Nakakans fantasy monkey illustration - by Brenda de Groot


character design for Oranova,
a digital storytelling project kickstarted by Jantiene Kroon & Merel Barends


Nakakans (Macaca aquaticus) are medium-sized primates with a slender body covered in light blue scales, and a black face, ears, forearms and feet. Nakakans’ dorsal fin and tail fin are for swimming, and they generally fold there fins when out of the water. 

The head-and-body length ranges from 80 to 135 cm for both males and females. Their tails, at 140 to 250 cm, are always longer than their bodies and can reach a weight of up to 8 kg. 


Nakakans live deep in the dusky forests of the planet Kristalijn. Kristallijn knows eternal days and nights, as the planet doesn’t spin. While Nakakans sleep in the vast forest that stretches out over the entire dark side of Kristallijn, they prefer to roam the twilight zone, and often swim in daylight rivers to play and search of food.

Ecology and behaviour

Nakakans spend their days playing and socialising with members of both their own and other species, and travel to the rivers every other day to hunt. They only feed on non-sentient fishes (the aconscious, or ‘acons’ in short) and use their sonar to detect the individuals that do not possess consciousness. If a Nakakans accidentally kills a sentient fish, he will mourn for months over the lost life, until the emotional help of other Nakakans manages to help him recover from his grief. 

Nakakans sketch

Swimming Nakakans:

Nakakans swimming
Nakakans swimming sketch

Swimming Nakakans

Nakakans fantasy monkey illustration sketch - Brenda de Groot

Lethal love

There are many lethal predators roaming around the forest of Kristallijn, but for those who value their freedom, not one is as dangerous as the Nakakans.

Nakakans are highly sensitive to the feelings and emotions of fellow animals, and have an intrinsic motivation to help others. Their high intelligence makes them skilled hunters and gatherers, and they enjoy sharing the abundance of food with every animal in need.

Nakakans’ reflective retinas are considered a beacon of hope to those who find themselves lost in the dark woods. Yet accepting food from Nakakans comes at a high risk. If a Nakakans grows too attached to an individual, it will never let it go. The individual will be his ever-loved prisoner.

Nakakans hug

Nakakan’s loved prisoner

Ritual dance

An intruiging feature of Nakakans is their ritual dance, which they perform to infuse their newborns with love and sensitivity.

The sketches below are a visual report of the love-infusing dance that makes the Nakakans so famously notorious.

Nakakans ritual dance
Nakakans sketch
Nakakans fantasy monkey illustration sketch - Brenda de Groot