Nature and Design

Hey Guys,

Today I want to reiterate with you a very well known and important topic, Design in nature. Nature will forever be the greatest designer. We don’t get to choose what nature designs nor do we get to choose the composition it reveals itself in. It simply creates. As a concept artist, it’s your job to take an idea in its raw form and design a better version of itself. You must simply create, but do it better. Innovate and expand reality. I’m really trying to get that point across if you can’t tell. So what better reference to use than the world around you. Color pallets, material indication, composition, shapes and many more are there for the taking. Find the essence of your inspiration and funnel it into your design. Draw the idea not the subject. Then draw another idea, then another, then another. You are only ever as good as your reference and with nature in your corner, it can only help.

Here’s an example:

The Art Director gives me the task of creating a creature that the hero must defeat to continue their journey onward. The creature needs to be relatable and there are multiple of said creature here, so it’s not like it is one giant hulking monster.

My reference sheet:

Reference sheets can get very complex, but for this task I felt that it was not needed. I chose the volcano image as I really enjoy how the lava patterns differ as it rolls down the volcano. I also like the subtle emmission the lava gives against the night. I chose this image of the pit bull because at any time I think of a strong and intelligent dog, this breed is always the first that pops into my head. It also fits the art directors needs. The animal is well known, lives in packs and can be intimidating at times. But remember, my goal here is to not make the viewer afraid of a volcano or a dog, but instead capture the essence of the two and design something that fits the needs of the task.

My two concepts that I want to merge together and design something new and interesting.

My two concepts that I want to merge together and design something new and interesting.

The Outcome:

Here is my final. At the heart of the design is the essence of both images. Lava is so hot that its various stages of cooling affects how the lava looks and behaves. The pit bull’s proportions are muscular and a bit intimidating. I tied the two together in the idea that its flesh is made from cooled lava and and in some parts, like the face, has been completely melted away and just exists down to the bone. Suspending what is normal, but keeping it grounded enough that on screen, it still reads as believable.


That’s it. Thank you guys for reading and I hope you were able to take something away with this.