Monday, October 6, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Fire Beetle - Redesign

The 5th Edition Monster Manual is now officially out in the world and I had a great book signing over the weekend. Coverage of the monsters I redesigned for the 5E MM continues with the might Fire Beetle. RAWR! Here is how the final concept turned out...

Fire Beetle - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual - Redesign
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

I am all about giant insects... working on one for a personal project right now. Giant insects with the word 'fire' in their description? Even better! In fact, I re-redesigned the Fire Beetle since I originally did this one for 5th Edition. Those familiar with the blog know I am redesigning the entire original Monster Manual and recently I got to the Fire Beetle. But we are not here to talk about that we are here for the 5E Monster Manual. As with all good monsters, they started with some thumbnails...

Fire Beetle - Thumbnails
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

With some monsters the options are so open I just do not know where to start or what direction to take, so there will me lots and lot of thumbnails and designing. These six are my top picks from all the thumbnails I scribbled away on. I felt some were getting close, or were at least good starts for some further work. Turns out that 'E' was actually the winner and was almost to the finish line (or was it?). I had a few notes and I worked up a new more fleshed out concept thumbnail...

Fire Beetle - Revised Thumbnail
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

This thumbnail was approved and I was given the go ahead to work up the final drawing. Here is how the final drawing for the Fire Beetle turned out...

Fire Beetle - Drawing
9 x 12
Pencil on Paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Things are always in flux. People change their minds. New people are brought in. Nothing is set in stone until it is payed for or printed. After sending in the above drawing and thinking that this is the new look for the Fire Beetle I got a lot of notes on changing the beetle a bit. I decided to do the edits digitally over my drawing since most of the monster was staying intact. After changing its head and back here is the new version of the Fire Beetle drawing...

Fire Beetle - Revised Drawing
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

While production always has the final say I was a little taken aback by the edits to the design. I thought, at the time, that the monster was being watered down and a lot of what made it look 'cool' was getting removed. Time moves on and the greater context of the monster in the world of the game becomes clear and it becomes obvious that production made the right choices. This updated version was approved and I was given the go ahead to work up the color comp...

Fire Beetle - Final Redsign
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

There were some little edits after turning in the final color version to get the glow effect to look correct, but beyond that the creature was approved on the first pass. Since this left my hands it looks like the monster eventually lost the little fire jet nozzle on it forehead altogether. It no longer has a offensive fire attack and goes back to being a source of light for adventures. In the end I was happy with how this one turned out... all things considered.

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition!

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday for another new monster! Until then...

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