As you may know, creating creatures is something I very much want to get into in both art, 3D models and game development. I’ve loved dreaming up monsters, aliens, and mutants since I was a kid. Something about creating something strange and new always appealed to me. I drew on many sources for ideas, popular movies and TV shows, mythology was always a great go to source. But that only allowed me to build on others ideas, which was limiting. Creating something truly original is more challenging and can be daunting. To help myself I came up with an idea using index cards.
Start with a deck of at least 50 index cards.
Think of categories you’d like to use, here are some examples from my own:
- Special Abilities
Separate your index cards into piles for each category, if you use just the five examples above you should have five piles of 10 cards each.
Now take a pile and write down one item on each card for that category. For example, Animals might look like this
Add more cards if you want, you can always add more later as you have more ideas. The only real limit is your own imagination and how many ideas you can come up with.
Do this for each category. Note: I later realized using colored cards, a different one for each category, helped me keep them sorted by category.
Now shuffle each category, keeping them separate. When you need some inspiration for a creature, draw one or more cards from one or more decks and then make something out of it!
For example, you could draw one from Animal, one from Plant, one from Origins, and one from Special Abilities and get a strange creature that is part animal, part plant and has some kind of special ability, you even know where it lives.
In Season 7 of FaceOff there were challenges involving aliens and hybrid creatures. This sort of method is great for giving yourself your own creature challenge. In a recent bit of creativity I decided to draw three cards from my Animal deck and one from my Origins deck to create a unique alien. My animal cards were Insect, Turtle and Snake, and my Origins card was Desert. So I began working on a creature concept that combined features of an insect, a turtle and a snake; which came from a desert like planet. Below is the early concept art that resulted.
So, the next time you’re stumped for ideas for your own creature, try dealing yourself some inspiration.
As always, keep being creative!