My next homework assignment for The Oatley Academy was to create a creature concept using masking techniques we learned in lesson #3. The main purpose of the lesson was to help us get comfortable using Photoshop’s masking tool (holy confusing, batman), but if we got a cool creature concept out of it, all the better.
Our homework assignment was divided into two parts. Part one consisted of making arbitrary shapes with the masking tool until we “saw” something in the mess. From there, we refined the silhouette into a creature, but refrained from adding too many details.
Ideally, we were supposed to ask ourselves questions about the creature as we painted. Where does this creature live? What does it eat? Is it aggressive? How does it catch its food? As I asked myself these sorts of questions, I began to answer them visually.
Part two involved taking our initial concept and fleshing it out. For example, I decided my creature would make its home on lava beds, similar to those found in Hawaii. Because of its habitat, many of my design choices reflect the ways my creature keeps cool. Its long limbs, for instance, allow it to walk along the beds while keeping its armored body elevated above the hot, molten surface. Excess heat escapes through its back, riddled with steam vents. Also, just like kangeroos lick their forearms to regulate their body temperature, my creature has a long tongue that allows it to wet its arms, legs, and tail, the end of which constantly drags along the ground and glows red-hot.