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Baku by ursulav Baku by ursulav
So it turns out that I have gone my entire life without learning that the Japanese have a mythological creature called a Baku, which is--get this--a tapir that eats dreams.

Which finally explains that Pokemon Drowzee, if nothing else.

Apparently Neil Gaiman wrote a book about it, but all I remember is the fox and the Buddhist monk, so I guess I have no one but myself to blame.

The mythological Baku is actually slightly more chimeric, having the body of a tiger and a face somewhere between an elephant and a tapir. It is a generally benevolent creature, devouring nightmares, and I am deeply and hopelessly in love with it.

Anyway! 8 x 8, mixed media over print sealed to board, fooling with technique and of course, MAD DESIRE TO PAINT AWESOME DREAM TAPIR.


Prints available at Red Wombat Studio: [link]
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ladyarah Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I just wanted to let you know that I put this in an art feature in my group :iconrealmsoffantasy-myth: , in the article "Realms of Fantasy and Myth: Week 44 - Baku" You can find it here: [link]
RedMeg Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Technically, the Baku is not a tapir... some people say it looks like one, but I really don't see the resemblance.
Cute picture - I'm in love with the Baku too! I like the soft coloring and cute expression.
Btw, my favorite character in Naruto (and, coincidentally, likely the LEAST favorite character of the rest of the fandom) has a Baku summon. (Like an animal companion who helps them out during fights sometimes, for those of you not Naruto fans) It's one of the things I cling to. 'He summons a freakin' Baku! How can you not like him?' Pity it's only for one fight... *gloom*
bakuganfreakful Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2012  Student General Artist
so my nicknames means im a dream eater O-O...:iconcryforeverplz:
SpankytheAngelofDoom Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
Huh. Weird. I always wondered what the hell Drowzee was. I always thought like, maybe a cross between a pig and a... i dont even know!
StarDragger Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
So THAT's where Drowzee came from!
kestrel369 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
You should try playing an old PS2 game called "Dual Hearts". You're companion is an ostracized but cheerful Baku who loves sweets and does cute tricks when he thinks no one is watching. He also dances when he eats his favorite food, which are fuzzy little colorful balls of fluff whose name I can't remember. His in-game name is Tumble, but I changed it to Rufus instead. He just looked like a Rufus. :happybounce:
hunterbahamut Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2011   Digital Artist
Oh yeah, I remember those creatures, they're awesome, heh.

I really like this image, you did an awesome job here, I really enjoy the colors and the details.
Ericaust Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
he looks cool!
XRAY0128 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
Drowzee... and Tapirmon >_>
EmperorNortonII Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Neil Gaiman wrote a book about it? I'll have to find that!
spellwing777 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011
...Wait, why did the Japanese make a mythological creature out of tapir? Those things live in south america, how the hell did they know about them?
OlwenSirpa Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011
Gotta love all the interesting critters you can find by digging through Japanese mythology. I was slightly obsessed with it all in my middle school days, up until my mother would not let me go and visit my uncle, 12 year old girls apparently aren't supposed to ride planes alone from the U.S. to Japan...

This image is amazing, as all of your work is. I look up to you so much. I've always wanted to illustrate children's books. I used to make them up as a kid. Maybe one of these days I'll be less lazy and scared and just go for it. Every time I look at your gallery it just bores it's way deeper into my brain.
Eonity Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh nice, I just came over from another deviant who drew a baku as well...

Yeah, this is definitely where The Pokémon Company got the idea for Drowzee and Hypno...
sanrixian Featured By Owner May 30, 2011  Professional Filmographer
theres a wonderful kids book about it called the dream eater. i loved that thing as a kid, did my sophmore handdrawn film on the old baku. i want one, this one. hes so cute.
ArchaicMosaic Featured By Owner May 28, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Please more tapir art!! If you made a tapir flying some kind of oversized fruit/vegetable, I would die happy.
NecrochildK Featured By Owner May 24, 2011
I so love baku, but you hardly ever find any images of them. Beautiful drawing!
athello Featured By Owner May 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is also the inspiration for the new Munna and Musharna I believe, which look like squashy tapirs.
sleepyhead12567 Featured By Owner May 7, 2011
I wonder if Baku was mentioned in his Sandman series. I can't remember off hand, but it would make sense.
MyntKat Featured By Owner May 4, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Love it, the colors work really well for it.
Iamoneandall Featured By Owner May 2, 2011
LuciusAppaloosius Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
"You don't need to see his identification......." 7@=Q
(sorry, couldn't resist)
zyphryus Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
I am in love with the concept. I never realized that the dream eaters were based on Tapir. One of the most awesome creatures in my opinion. <3 NEAT!
Bulls-3y3 Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
Bulls-3y3 Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
MisterAlways Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
He reminds me inexorably of Alf. But while I want to beat Alf's stupid goddamn face in every time he waddles onto my TV screen, I think this guy would actually be interesting to talk to.

Kind of a "derp" expression, though.
Nimblegrund Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
The myth of the baku is a really fascinating one.
RandomClaire-chan Featured By Owner May 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:clap: I didn't know the tapir/Drowzee connection!! Keeping track of my devWATCH is educational :XD:

Now I want to know more about the dream tapir! *wiki*

GarnethRiparian Featured By Owner May 1, 2011
Oh goodness! Such a serious expression on such a goofy little face! Oh, I love it. ^^
juanbauty Featured By Owner May 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
yaodema Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
Heh, and here I thought you of all people would have discovered the Baku before I did. Glad to see you have now, at least! Well done, this one. Nice use of texture.
InsanePurin Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Student Writer
I'm falling more and more in love with bakus lately, and this one's adorable. :)
Steven-T-H-N Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
i think these fall into the wonderful catagory of my knowledge titled I only know this thanks to Advanced dungeons and dragons. along with things like Ankus is an elephant goad and other such ephemera.
Kathalysa Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
Very cute! I had no idea that such a creature existed either, although when I got all excited and told my friends about this, they told me that they had known about it forever. XD Great work. :)
Odinite Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
YAY! Someone else who loves Bakus ^_^
nightink Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful work, as always
MariaArnt Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
Lol, yeah I love that legend. I like the color scheme on this one.
LaSpook Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Student Photographer
Wow! I'm glad I know about Baku, now! :D Great work :)
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
Charming and I adore those textures though I'm mildly appalled that you missed them in the dream hunters but noticed it in pokemon!
LadyViktoria Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This drawing made me think for a while that it was an interpretation of the white dragon-muppet in the filmatisation of Michael Ende's Neverending Story.

But I do prefer the tapir, both for looks and backstory. ^_^
eternalpuppy Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
:O ME TOO! How did I not know this existed!!?!?!?!! That's too cool! :excited:
Atarra Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
*giggles* They have plushies of them too if you look hard enough. My parents gave my little sister this teddy-bear sized, soft and fuzzy, stuffed animal Baku when she was little to help ward off her nghtmares. :)
Venoturus Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great work!
HeatherTrelawney Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This looks absolutely amazing, lovely job.
ReplicantAngel Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
That's one of my favorite graphic novels ever, despite the bittersweet ending. It introduced me to Amano's work, and for that alone, I'd love it. But then you had the baku and the fox and Morpheus. So awesome.

Anyway, love this! :D Like I didn't want to hug a baku before, lol.
ShadowEngine Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
Looks like concept art for a new Muppet.
blissychild Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
I literally read the beginning of that comic yesterday, and learnt about Baku. Small world!
I love your portrayal (but can't help but think an awesome dream tapir would be fantastic!)
stokerbramwell Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011

Have you been going back in time and putting things in Japanese mythology again?
Ashealath Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I fell in love the Baku when I heard about it, too. I've always found myself drawn to mythical creatures that have some connection to dreams or nightmares, don't know why that is, though...
There's also a new Baku inspired pokemon in pokemon black/white. I think it's called Musharna...? something like that.
They have a reference to the Baku in Square Enix's game, Legend of Mana, too.
Anyway, this is a lovely picture. The Baku has a very calm and gentle face. It's very fitting. :)
Lurks-no-More Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011
Obviously, a rogue baku has eaten all your knowledge of their existence!
ejala Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011
Great work, as always.
There's a baku story in Petshop of Horrors Tokyo, though I forget which volume...
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Submitted on
April 29, 2011
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