Re-designing the Kraken

In October of 2013, I was approached by Wizards of the Coast to redesign a variety of classic monsters for the newest incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons. One of those monsters was The Kraken, a legendary sea monster that has been a part of D&D since 1st edition. The Monster Manual has just hit shelves and I am busy sharing all the work I contributed to the project. 

The Kraken has taken many forms but it usually resembles a squid. When working with Wizards on this monster, they made it clear they wanted to take a different direction for this edition. These were the first sketches I sent in for approval: 

They wanted the monster to feel ancient and enormous. I pulled from extinct animals including dunkleosteus and coelacanth. The team at Wizards took a liking to the monster on the bottom right. From there, I was able to flesh out more of the monster.

Even though these concepts were for print and will probably never be animated or modeled, I strived to add a few drawings of the creature in motion as well as written information for the artist who might be assigned with illustrating the monster for the manual later. I felt it would help flesh out the look of the beast.

After a few edits to the head design, the Kraken was later illustrated by Christopher Burdett. He did a beautiful job of capturing the attitude and enormity of the monster. You can read about his process illustrating it here. Special thanks to Jon Schindehette for Art Directing the concept stage of this monster. I have many more concepts to show off in the coming days so stay tuned for more!