale/Australia Groups :iconmachete-girl-ezine: Machete-Girl-Ezine
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Encephalocele by jflaxman
 The mortal servants of Nakhara cultivate incarnate nightmares from their captives’ darkest fears. As their victims’ worst imaginings come to dominate their thoughts their brains and bodies atrophy and once insubstantial beings physically manifest in tumours that grow from their skulls. Their degradation only ends when their mature offspring tear their way out of these monstrous wombs and devour their twitching and palsied remains.
Terrortubby by jflaxman

The creatures known as Terrortubbies were purely the stuff of nightmares before the capture of live specimens replaced wild rumours with hard facts. More research has identified their prehistoric ancestors and cast light on the processes that influenced their evolution. Though gaps in the fossil record leave some room for speculation a coherent story has emerged.

Some twenty million years ago a species of small cave-dwelling bat that used radar for hunting and navigation developed bioluminescence – a trait often seen in deep-sea fish but rare in terrestrial vertebrates. As most insects are attracted to light this allowed new feeding strategies. Instead of expending energy actively pursuing prey, these more sedentary prototubbies let their meals come to them. While angler fish grew glowing lures that hung just above their mouths the prototubbies’ light sources were concentrated on their stomachs, perhaps so they could shield them and trap small creatures with their wings. Natural selection favoured individuals with larger, brighter organelles though these brought disadvantages; the fur needed for insulation dulled their luminescence and the light that attracted prey could also bring predators.

The prototubbies overcame these problems through steadily growing bigger and stronger. The fur on their bellies gave way to fine down and larger luminescent patches entirely devoid of hair. A thick layer of subcutaneous fat provided insulation and large eye spots on their foreheads intimidated enemies. Although they lost the power of flight their forelimbs grew better adapted to climbing, seizing and dismembering prey, which came to include baby birds, reptiles and smaller mammals when the prototubbies left their caves and started living in the trees.

Later prototubby species were larger, more formidable, and much more intelligent. Their well-developed nervous systems let them control the colour, tone and brightness of their light sources with more finesse than cuttlefish, and the radar once used for echolocation now allowed communication other species could not hear. Large and bulbous craniums which served as resonating chambers and natural “antenna” increased their signals’ range and strength, and together with their eye spots, changed feeding strategies once more. As dominant tree-dwelling predators, adults no longer feared eagles and owls, and ignored small animals in favour of larger game. Their high round foreheads and false faces made them seem less threatening to young primates who were drawn to the prototubbies’ sophisticated light displays, or watched in a state of hypnosis until they were seized and devoured. This approach to hunting – in which large carnivores benefit from benign physiognomy – may be unique in nature, though many harmless species use distinctive markings and behaviour to appear more dangerous and scare predators away.

The Terrortubbies of today are among the few wild animals that can survive in major cities – an impressive achievement given their size. They evidently benefit from their near-human intelligence, powers of communication, proficiency at hiding by day and moving silently at night. They mostly eat organic refuse – and the occasional lost pet – but when possible exploit the fact the average human child becomes almost immobile when staring at a glowing screen.

 It’s the time of the year when many of us look back on what we have achieved. My hopes of a move overseas came to nothing, but despite my early reservations Hobart’s slowly grown on me. It’s been very different to Melbourne, which I fell in love with at first sight, though this love soured over time. Hobart’s notably smaller, poorer and more isolated, but the strongest case for leaving (there’s not much to do here but draw) is also a major incentive to stay. This has been my most productive year and my drawing’s a lot better than it was twelve months ago. 

Some apparent lapses on my part were just a case of me finishing old works I had put aside – as was often the case with “In Extremis” – though other lapses might be blamed on dubious influences and/or misjudgement. Of the 84 pieces I’ve posted this year (as of December 10) three have been parodies of ponies and/or very special pony fans; two more have done the same with Sonic, two more with Hello Kitty and three more with Disney characters. All got the expected laughs but it’s time to aim for higher things. Apart from two promising concepts that deal with Barney and Ronald McDonald (again) I’ll leave pop culture satire to such great masters as curtsibling.

I’ll make no apologies for my (mis) treatment of Tom Preston, though my work here’s evolved as well. I won’t presume to make serious statements or broader social commentary in this series from now on; though many comic artists try only the very best succeed. Future Preston parodies will simply reference Preston strips, as I’ve done with “Double Tap.” It was better received than some earlier ones but shows you can’t please everyone – some wanted more gore, others less, and others again seemed confused or upset.

This third group might be surprised to hear most of my offline associates seem just as confused and upset by my post-apocalyptic work. I’ve had trouble reconciling this with comments from online viewers who feel betrayed when I do anything else, though this fourth group should note “Scorched Earth” got 23 additions this year – compare 13 in 2012 and 4 in 2013 – and another 30 concept drawings. The vehicles are getting stale, but I’ve got more ambitious works roughed out.

My darker work’s improved a lot – “Strangler” and “Epignathus” are only hints of what’s to come. This may be where my true strength lies – I enjoy the horror genre no matter what the critics say – and though I neglected it this year I have 15 very promising roughs and three more detailed tone drawings that are ready to be photoshopped. This work’s likely to become my main focus in 2015.

This entry wouldn’t be complete without some non-artistic updates. A few months from now I should be an uncle. This was as great a surprise as learning the brother who called me was married (and he’s the brother I prefer, which shows how far our family has diverged). He seems very happy with his partner, I’m sure the feeling’s mutual, and I truly wish them all the best.

I didn’t move here to make friends, but fate’s granted me a hanger-on who has regrettably grown more annoying with time. A full list of my grievances would be needlessly vindictive, but as often happens in such cases, this problem has taken care of itself. In two months I’ll be spared his assertions some churches are “doing it wrong” (while his is apparently getting it right) disparaging remarks about women (which don't stop when women are around) spitting near minorities and near-hysterical invective at Jackson’s take on Tolkien’s texts. This is only the start of it, but as others with greater misgivings than I have made more serious complaints – either with good reason or simply to get rid of him – he’ll soon be back on the mainland to annoy unfortunates at other universities.

In more edifying news, I’m back in touch with Frances thanks to the fine work of her half-sister Maria. I’ve known both for many years but we drifted apart when I left Sydney. I was once deeply, truly and madly in lust with Frances, a tall, imposing goddess who gave me an early taste of heartbreak; but we’re older, more mature, and more realistic now, which offers a chance of the genuine friendship I should have aimed for all along. In some ways we’ve grown more alike – we’ve both independently developed a taste for doom metal and exchanged some links online. Frowning, Doom vs., Lethargy of Death, Evoken, Loss and Shape of Despair have made a fine accompaniment to my recent horror work.

To good luck and inspiration,



  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Doom vs. - Upon the Cataract
  • Reading: Nothing for once
  • Watching: Incoming storms
  • Playing: MAME
  • Eating: Well
  • Drinking: Even cheaper coffee


jflaxman's Profile Picture
James Flaxman
Current Residence: Hobart, Australia
deviantWEAR sizing preference: L
Print preference: Varies
Favourite genre of music: Metal, classical, dark ambient
Favourite photographer: Archival
Favourite style of art: Surreal, imaginative, visionary
Operating System: Crappy old PC
MP3 player of choice: Loud
Shell of choice: Armed and mechanised
Wallpaper of choice: Skin
Skin of choice: Metal
Favourite cartoon character: Too many to name
Personal Quote: "So much work, so little time."

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artkronecker Featured By Owner 4 days ago  New member Hobbyist General Artist
I've been following your work for some time now, and I must say it is quite inspiring for me. I believe I found you by accident, searching for some Keith Thompson like art, and I am very glad that I have. Since then, I became a regular visitor of your gallery, which is one of my favorite ones on DA. My personal favorite aspect of your work is horror, so I am glad to read in your journal it will be more prominent in the future. As others have said, it's hard to describe how awesome your work is, so I'll just wish you lots of inspiration and productivity for your upcoming projects. Keep up the awesome work! 
XuhanShi Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014
So I've got a new friend who's in the habit of shitting on SJWs... to commemorate the occasion I hope you don't mind me favebombing some of your Preston parodies.
jflaxman Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014
I don't mind at all! I've got more planned, but they're not a top priority.
curtsibling Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Your artwork just keeps on blowing minds and reaping souls! :)
altereggo Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2014
This is brilliant stuff mate.
thehorrorzine Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2014
Hi James. My name is Jeani Rector, and I am the editor of The Horror Zine at Please visit our About Page to see that we are an established, award-winning ezine. We also produce a quarterly print magazine. I am interested in possibly using one of your images as the cover art for the print mag, plus giving you a whole page in the ezine. We do not offer compensation at this time, but we offer exposure at over 100,000 hits a month worldwide. If you are interested in discussions, please check us out then email me at and I thank you.
Jeani Rector, Editor
The Horror Zine
MissMaurice Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry for all the favorite spamming. I stumbled across your art and got hooked. Splendid work.
jflaxman Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
No worries and thanks!
Cosmic-Brainfart Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
Ta for the fave! A splendidly warm gesture on a day so cold it could freeze the seminal fluid in its sensitive housing.
jflaxman Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
You're welcome! Spare a thought for NSW, the heat there's getting biblical!…
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