WIP: Jewelled Matriarch

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I’m participating in a new creature design event! The brief reads as following:

“In case you don’t know a matriarch is the dominant alpha female within a society or group. A parade of elephants for example is lead by a matriarchal female. Keep in mind some species of animals will change their appearance slightly if they hold authority over their society, such as the Silverback Gorilla. So in your design you will use gems, minerals, stones, crystals, pretty looking objects, etc; to suggest this matriarch’s authority over it’s group. Whether it collects jewels or if they grow naturally on the creature itself is up to you. Design the Jewelled Matriarch!”

I took some time to think trough the brief and what kind of animal that could possibly be interested in gems or minerals. Then I came to think of hermit crabs and how their shells sometimes are covered with all kinds of cool things like water creatures, stones etc. Some hermit crabs even find a home in man made objects or plastic toys. My idea is:

This species of hermit crab lives along the coasts of different oceans. Each hermit crab territory has one alpha female that is the only one who mates. The other young females live in the same area but can’t reproduce. If the alpha dies another female inside the territory steps up and becomes the alpha. The alpha covers her shell with special minerals by attaching them to her home shell with fluids. These minerals symbolize her status as the leader and attracts males. However, humans hunt these crabs since they want to harvest the minerals and gems, so this species of crab is threatened by extension.

Deadline is April the 26th and I got plenty of work left to do, so let’s GO!

2 thoughts on “WIP: Jewelled Matriarch

  1. Andreas

    Seems like you’ve rushed your reference studying. The images you’ve collected are good but I don’t see any of it reflected in your sketches.
    Figure out the actual structure of the thing then develop the forms to your liking. I usually do quick drawings of elements I want in my design and it’s usually enough for me to grasp the form (better at least). Extract the information you need in the simplest way.

    I’m liking the idea though. This type of creature seems to have a lot of wiggle room to manipulate the shapes to fit a certain character/personality. Spontaneously I imagine the matriarch being quite big (well fed cause of her status, what’s the story of this character?) and acting like a diva with all her fancy jewelry.

    That’s leads to another tip for reference. Right now you have a literal source, the crab and how it looks, but you could also reference the more sublime stuff, like personality. If the creature has the personality of a ruler then perhaps look up portraits of the human equivalent and see what you can extract from there, even if it’s not anything visually apparent.

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  2. sARA

    Hi A, thanks for the feedback! I still have to make some detailed sketches of the crab and her home. The last image in the row I posted might be a bit misrepresenting, it’s not meant to be the final design, I was just playing around with how to compose the final illustration of the creature :) I have previously done the mistake where I render a simple sketch and then find out I want to present the creature in a completely different way, haha! So, my next step is to make a nice and clean drawing of the crab and figure out the core structure so to speak. Always appreciate your feedback!

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