Creature Design

So week two rolled around and our groups got switched up. Matthew and I stayed together and were moved in to a group with Rose and Darcy. Darcy was the only one in our group that was familiar with the new world we had been thrown in to, and even at that she was a little confused herself. This led the first stage of our new group to be figuring out just exactly what kind of world we wanted to have. The following is an excerpt from Glenn’s blog, who worked on the world before I joined the project.

This island can’t be located on the map; the only way to get here is being lost in the Bermuda Triangle. Once shipwrecked and on the island, the humans will discover a giant Tiki God. This Tiki God is a strong powerful being that rules over the island and anyone who doesn’t obey him will be killed. The Tiki God makes the people collect food and other resources for him. He also doesn’t let anyone leave the island. On the island once humans die from either starvation, natural causes or else are murdered by the Tiki God, they are reincarnated as magpies. The magpies still work for the Tiki God as he is such a powerful being, they do this by flying away and collecting shiny and expensive things for him. Also the Tiki God is actually just a giant puppet constructed by a highly intelligent yet evil Octopus, who controls the puppet from underground.

As a group, we discussed these points and added our own. Initially, everyone was heading in  different directions and had their own ideas so we had to rope a few of those stray thoughts back to refine the project in to something we can grasp. We talked about the idea of the octopus being an alien creature that was manipulating the inhabitants of the island to sustain it, and this started to overgrow in to the octopus creature being a teacher to the younglings of its species. Rose had even suggested at one point that the whole thing is a game show. We were beginning to feel that the idea was floating away, so we stripped a few of the balloons tied to it to get a more grounded foundation for us to work off. We debated at the idea of how many gods there would be, what realm our island exists in, what kind of laws of physics would it follow etc.


Scribbles on the walls as we finalised our world.

The main points we established are as follows:

  • The world exists within the Bermuda Triangle, yet is invisible to all those outside it.
  • The God exists as a ruler of this domain, yet he has no one to rule.
  • The God lures in sea life as well as ships, boats and whatever cargo they hold (which is sometimes land based-animals.
  • Every creature on the island has underwent a vastly accelerated evolution to adapt to their new ocean based climate.
  • Most humans that make it to the island perish at the wrath of the predators and harsh environment.

Designing the Creatures


This week’s task was creature design which I have been looking forward to. We had to come up with ideas for the inhabitants of our world and then  Our design process was that everyone discussed ideas and scribbled any sketches that came to mind in our sketchbooks and then the ideas we liked were further discussed and developed.


The group had asked me to draw up most of the final designs digitally in order to keep a similar style throughout the characters and I was very familiar in working digitally. I used a reference image that Becca Blair from Second Year had posted showing a lineup from ‘Zootopia’ to create a background to stick the characters to as I finished them.


Conánn seemed to like ‘Trump for Scale’. The fish with the mask on the left side was drawn by Matthew and the small cat creature was drawn by Darcy. 

Full images of each creature available on Art Station:

Due to the high amount of water surrounding the world, a lot of our creatures are aquatic or amphibious. We had many more ideas for more creatures, including birds and insects, but they did not make it in to the lineup due to time constraints; though I feel like this project is more for exploring the various areas of building a world than ending with a completely finished world with no holes in the plot.

One of my favourite designs in this lineup was the small hermit crab creature, and that’s probably because of the various sources of inspiration I drew from to mold it. It started with a quick sketch that Matthew had sent in to the group chat of a hermit crab with dangling hair/seaweed strands and I immediately wanted to draw it!


Sketch (Left) by Matthew Duddy; Lineart (Right) by Me.

I looked at reference images of hermit crabs and saw that they had large, hook shaped claws. When I was adding the head I was inspired by Samara from ‘The Ring’ directed by Gore Verbinski as well as the Pokemon ‘Tangela’.

Screengrab from ‘The Ring’ -2002 (Left) and ‘Tangela’ from the Pokémon series (Right)

I was imagining the narrative as a young girl, the survivor of a plane wreck in the Bermuda Triangle, went through the same rate of hyper evolution as the rest of the creatures on the island. She was timid and did not stray far from the beach and therefore adapted to defend against predators and catch food from the tide pools. She no longer has her previous human nature, and instead is merely another animal living out the daily routine of survival. Due to her horror-based origins, I felt like her large glowing eyes would be an ominous thing to witness on a misty beach. The environment I had in mind was inspired by the rocky areas of the 2005 film ‘King Kong’ directed by Peter Jackson.

hermitgirl hermit-girl-concept









I was very happy with the efforts from my team on this week. I feel like everyone wanted to contribute and help out in any way they could and as a result we ended up with a diverse lineup of characters that had influence from everyone in the group. Next week is environmental tonal design, and I can’t wait to see what I’m working on next!


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