My fan­tasy crea­tures tend to look static – how can I bring them to life

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation Artist Q&A -

Tony replies

There are a few dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions that can lead to a stiff mon­ster im­age, so I’ll try and ad­dress each of them here. No mat­ter what you’re draw­ing, the usual root of a prob­lem­atic pose is a static (or nonex­is­tent) ges­ture. If you’re not start­ing with some loose ges­tures, then you’re just ask­ing for a stiff crea­ture!

Be­yond that, you also need some story be­hind the char­ac­ter so that it feels rel­e­vant to the au­di­ence. Story can be some­thing as sim­ple as show­ing the mon­ster emerg­ing from a lake, which im­plies there was some­thing go­ing on be­fore and that there’s still some­thing about to hap­pen. Not all mon­ster scenes have to be scary, but if the mon­ster it­self is, then you’re also go­ing to want some sort of im­plied threat. It can be mas­sive jaws, crazy claws or bony paws, but some­thing about it should feel dan­ger­ous.

You can also use tex­tures to make the beast feel less hu­man. To this end, I’d sug­gest avoid­ing a sil­hou­ette that reads too much like a nor­mal per­son. This will in­di­cate to the viewer’s sub­con­scious that this strange crea­ture is of un­known ori­gin, and could be dan­ger­ous!

What sort of mon­ster would he be if he weren’t dan­ger­ous? Adding large claws or gi­ant fangs are good, but also con­sider more sub­tle traits like slip­pery skin.

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