Veteran artist, Terryl Whitlatch traced the importance of anatomy in her last offering, Science of Creature Design (opens in new tab), and it is an essential guide for any illustrator. The follow up, Principles of Creature Design puts those skills into practise.
Delve into Whitlatch's imagination as she employs her extensive knowledged, shared with readers in Science of Creature Design, to her stunningly detailed, realistic imaginary creatures.
Whitlatch's creatures are specifically formulated to survive in their make-believe worlds, interact with their own species and others and make a serious impact. Whitlatch reveals that a successful creature design, begins with a solid story and understanding of how your creature lives.
"Creatures do not exist in a vacuum," she reminds us. Mapping out a creatures narrative is essential to her character building, she dubs this "The Creature's Journey" (see more creature design tips here).
From predatory species, weather systems and natural disasters to varying planetary ecosystems - all these factors come into play and must be taken into consideration in the early stages of the design process.
From here, she retraces her steps in the previous volume: looking back to anatomy to understand her make-believe characters and ensuring they are believable.
She also envisions entire scenes and scenerios, illustrating how each creature responds to one another - those in dominant positions, untamed species and those herded like cattle - as well as their interaction with weapons, structures, technologies and their wider worlds.
Concluding the book, Whitlatch looks at some of the most inspiring creature creations of her career (dedicating an entire chapter of the volume to her designs for Star Wars, including alien we all love to hate, Jar Jar Binks) and leaves us with inspirational tips on forging your own path.
For those who are more interested in inspiration, stunning art and some background to the development of their favourite Star Wars creatures, this book is the one to get.
It lacks the practical, essential information residing within the pages of Science of Creature Design, but it is choked full of Whitlatch's iconic, stunning imagery to inspire anyone with an appreciation for art and imagination.
For those who are looking to expand skills, rather than start at the beginning, Whitlatch offers some stellar advice to advance your designs and help develop your own style.
She truly makes you believe in yourself, as well as her creatures, explaining that frustration is normal and all part of the pathway to your dream career.