New Zealand illustrator Strangely Katie struck on a brilliant idea when she conjured up her first batch of tea dragons as a set of "doodles." These quirky beasts capture the essential qualities of different types of tea --- floral, smoky, restful, robust --- mixed up with touches of real-life animals like dogs, cats, otters, and anteaters.

Something about these docile and domesticated creatures clearly resonates with dedicated tea-drinkers everywhere, because Katie's tea dragon posts on Tumblr have racked up hundreds of shares and likes, and Katie is now working on a short comic that will allow readers to explore the world of the tea dragons.

Perhaps in keeping with my taste in teas, my favorite tea dragon is the Lapsang, with its flaming antlers and wreath of smoke. The Oolong also looks like a charming old fella, but Katie's own favorite seems to be the sleepy Chamomile, who crops up time and again in her sketches.

According to Katie's commentary at, tea dragons are rare animals that are about the size of dogs, and the tea leaves can be harmlessly plucked from their bodies. The rarity of the animals is due to their "depressing inability to fend for themselves. Like show animals, they have been bred to the point that they rely completely on humans to survive. Seen as luxury pets, the number of humans willing to spend the time and effort to keep a spoiled, demanding and somewhat fragile creature alive in order to make a good cup of tea has dwindled..."

It seems to me it would be worth the extra effort to have one of these delightful creatures in one's home, especially if their presence contributes to their enjoyment of the greatest drink the world has ever known, but perhaps the comic will shed light on just how much work these creatures can be. Still, I would very much like a tea dragon, and when you check out these designs, you'll probably want one too.



You can follow Katie on Tumblr to get the latest tea dragon updates, ask tea dragon questions, and learn about tea dragon lore!