Category Archives: Inspirations

Castle Borealis – Palace of the Ice Wyrms (Research)

I began by looking at preexisting drawings of icy landscapes on Pinterest and drawing up ideas from there. I really wanted to incorporate the beautiful shades of blue and purple.


I drew a few very simple sketches to get an idea of what the scene would look like. I wanted to incorporate the tall sandstone pillars and the vast open sky. It was after a few attempts that I came to my final sketch idea:


Though very simple, this sketch shws a vast flat desert filling the bottom third of the frame, some dunes to the right, and the colossal body of a Dust Walker beyond the horizon.

Desert Landscape

I wanted to create a vast expanse of desert with some form of civilization that would show the size of the Dust Walker in comparison to a city. To start off with, I created a Pinterest board of desert city landscapes which can be seen below. The gorgeous warm colours of the desert and the vast towering colomns of sandstone made me want to try drawing a landscape like them.


Creature Concept – Dust Walker

In the world of Ambrion live colossal, omnivorous, floating creatures that migrate across the deserts and consume everything in their path. These are the Dust Walkers, so named that they seem to glide along the streams of sand and dust that blow over the sand dunes. To do this they inflate themselves with the hot desert air, like a balloon, and with their surprisingly light skeleton, manage to keep themselves afloat.

These ominous creatures are referenced in many legend as the was the world will end; that everything will be consumed by an oncoming tide of hungry giants.


To visualise these creatures, I went back to my original design:

Original Dust Walker on Spore (2015)

The Dust Walkers were originally legged creatures with a large, battering ram head and sails along their back. They were basically giant, gold reptilian elephants. Though I was rather fond of this design, it was time for a rethink so I could envision these creatures as something creative looking and ferocious.

I turned to the animal kingdom to look for inspiration on design:


The Basilosaurus was my main inspiration for the base shape of the Dust Walker. As the early ancestor of the whale, the Basilosaurus retains its primal predatory features such as very sharp teeth. The prospect of having a whale-like shape was inspired by the fact that the Dust Walker would appear to swim along the sand dunes in its habitat.



Another inspiration for the body shape of a Dust Walker. The fleshy yet segmented appearance of the Tardigrade was interesting and unique, and almost alien.


African Elephant

Of course an elephant was going to be a huge influence on the design of the creature. The large head and the large ears that act as radiators were important features that I would replicate on the Dust Walker. As a creature that lives in a hot climate, the Dust Walker would need sails or ears like an elephant to help it regulate heat.

Whale – The Legend of Spyro

This floating space creature was interesting not only because of its strange appearance but because of the strange glowing “gills” on its back, that appear to be the method of propulsion for the creature.

Leviathan – The Legend of Spyro

This gigantic turtle creature interested me in its intriguing design and it’s many sets of flippers. It really did look like a mythical sea beast, and like the Basilosaurus, I was inspired by it’s steamlined yet bulky shape.

Jared Pullen

One of my biggest inspirations in created a world of dragons was Jared Pullen, lead concept artist in The Legend of Spyro Trilogy. As a massive fan of the games since they were released I have been influenced by his designs for a decade.

The cartoonish yet surprisingly legitimate designs for these characters gives them a very unique style, and a lot of personality to match.

My favourite character design, prop and scene concepts are too many to name, so here is a selection of my favourites.

I adore his golden-hued scene drawings which, when they were actually applied in the cutscenes of the game, made the story seem so much more important and magical. The fan base has take to calling these golden-hued scenes as prophecy drawings due to their presence in important plot points in the game. An example would be the scene where the Chronicler is telling Spyro the story of the villain, Malefor, which is almost entirely shown through the drawings.