Monday, January 12, 2009

Creature Feature #1: Derek Thompson

Being the creature design lover that I am, I thought I'd start doing a series of posts on creature designers whose work I greatly admire. I'll do this somewhat regularly. Perhaps even make a weekly tradition of it, or perhaps I'll just operate by the "when I feel like it" method. I also plan to do a similar series of posts on real animals, looking at their forms, shapes, anatomy, and so forth, and examining how those features can be used to make interesting creature designs.

Anyway, for this first addition of what I've decided to call the Creature Feature (until or unless I come up with a more original name), I'm going to show you the art of Derek Thompson. I first found Derek Thompson's website quite a long time ago, but only error messages came up when I clicked on the images. I recently came upon his website again, and the bug had been fixed. The art I found there was amazing.

Derek Thompson has a fantastic sense of design. He uses great combinations of shapes, and is often experimental with color.
He uses a variety of rendering styles in his work, from a comic book-like boldness and simplicity, to an almost Wayne Barlowe-like level of gritty detail.

His designs also range from the harmless and silly to the morbid and creepy.

Usually, though, Derek Thompson's art is between these extremes. Finely rendered form is mixed with flatter, more graphical lines and shapes, while cute, cartoonish proportions are combined with toothy grisliness. It's truly a great combination.

Here's a selection of some of my favorites of his designs.

His mixed media on toned paper technique looks pretty sweet, too. I'm going to get out my colored pencils and try to emulate it.

To learn more about Derek Thompson and see more of his work visit these sites:

His website:
His profile on the Pixar Wiki:
His profile on Gnomon (features a sweet little storyboard thingy):
His blog:

All images in this post are (c) Derek Thompson, shown here with permission.

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