Q&A: a hybrid species
Joel Tse, Australia
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.