Creature of the Week – Part II

The last time I talked about entering the Creature of the Week contest over at, I showed a few examples that went over well with the group, but never got me very close to being the top vote getter. This illustration and concept art weekly contest is very competitive sometimes, and a number of the best artists working in the field today browse these boards regularly and take part in events, so you really have to up your game as much as possible.

I was struggling find my flow with so I decided to return to my cartooning roots stylistically for the next drawing. The topic was Venomous Bird and my mind, as always, drifted into  different territory. Where as a lot of illustrators would create birds with natural venom as an evolutionary defense mechanism, I decided to go in the direction of a biological weapon that was venomous by design! The idea was that Germany, during the last days of World War II, were desperately trying any and all weapon ideas to throw at the Allies. They create a bird through genetic splicing that had the DNA from a number of different avian varieties. Into this they pumped an enormous amount of toxins and chemical weapons, then they would release these bird-bombs to fly into the front lines and devastate the allied command. However, on the day of release disaster struck and most of the Nazi scientists involved in the project were killed as the birds immediately swung back into German territory and delivered their venomous payload. It seems they scientists had spliced in too much homing pigeon DNA.

Yeah, it was a humorous story and a cartoonist approach to the art, which is probably why it didn’t do too well.

The next image got lost in the shuffle of a week that had too many fantastic entries to count. The idea was simply called Symbiotic Predators. The image above shows my result. The large creature is a lumbering mass of hard-shelled, bulldozer-like power that has impenetrable defense, but is slow and poor of sight on a planet that is in near perpetual darkness. An evolutionary failure by all accounts, it has survived due to the symbiotic relationship it has formed with the flying bat-like bio luminescent creatures that have created dwellings by burrowing into it’s bony hide. Safe from predators in their new home, these creatures hunt down prey from their movable fortress. The slow moving giant can then find ready-made meals by following the bio luminescent glow to the location where incapacitated victims await.

A well thought out idea that simply couldn’t stand up to the outstanding entries it faced in competition.

However my NEXT concept art illustration was very well received. In fact, it brought me into a very close second place finish, barely beat out by an outstanding entry that even I voted for. The idea was called Digger Creature, and even though I again went WAY outside the box in concept, the execution and idea came off better than I had hoped and a lot of artists were very entertained by the image. I created a virtual creature that lived in cyber space. It fed on web page code and dug through the visual browser information to get at it. The image you see below was my attempt at visualizing the complex concept. The creature is actually digging through the web page. I created my entire post on the forum, submitted it, took a screen capture of it and then deleted the post. I took the screen capture image into Adobe Photoshop and created the virtual tear right through the text, added some wood and pipes for humor, and even took information right from the website to make the background code. When posted, the illustration fit perfectly and as you scrolled along you came across this fella tearing into your screen and eating my post. I almost won on originality alone, and if the artistic rendering had been a little better I would have taken home first place.

I do hope to get back to entering this weekly contest sometime in the next few months, so if you are browsing the forums, keep your eye out for me. I go by the name arteric! See you there.

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