72 Demons: crowd sourced alternative illustrations of the Ars Goetia

My friend Tara Helfer, who you may remember as the illustrator of this lovely drawing I posted a while back, is taking on a pretty ambitious senior project: organize seventy two different artists to illustrate each of the demons in the Ars Goetia. As Tara describes:

Inspired by The Lesser Key of Solomon, comics, mythology and 17th-century grimoire, the 72DEMONS project is a venue for new and budding visual artists. Our goal is to compile and publish an illustrated book depicting the 72 demons archived in the Ars Goetia, believed to be a guide for summoning spirits...

Both traditional and digital pieces are accepted, so long as it is 2D. It is suggested that you work large (300 dpi at least) and keep it rated...oh, PG13. Above all, have fun with the project, evoking demons being dangerous and all. Try to bring out something in the demon that the original illustrators missed way back when.

About a third of the demons have been adopted by artists, but the project is just starting for the semester. If you'd like to adopt a demon, you should read through the list of available ones then submit the application form.

Ars Goetia: 72 demons


  1. Hey artists: careful now, or one of these guys might adopt you. Which could be a good or bad thing. 
    Seriously, they exist.

      1. They really DO exist, just not in the way that we do.

        Yes, they exist as fictional constructs that were used in allegories by Abrahamic religions as part of their oral and later written teachings.

        They have the same kind of “existence” as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

  2. Ars Goetia used to be my go-to text when naming large banks of machines.

    Now everything is all boring number/letter combos. QPLXV-02-94-3R-42 just doesn’t have the same cachet as “Andrealphus”.

    1. “QPLXV-02-94-3R-42 just doesn’t have the same cache…”

      “You FOOL! You have spoken his unholy, uh, alphanumerics! HE COMES FOR US NOW.”

      (Ya see, what you didn’t know is, Hell has modernized too. They’re trying to get their 666-Sigma certification.)

      1. Now that you mention it, I do notice this odd brimstone smell every time I log into Amazon ec2.

        Perhaps “The Cloud” refers to the smoke rising up from the souls of the damned, burning in hellfire.

  3. I always thought those demons would look cool if done in a somewhat light-hearted style, like something Brian Froud or Ursula Vernon might do. A sort of storybook feel mixed with just enough organic realism to bring the subjects to life. Muahaha yessss to life

  4. Well, I don’t recall the goetia mentioning any kind of modern christian take on its demons…it seemed more like a “demons of the wilderness” thing.

    1. What do you mean? Within the structure of the book, with a few exceptions pf Spirits listed as mixed good and bad (such as Sallos I believe) they are all pretty much portrayed as evil, and to be controlled by Hebrew holy names and hermetic concepts. 

  5. Well if the rest of the submissions are up to the standard of Slug’s (cover? title?) image there, this will be right up my street.


  6. Okay… after reading about Agares I realized that my “creative” snark pales in comparison to the actual demons:

    “Agares: He can make runaways come back, and those who run stand still. He can also cause earthquakes and teaches languages, finding pleasure in teaching immoral expressions. He also has the power to destroy dignities, both temporal and supernatural.

    He is depicted as a pale old man riding a crocodile and with a hawk on his fist.”

    He has quite a broad skill set, this Agares.

  7. I propose a Demon-Off!

    I’ll go first:

    Vice President Galaan

    In demonology, Galaan is a Vice President (or Harbor Master), ruling the upper north west corner of Hell between the rock shaped like a turnip and a clump of trees, and being served by 3 or 4 not terribly motivated demons.

    He can make hot water come out of the cold tap, and Pepsi come out of the hot. He can also cause clouds and tidal bores, and confuses counters by whispering random numbers into their ears. He enjoys walking from here to there and loitering listlessly on the tortured souls of the damned. He also has the power to cover the earth in the eternal darkness of existential suffering by shredding the conciousness of all humans and animals alike in a vortex of evil, but rarely chooses to do so because of the effort involved.

    He is depicted as a guy on a bike being ridden by an angry monkey holding a knife.

    1. The rock shaped like a turnip is where they punish children who didn’t eat their vegetables and people who played too much Super Mario Bros. 2. 

  8. I would normally jump at something like this, but for the demonology angle; the back of my neck prickles when i look at the seal of Astaroth (probably because of the laziness bit and being just out of “his month”).

    Maybe if i drew up some warding sigils first…

    …nah, not worth the risk.  Enough Hell-on-Earth to go ’round already.

    Take care with your subjects, artists.

  9. Under-Assistant Meh:

    In demonology, Meh is an Under-Assistant (recently promoted from Sub-Under-Assistant according to Pseudomonadales Daemonum, or, the Important Soil Bacteria of the Daemons) of Hell, who has under his command one severely put-upon demon whose job is to fetch the coffee and procure the biscuit. He knows of statues, paintings, and other artistic works, and has the power of not being easily impressed. He teaches men how to slouch and roll the eyes.

    Meh is depicted as a bored-looking cat with a piece of toast on his head, sitting on a newspaper.

  10. President Squamish, Potrzebie to some authors, commands 42 Cub Scout dens and works as assistant manager at a Starbucks in Hell. He teaches men how to lather, rinse and repeat, deludes them into thinking that they are fascinating while inebriated and is responsible for making objects in the mirror to be closer than they appear. He also builds up waxy yellow build-up. He is depicted as a crowned orangutan in a tuxedo with tube socks over its hands or as a snake in a sweater vest riding a unicycle.

    I’m going to figure out which one I should illustrate and submit.

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