Saturday, December 13, 2008


After a long delay, here's a little something from me. I've had the idea of a creature with enormous jointed jaws for a while now, so last night I just sat down and painted it. I painted pretty much the entire thing in one sitting, which is unusual for me. All I did today was tighten up a few details, mess with the contrast, and colorize it. I was strongly influenced by the work of Rich Doble and by some images of creature design demonstrations from the New Zealand workshop when creating this.
As far as the concept goes, this is basically just an alien predator with big jointed jaws. The outermost teeth are specialized for grasping prey, while the inner teeth slice prey into small pieces. The three dots on the bump on the side of its head are its eyes, while the orifice to the front of that is its nostril/heat sensing organ. Bristles on its jaws and on its back detect airborne vibrations, while its sensitive feet detect ground vibrations; it has no true ears. It has no real toes, just rough pads for traction, and uses the single claws of its forelimbs to hold onto prey and to climb over obstacles. Being more of a broad, barrel-chested creature, it does not chase down its prey, but rather lies in wait before launching a short, explosive lunge. Though rarely exceeding seventy pounds in size, due to the sheer size of its mouth and its habit of bursting out of the underbrush unexpectedly visitors to the planet Naraka should consider the snapper extremely dangerous. The snapper reproduces ovipariously, laying eggs in the roots of trees (or the Narakan equivalent of trees). The young exist as wood-boring larvae for a time, before emerging and constructing a cocoon on the outside surface of the tree. Months later, a small but fully-developed snapper bursts out, ready to terrorize the general area.

I'll probably update this image later with some diagrams of its life cycle, its mouth movements, and its scale next to a human.


Mike Corriero said...

Cool man,
I like the overall simplicity to the design yet it still feels unique and I love the jaw structure. I keep looking at it as if the nostril is the eye..can't get passed that ;) but I like that you explained what's what. Cuz, even though I can't look at the nostril without seeing it as an eye, it just makes it that much more bizarre.

joverine said...

nice design-the jaw stuff especially
I thought the nostril was the eye-hard to picture the 3 holes as the eyes?
nice writeup too

Moai said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! I've posted this a few places and people seem to dig the jaw design. As for the nostril looking like the eye, that was kind of my intent. Eyesight isn't a very important sense for this creature, hence the tiny eyes. Also, having our initial assumption about its eyes be incorrect reinforces the alien-ness of this creature, I think. If you guys think it's a problem, though, I will emphasize its true eyes a bit more.
Also, if you want to see me get really long-winded and speculative-evolution-geeky about this creature, check out the description I wrote for it on deviantart:

Björn Hurri said...

nice design man, I really like it.

Scott Altmann said...

I like it too - maybe a bit more info in the torso would be nice, but overall its a cool design

Okmer said...

I agree, maybe just a bit more details in the chest part and skintexture maybe.Really digging the jaw design too.NIce creature!

Moai said...

Thanks for the comments, fellow creature designers! Since both Scott Altman and Okmer suggested it, I will add some more details to the torso and update this image.