Bear ne­ces­si­ties

Fan­tasy bes­tiary Meet the dragon-slay­ing crea­ture that won a com­pe­ti­tion judged by Ter­ryl Whit­latch

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Help­ful Bear Pro­duc­tions has been on the hunt for new art talent. The stu­dio spe­cial­is­ing in crea­ture and char­ac­ter de­sign re­cently held a con­test to find the best in beastly cre­ations. Il­lus­tra­tor Ter­ryl Whit­latch helped judge the com­pe­ti­tion.

The over­all win­ner is con­cept artist and il­lus­tra­tor Katie Pfeilschiefter, for her take on the Ich­neu­mon – a mytho­log­i­cal me­dieval preda­tor of drag­ons.

“My main in­spi­ra­tion was the Egyp­tian mon­goose,” Katie says, “and I ex­trap­o­lated from there, coat­ing its fur with quills, giv­ing it a ven­omous bite and in­fer­ring an ex­ag­ger­ated patag­ium be­tween its front and forelegs for sur­viv­ing long falls.”

Katie wins a host of prizes – in­clud­ing a one-on-one cri­tique with Ter­ryl, who liked the way she ren­dered the fa­bled crea­ture with a naturalist’s eye: “Beau­ti­ful at ev­ery level: tex­ture, anatomy, en­vi­ron­ment, light­ing and char­ac­ter. Katie’s love and ob­ser­va­tion of real an­i­mals brings this crea­ture to life.”

The sec­ond-prize win­ner is the el­e­gant Gray Beast by San Fran­cisco-based Jan Vidra, with third spot go­ing to Alek­san­dar Petrikanovic’s de­sign, the Am­phibi­ous Gi­ant.

To find out more about Help­ful Bear Pro­duc­tions go to­ful­, and see more of Katie’s art over at


Jan Vidra’s Gray Beast was the wor­thy run­ner-up in Help­ful Bear’s crea­ture de­sign con­test. Her de­pic­tion of

an Ich­neu­mon, a me­dieval slayer of drag­ons, se­cured Katie Pfeilschiefter first

place in the con­test.

This hefty look­ing Am­phibi­ous Gi­ant bagged the third place berth in the crea­ture con­test for artist Alek­san­dar Petrikanovic.

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