Crea­ture de­sign

Fan­tasy crea­ture de­sign is es­sen­tially break­ing down real an­i­mal forms and com­bin­ing them to make some­thing new,

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents - as Brynn Metheney ex­plains

Brynn Metheney on an­i­mals.

Crea­ture de­sign is built on the foun­da­tion of un­der­stand­ing real-life an­i­mals. Even when we de­sign fan­tas­ti­cal crea­tures like dragons or de­mons, pulling from na­ture can help make it more be­liev­able.

First, I ex­plore the an­i­mals them­selves. Draw­ing each species helps me get to know their anatomy. I take note of cer­tain traits, pro­por­tions, mark­ings and shapes as I draw. Then I find a shape inspired by one of the an­i­mals, which acts as a foun­da­tion for where I’d like to go. I use a harder pen­cil lead to keep things light and work­able. I’m only con­cerned with get­ting down big shapes, like the shape of the head and gen­eral body and tail.

Study­ing how cer­tain an­i­mals carry them­selves will help you pose your crea­ture. I’m look­ing to the tapir and spiny tailed lizard. I find a stance be­tween these two an­i­mals and tweak it to make sure it looks nat­u­ral. I sketch out the rest of the an­i­mal to find the land­marks, such as the shoul­ders, knees and the rib cage, us­ing boxes and pla­nar shapes to help flesh out the crea­ture.

Now I add de­tail and other shapes, look­ing at the sec­re­tary bird. Claws, spikes, scales, fur and feath­ers help to flesh out its sil­hou­ette. It’s im­por­tant to make it iconic. Hav­ing too much de­tail or “stuff” hap­pen­ing on your crea­ture could di­lute the ef­fec­tive­ness of your de­sign. Brynn spe­cialises in crea­ture de­sign, fan­tasy il­lus­tra­tion and vis­ual de­vel­op­ment. www.bryn­nart.com

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