Finding a Direction – Part 1

In my last post I went on the hunt for reference.  I found some animal and insect references that I felt would help lead me down a pretty cool path in redesigning the critters.

In this first image, I dove in to the designs with the intention of using the last thumbnails I showed in the Hunting Down Reference post as a jumping off point.  I’m really just feeling out the character, trying to find his personality.  My focus is on the face/head knowing that he’s a grinner, but also a biter!  I’m still deciding if I want to keep to the campiness of the original design and movie or go in a more aggressive direction.


Everything right now is real sketchy and that’s the way it should be.  These images are really for me as the designer to see.  I use these to find a direction to go in.  The director/art director/whomever usually won’t see these.

With this next group, I’m starting to get a feel for the critter’s look.  I’m still playing with the design and the creatures anatomy a LOT though.

1 & 2)  In these 2 I’m going over in my head how the critter would curl into a ball and how he would then look standing.

3)  This sketch shows the mouth all the way open as I imagined it swallowing its prey whole like a boa.  Not sure I’ll use this option.

4)  A basic angry growl.

5)  This one was based on looking at a bullfrog for another direction for the body and neck.  I wanted to try and show them as one with a bunch of flesh – instead of the caterpillar route as a way to show his bulk.  Buuuut, it looks pretty goofy.  Kind of looks like he’s flexing for the mirror….or the ladies.

6)  In this sketch I thought about changing his stance.  Maybe he’s hunched over and at the ready to roll at any time.

7)  Time to figure out the back.  I took a look at the gorilla image I showed in the last post as an idea.  I really liked the bulk that silverback had.  So I thought that might apply here.  I’ll go back and rework it as their anatomies are different and the critter’s movements are vastly different.

8)  I went in more of a piranha direction with the skull here.

9)  Deciding on how much bulk to have in the neck here.

10)  And I wanted to show him attacking in this one.  What would it look like from the side?  What do I like and what do I want to change?


As you can see, we have a ways to go before we have a solid design.  I’m showing my process here bit by bit as I thought that would be more interesting so hopefully it doesn’t seem like I’m taking forever.  Many times these early steps are just a few hours before you have to get to a more finalized design to show the powers that be the next day!  But I’m taking my time here to explore this fun little critter and show you all a bit more.  Hopefully it’s interesting!

More to come!

Click here for part two of designing a new Critter – Huntin’ Down Reference

Click here for part one of designing a new Critter – My Kind of Critter


  1. Very cool concepts. I really like how the heads protrude forward when they open their jaws. Pretty true to how the sharks jaw anatomy works, or even a snake.


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