In an effort to tackle more character design, I have decided to create a detailed reference sheet for a creature I call the tomato wyrm.
This my initial sketch. He's a flightless dragon, which are sometimes called a wyrms, but not always. I am fusing together a tomato caterpillar and a gecko to get a balance of wormy and lizard.
The next step (after amassing a pool of reference photos) was building the maquette. I'm using Sculpey as usual, which is built on top of a foil and tape skeleton. I photographed the maquette in direct and diffused light. The direct light I will be using more frequently to get those dramatic cast shadows, but the soft light is nice to refer back to since sometimes dramatic light can make it hard to read the anatomy.
I'm not one to create very detailed under-drawings, but I've learned my lesson that taking more time at this stage is going to mean less corrections in the future. The little circles help with imagining the the creature standing on a flat surface in perspective.
In this next stage I'm painting in occlusion shadows, which are the shadows you see when two surfaces meet and there's a gap between them. I like to think of what a 3D model looks like before you add "lighting". This is the first time that I have tried this technique, which is the method that illustrator Sam Nielson uses. After the occlusion shadows are painted, I will move on to the cast shadows and color!