This week I thought I'd show a bit of the mid-process artwork for the Monstrous Manual Project. The next monster I'm working on is called an Arcane, which are slender blue giants that roam around selling magical items.
I've started by creating a silhouette of the creature, gradually pushing and pulling at the edges until the shape looks right, flipping it horizontally from time to time to make sure it looks good both ways. I then start to block in different elements of the creature into separate layers: it's body, robes, bag, and cloak. This allows me to begin organizing the tonal structure while continuously making adjustments to the major shapes. I also usually put some extra time into the head, as I've found that allowing the focal points to be a bit more developed than the surrounding areas tends to help keep my creative momentum.
Once everything's blocked in and I like how the shapes are looking, I lock the transparent pixels on each layer so I don't 'color outside the lines' and start modeling the form. I usually try to travel around the piece evenly, working on adding details and pulling things into focus here and there. If I find myself focusing too much on one area, it's time to move on to the least developed area, or any other element that is calling for attention.
This technique has its drawbacks, but it is a quick way to play with ideas and start to get a sense of whatever it is you're creating. As for this artwork, I'll probably try to approach this monster from a different angle, but experimenting with this idea establishes a landmark from which I can determine a direction to move towards with the final artwork.