Web Comics, Chalk Art, Illustrations, Digital Painting, and Cartoons by Artist Eric Maruscak
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Creature of the Week – Part I

If you look at my blogroll to the right of the page, you will see a link to one of my favorite forums ever. conceptart.org! This is a site for professional and non-professional artists alike to gather, show their work, critique the works of others, and take part in community events that will help improve your artistic abilities! The feedback you can get here is alone some of the best around, and were talking for people who have been working in the industry for a long time.

As the name states, it is mostly a forum for concept art; people designing artistic renderings of characters, vehicles, creatures, environments and objects for video games, movies and publications. You can get lost here for hours and see hundreds of things that will make you want to give up being an artist forever… they are THAT good.

One of the longer running events that can be found in the conceptart.org forums is called Creature of the Week. Here, a weekly creature description is offered up, and without many rules or limitations, artists are free to create whatever amazing things they can put to paper (or screen if they work digitally) and post for a poll at weeks end. Braggin’ rights are about all you get, but it is just so damn fun to see what everyone comes up with, and the people you get to know in the community are incredibly talented.

They are up around creature #144… but I am proud to say that I took part in the first ones when the thread was started up a few years ago. Below are the sketches and final entries for some of the weekly contests with descriptions of what the Creature of the Week was supposed to be.

The Creature of the Week mascot entry illustration by artist Eric Maruscak.The Creature of the Week mascot entry digital colors by artist Eric Maruscak.

The very first contest was for a mascot to christen the new thread. Since Creature of the Week can (kind of) be abbreviated as COW, people quickly took to making almost exclusively COW mascots of some sort. My idea was for a COW quick-change artist since it would be a different creature every week. A very good idea, but the final illustration turned out to look more like a poster design than a mascot. Still, I had a lot of positive feed back and was ready to move on to the next weeks challenge.

The Dont Touch That contest entry for conceptart.org Creature of the Week. Illustration by Eric Maruscak.cow_dont_touch

The next weeks challenge was simply called Don’t Touch That! I knew immediately that most people would create some creature with sharp edges or spikes, or a creature with an acid skin. I thought outside of the box (way outside) and actually turned the phrase into a little story about villagers that captured an ogre and set up a cruel torture in the town square. Sooner or later the most innocent among them would come along and doom the creature. Yeah, creative but too far off the subject and not how you are supposed to do it. On to week three.

Creature of the Week contest entry at conceptart.org. Surge Worm Illustration by Eric Maruscak.Creature of the Week contest entry at conceptart.org. Surge Worm Illustration by Eric Maruscak.

Week three got ugly… and by that I mean the subject matter. Two simple words that had everyone laughing and gagging. Anal Parasite. What the hell was I supposed to draw? Did I event want to draw it? In the end, the solution I found was to turn the idea on it’s head. Where most people would draw something small, I would make a creature that was over 2000 pounds. I came up with the Surge Worm, also known as the Puppeteer Parasite. With no mouth of its own, this creature would insert appendages into hosts and take control of them, using their bodies to eat and digest food from which it would take the nutrients it needed. A very disgusting idea, and a very creative solution I felt as well. I kept the image kind of cartoony so as not to be too offensive.

It was a minor hit and got the most votes out of any of my entries up to that point. In the end, someone else took home the glory, but I was having fun and making art so it didn’t matter.

Coming soon I’ll post some more entries including the one that ALMOST took home the gold. See ya next time!

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