Q&A: a hy­brid species

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Joel Tse, Aus­tralia

An­swer

Jia-Ying replies

When fus­ing one com­po­nent with another, I al­ways con­sider the prom­i­nent fea­tures of ei­ther one. An­i­mal-hu­man hy­brids can be par­tic­u­larly fun to plan, be­cause the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less and there’s no right or wrong.

Be­fore I go into de­sign­ing such a char­ac­ter, the re­search comes first. I look up photos of that an­i­mal, de­cide on what char­ac­ter­is­tics to adopt into the de­sign, and I also ask my­self if there are any in­ter­est­ing de­tails I can add to make this char­ac­ter more showy. For in­stance, the red mark­ings on this fox-hu­man hy­brid are com­pa­ra­ble to those found on some Ja­panese fox masks. The im­por­tant thing, how­ever, is that it should be ob­vi­ous which an­i­mal I’m draw­ing the in­spi­ra­tion or tak­ing the qual­i­ties from.

In this case, the ears and tail should al­ready show what sort of half-crea­ture he is, but I also wanted to em­body a bit of play­ful­ness that’s some­times as­so­ci­ated with the fox. The pos­ing of the char­ac­ter is also es­sen­tial in giv­ing us some back­ground to both their per­son­al­ity and an­i­mal trait. A snake-hu­man hy­brid, for ex­am­ple, would likely be posed in a curvy, provoca­tive man­ner, be­cause as hu­mans we of­ten per­ceive the snake as be­ing the cun­ning, be­witch­ing type (due to its ap­pear­ance in literature over the years, no doubt).

One thing I note to my­self is not to overdo the fur, if any. I want a clean, sim­ple style over­all – just a hint of some in­di­vid­ual strands and tufts of fur will be enough to con­vey a fluffy, foxy look.

I worked with the ob­vi­ous of a fox, such as the pointed ears and black-brown of its legs. Hav­ing ref­er­ences at hand is es­sen­tial. For fine de­tails, I use a reg­u­lar air­brush in Pho­to­shop. Omit­ting line art also gives a softer feel, which is use­ful for el­e­ments such as fur.

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