Q&A: Fan­tasy beasts

De­hong Splen­did, In­done­sia

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Paco replies

I’d ad­vise re­fer­ring to the pho­to­graphs of re­al­life an­i­mals as a way to un­der­stand their anatomy so you can then use this as a base to de­form it. If you study the bone struc­ture of a range of an­i­mals, you’ll re­alise that they’re sim­i­lar. Yes, the pro­por­tions of a frog’s and hu­man’s skele­ton are dif­fer­ent, but the el­e­ments are es­sen­tially the same.

Start by think­ing of an an­i­mal and then de­form­ing it to cre­ate an­other one. You can even use the anatomic in­for­ma­tion of many an­i­mals to de­form the base an­i­mal more ac­cu­rately. Once you have that, unify the struc­ture with a skin. Try to be cre­ative when com­bin­ing an­i­mals: for ex­am­ple, mix the anatomy of three very dif­fer­ent an­i­mals, and use a skin that doesn’t be­long to any of them.

By dis­tort­ing the var­i­ous body parts har­mo­niously, I’m able to cre­ate a fan­tasy crea­ture that the viewer can re­late to. The torso is based on a pug, the legs and skull on a frog, and the hands and

tail on a squir­rel.

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