Basilisk Digital Illustration

I decided to try some new techniques on this creature and I recorded a video of it start to finish.  In the upcoming days, I hope to complete a voice over for the video so, hopefully, someone can benefit from some of my processes.  I started this basilisk by going to the source, or as close to the source as I could. I pulled up the Wikipedia page on basilisks and read as much as I could regarding the basilisk in literature, pulling any visual references to the look of the creature. There was a fair amount of variation in the written look of the creature but most agreed it was some amalgam of a rooster and a lizard or snake.

I pulled a lot of reference for various types of lizards and roosters and thought back to my description of the creature. In the legends, the creature was able to kill with its gaze but I opted for a more plausible explanation for its powers. I attributed its legendary ability to a coiling, serpentine movement that induces a sensation of vertigo in those viewing it, causing some to be so overcome that they are rendered unconscious. To this end, I decided to give the creature a long thin body with multiple legs and a coiling tail. In designing the creature look for my game, I also opted for a front view so the illustration could also serve as a standing card in game-play.

I started the illustration by sketching out the form, thinking of the dimensions of the creature and drawing from the reference I had collected. Once I had the form pretty well blocked in, I built out a silhouette and determined my light direction. I then began applying light to the form, building up the dimensionality that way. As I went, I selected parts of the form that needed tweaking and used the free transform and warp tool to adjust what I had to make it more to my liking.

Once I got to a place where I was happy with the way the form was looking, I tried a new technique I pieced together from examining other artists works and videos using overlays of photo texture to build out the details of the form a little further. I kept the images light and overlaid the layers as a multiply to keep them building up on top of the values I already had there. I think it turned out pretty well. Initially, I only wanted to apply it in a few places but ended up pushing it in probably more than I ordinarily would have. I might still go back and paint over it in places but, in the interest of time, I’m going to call it as is right now.


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