Creature anatomy with Terryl Whitlatch!

So, in continuation of the last post, here are the rest of my drawings for the Creature Anatomy with Terryl Whitlatch course from Schoolism:







Floral Foal decides what to wear

Turning it around to make a front view was surprisingly challenging. Kept changing the front view between cooler chunky and more realistic horse proportions. In the end I went with more realistic first. Always go for correct first, get it, then bounce off to find a style.



Floral Foal color exploration

They’re all based on plants parts. I got to finally use all those flower photo refs!


Fantasy Foul Floral Foal concept – lines

Exploration of an initial idea from a previous Imaginative Illustrators of NYC:


Thumbnailing – the long struggle


Brief: Near-future sci-fi biker bandits in polar environment who robs transport vehicles with swift hit-and-run tactics. They don’t cross the line from robbery to murder. They name themselves Hail Hounds.

Struggle with fast and numerous thumbnails:

I struggle a lot to make thumbnails. I keep trying to do more faster – say, 20 in 2 hours – and I can’t. One method I’ve been trying since last year is quick, shape-based thumbnails. Here I’m using marker on paper. I would start, then I would quickly fall back to old, safe, slow habit of line drawing so I can see what I’m putting down. This collection of 30 thumbnails took me a total of 5 sittings across 5 days:

  • #1-10 took a day.
  • #11-14 (I think) took a day.
  • #15-24 took a day.
  • #28-29, +25 took ~ 5 hours.
  • #30 took ~2.5 hours.

I don’t usually do character design. I’ve not done sci-fi either. I would research every time I do a thumbnail, and again every time I revise the aesthetic theme. Confusion while in unfamiliar territories sucks… Each time I make shape-based thumbnails, I had no idea what it is, and all the shapes come out generic humanoid with random lumps here and there, looking like cartoonish clones of Master Chief. Each time I revert back to archaeologically scraping an idea out with pencil lines, I end up with 3 thumbnails after 4 hours that may or may not convey the correct feel for this character.  Current problem is, shape-based thumbnailing makes me very insecure when I can’t see what is in those blobs, because I don’t see it in my head to begin with. However, line-based thumbnailing makes me noodle one drawing far too long, and end up with hodge-podge of many little ideas cluttered onto one humanoid armature that rarely convey a clear theme from each drawing. Both together creates a third problem where I feel like I’m not expressing my aesthetic themes clearly, and I’m also not exploring enough variety in my designs. I’m not sure how to break through this choke point that’s been bothering me since last year, and a choke point I believe I need to break through to improve as a concept designer.

Struggle with clear, good design:

At the beginning I had cowboy and western looks mixed in with the outlaw and biker looks, but that was too much of a mix. Currently it’s simplified to just sci-fi biker bandits. Their setting is the dark, frozen regions on Duality-52, where they leech off the clean water (ice) trade some American corporation is monopolizing. A lot of struggle right now is in how to visually convey all that, especially the “polar outlaw who don’t kill” part.

Staying on track:

I started planning and doing characters because of several portfolio feedback I received encouraging me to branch out from just having creatures in my portfolio, and create more assets that look like they can already belong to existing game titles or studio aesthetics. Now that I’ve stopped bending over the thumbnails and took a step back, I’m worried how well any of these thumbnails match what’s already out there.



Rage Demon WIP

A screen shot of the progress on the rage demon. It has change a lot and the colors flipped completely, but this one is final. Just need to render it. This is based on the rage poison from Buddhist believes.


Rage demon

Progress on Rage demon so far. Still need a lot of snapped chains and oozes of poison flying around. Why didn’t I just do those tonight? I’m at the squinty-eyes tire stage.




It has been a very good day to work on Rage, but it’s still far from looking enraged.

All 3 of them should be done by 2/22, but at this point I will estimate 1.5 for quality, and 2 if I go sloppy on the second one for the sake of quantity and turnover rate for my portfolio.

Studies and application + 1 thumbnail

Robotpencil Creature Design Mentorship month 2

The second round has been really hard on me because I started it already exhausted from working hard during month 1. Here’s a line sketch of one of this month’s creatures:


Last 4 Thumbnails and a doodle

Pretty exhausted right now… this is just continuation of mentorship assignment. And a doodle.

meetup 00a