The next art order is from backer Paul Vermeren, who sent me a couple of great ideas for illustrations. I chose to go with his idea of depicting the creation of a crossbreed monster - this is something that mages of high enough level are able to do in ACKS. I can think of many uses for a sharktipede, can’t you? If only I could get a real live one I’d use it exterminate the kobolds that have taken up residence in my basement…
Below are some snippets from our conversation leading up to the finished piece.
Paul: Another interesting possibility would be an illustration of the creation of a crossbreed monster. Again, I’m not exactly sure how to depict such a thing but it seems too interesting and unique to pass up.
Ryan: I’ve been thinking about the creation of crossbreed monsters, and it seems like they are sort of blended together (Alex says the two progenitors are destroyed in the process). I imagine the crossbred monster exploding from a vat of liquid, with the delighted wizard observing nearby. Perhaps there is an assistant or two present as well - attempting to tame the beast but clearly terrified of it?
Do you have any preferences of what creatures were bred together? I was thinking about this a lot yesterday and if I had my choice, it would be something absurd but visually wonderful, like a shark-giant centipede cross!
Paul: I like the staging you’ve come up with - the monster bursting from a vat, with the assistants trying to control it. I say go for it. I’m really looking forward to seeing that look of glee on the mage’s face. You could do some neat stuff with the vat, making it look “ancient world” rather than a big glass jar. Maybe partly ceramic/pottery or something?
I think it might be cool for one of the assistants to be a dwarf. I don’t think we’ve seen a dwarf in any of your illustrations yet. Correct me if I’m wrong. Or you could have the mage be chaotic and have the assistants be beastmen.
I definitely like the idea of the shark/centipede (sharktipede?); it’s appropriately wacky, yet terrifying. Flipping through the monster section yields some other solid potential candidates: bats, giant octopi, apes, giant scorpions, tyrannosaurs…
Ryan: Here are a couple I worked on in free time today - both have problems that I would fix as I develop them further: the one on the left I would like to rotate a little to be able to show more of the surrounding environment and the vessel the monster is exploding out of, and in the one on the right I’d make the figures about twice as small so the monster looks freaking huge. Let me know which of these you’d prefer.
Paul: I’m liking the dynamism and in-your-face-ness of the thumbnail on the left. The sharktipede looks even better than I thought it might! Glad the pincer mandibles are still there. Very cool.
Ryan: Here’s the revised thumbnail I’ll be working from. I’m going to go ahead and jump into the final penciling and ink - let me know if you want any last minute changes!
Paul: Looks great, Ryan. I can’t think of anything I’d change. Go for it!