Hey folks! Here's a quick look at the process of redesigning another Dungeons & Dragons monster from the newly released Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons. One of the many creatures I got to play with was the Peryton. This creature was first featured in the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 1977. For 5th edition, Wizards pulled from it's rich history of monsters to feature a few old favorites and I had the pleasure of reimagining this one in particular.
The prompt for this design was pretty straightforward: large eagle-like body with the head of an elk. I wanted the new version of the Peryton to feel more like a cohesive creature rather than a chimera with pieces of animals stuck together.
This was one of the first sketches I sent over to Wizards for approval. I wanted to capture a raptor-like stance, with the head held back and chest forward, as well as keeping the elk apparent in the head design. This monster is known for ripping out the hearts of its victims so its mouth needed to reflect that.
After receiving feedback, I moved on to add teeth and a more aggressive forward facing eye to the final design. I looked to bearded vultures and eagles for reference and ideas. From here it was on to color and a few other poses to better realize the creature. I always strive to add a few additional views and a bit of written information to better showcase what the creature looks like. Because I wasn't sure if I'd be illustrating this monster for the final manual, I needed to make sure the artist doing so would have sufficient information.
The final monster ended up being a success! The illustration in the manual is gorgeous and I recommend finding a copy to take a look at all of the incredible art. I have lots more to share about the design process of a few monsters from Dungeons & Dragons. Special thanks to Jon Schindehette for Art Directing the concept stages of this monster.