Monday, November 24, 2014

Random Gamers Guild Work: Kaprosuchus

Kaprosuchus is an extinct genus of mahajangasuchid crocodyliform. It is known from a single nearly complete skull collected from the Upper Cretaceous Echkar Formation of Niger. The name means "boar crocodile" from the Greek κάπρος, kapros ("boar") and σοῦχος, souchos ("crocodile") in reference to its unusually large caniniform teeth which resemble those of a boar (from wikipedia)

Matt Hargenrader tasked me with rendering my version of the Kaprosuchus for his upcoming project on Kickstarter.com tentatively entitled "DWELLERS IN THE DEEP PLACES"

I had no idea what a Kaprosuchus was prior to the assignment, maybe I have been hiding behind the drawing board too long, how could I have not know what this amazing creature was?

Essentially a giant crocodile with long legs and "boar-like" tusks. Sounds nasty right! So I did the cursory search of the internet and found several decent images, but one in particular struck me. It is a Getty Image and at risk of any copyright infringement I will simply put the link here.

Pretty amazing right...how am I to top that?

Well I first start with a preliminary sketch. Sort of "getting the feel" for how the thing is shaped. I keep everything rather loose, and try and get a general feel for the creature. 


I try and get the pose right first, as that is (to me) the most important part, I cannot move on to parts and pieces until the pose it right. I wanted to get him circling on himself initially and so I came up with the above. 

Still it is not perfect. The legs were too short, the tail wasnt right and the head wasn't perfect, but it gives me a starting point at least. It needs a lot of refinement for sure. I am sort of satisfied with the curvature of the neck, and the right "arm", The body needs bulk, and the legs need to be extended. 

I also think that the neck is too short, the snout is too short and not quite gnarly enough. So go to the light box (generally i tape the image to my dining room window and trace the parts I am most satisfied with).  And I come up with these changes. 


Here you can see I adjusted the body quite a bit, stretched him out and was playing with the positioning of his tail a bit. I elongated his legs, neck and snout and have his head nearly the way it will be in the final illustration. 

I am happy with the general position and pose at this point. There is still some tweaking to be done though. For starters the left arm still doesn't look right to me sort of short and the angle is wrong, not only that but it doesn't seem to support his weight. I initially thought that maybe it would be raised, ready to take a step, but I needed to use that leg, especially in this pose for support, so that there was balance to the image. 

The right arm is almost to where it needs to be. The rear legs are looking pretty good to me, but the body needs more bulk, and the spines to either side of his neck and back need more detail. 

Once again I paste the image onto the window and do a quick tracing. 

Once the tracing is done onto the final surface in this case thick smooth Bristol board the inking can begin. 


Here you can see the inital inks, I am choosing at this point where my light source will be, but the initial line work can be done while I am considering this. As you can see I enlarged the lower tusks, fixed the issue with the spines along his neck and back, and have the fore legs in their final position. 

The tail too is outlined and about where it will be in the final. I gave his under sections some definition and bulk, and started to layout his scales. 

From here I will make my way through the line work, choose a light source direction and get into the heavy inks. 


Well it is done. I used a goodly amount of darkness on his underside, and gave his hide a tough bumpy look. This was a fun illustration to do, and I am trying to constantly perfect my techniques. 

Does this look over worked? I always worry that these look like a jumble of ink marks on paper. There are always things I think I could have done better. Let me know what you think in the comments below or on G+ or facebook.com/Mavfirearts.


Thanks for looking, comments always welcome.