Volo’s Guide to Monsters – Concepts

Draegloth 01 05
Draegloth concept

[pix_dropcap]A[/pix_dropcap] 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!

Drider 01 07
Drider concept

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 01 01
Drow architecture concepts

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.

3 Replies to “Volo’s Guide to Monsters – Concepts”
  1. hey daarken! like your concepts. I always wondered for these concept pushes do they pay you as concept artist like video games/film or the illustrator rates?

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