Some stuff for bookmarks I plan on selling in a convention this weekend.
I've been doing a bit of research on the (Finnish) folklore about vampires and werewolves lately, and while wondering what new stuff to do for the upcoming con, I got this neat idea of sharing some of the information I've found about these critters in a form of a bookmark! On one side there will be art and on the other side some (hopefully) interesting info tidbits (the black and white silhouette things will also be on the info side).
The werewolf bookmark is heavily inspired by Finnish folklore on werewolves, in which the most general theme was how a wedding party got turned into wolves by someone who was disappointed by the wedding. It was also believed that if you skinned a werewolf, you might find some human artifacts underneath the hide, like a knife or a piece of clothing.
As for the title of this piece, vironsusi is an old Finnish word for werewolf. It is unclear whether the first part (viron-) refers to Estonia (Viro, in Finnish, viron being the genitive) or if it's a derivative of the latin word vir, man, of which other words such as werewolf and varulf (Swedish) have originated. However, many Finnish werewolf stories take place in Estonia.
Nowadays a more common word for a werewolf is ihmissusi, which translates to "human-wolf".
Since vampires have never really been a part of Finnish folklore (with the exclusion of a belief that a werewolf would turn into a vampire after death, but it was not a very common belief) the vampire bookmark is inspired by East-European vampire folklore, with some artistic freedom here and there. Original vampires were not pale and sexy, but ruddy skinned walking dead who lusted after women (especially their poor widows). Oh, and in case you didn't know this yet: the Wallachian prince Vlad Țepeș - also known as Dracula, son of a dragon - had nothing to do with vampires. Bram Stoker merely borrowed his name for his creation, nothing more. The "real" historical vampire to be mentioned first in written record was Jure Grando.
Bla bla bla, folklore is interesting.