A few months ago I posted some of my Yuan-ti concepts I created for Volo’s Guide to Monsters. We were given permission to post the rest of the concepts we created during the 3-week long concept push where I was joined by Chris Rahn and Tyler Jacobson. I guess you could refer to us as “Team Academy” since all three of us graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
D&D concept pushes are always a little more relaxed than Magic: The Gathering pushes. The needs are easier to meet since you don’t have to hit specific goals like big blue flying creatures or a race that fits a red/white/black wedge. In a D&D push you are basically asked to create cool monsters and people. Of course that’s a little oversimplified, but that is the basic gist.
Working on Volo’s Guide to Monsters was a lot of fun because we got to work on creatures that I grew up with. Some of the creatures didn’t require a completely new concept, but rather just needed an updated look.
I’m not going to post all of the concepts I created during the push, mainly because I wasn’t happy with a lot of them. Actually, I’m still a little “meh” about a few of the concepts I’m posting. After I created my beholder concept, I saw the amazing concepts Chris created. I didn’t do any more beholder concepts after that, hah!
Working on the drider was probably my favorite part of the concept push. Drow are always a fun race to work on, albeit challenging.
I wanted to do something a little different with the drider. I had read somewhere that driders were actually crazy, or insane, so I wanted my drider to look like he was whacked out of his mind. I can’t find where I had read that, so maybe I’m the one who is crazy.
I also wanted to change the position of the humanoid part of the drider instead of going with the typical centaur style body. I think positioning the body horizontally works well with the insane aspect of the drider because it requires them to look up at you through their hair, à la creepy Japanese Ring girl. I think their fighting animation would look pretty freaky. I also thought it might be cool if I made their hair more like spider webs.
The drider is a little hard to see due to the footprint of the entire concept, so you might want to take a look at the detail shot of just the drider.
Drow architecture is always tricky to concept due to the location. When you start putting buildings in a cave, they look exactly like that; they look like buildings placed in a cave. I wanted to figure something out that would integrate the natural elements of a cave with architecture.
I wanted to take the spider theme all the way, so even the rock formations resemble clusters of spider legs. I took some inspiration from termite mounds and casts made from ant hills. Inside the “holes” are where the rooms are located, that way I could hide the elements that don’t play well with caves, like chairs and tables.
Below are a few more concepts, including the Yuan-ti I posted before.