The Arborean was the first, and easiest playable race I designed for Flypso. They are the “elves” of the flypso universe. Quick, agile, sophisticated, deeply protective of the forest, compassionate and caring but somewhat snobbish, etc.
However, it was the most challenging in some ways. I wanted a tree dwelling mammal with a primate body, but I didn’t want it to look too human. I gave it bat ears and a tail, a panda nose, and fox facial structure, but then it ended up looking like a cat person. I added little horns but they didn’t make much difference.
I decided to accept that it looks like a humanoid cat, and move on. I thought it would be fun to paint the fur, but that ended up being so tedious I finally broke down and started using some fur brushes to speed up the process. I prefer to do things manually without the use of fancy photoshop tricks and brushes that basically do all the work for you, but I realized that even with fur brushes I really still needed to know what I was doing, so I was comforted by that. There comes a point where you have to value your time, especially when you are bursting with ideas that want out. I studied the faces of foxes, pandas, and hyenas to get a better understanding of which fur goes in what direction and to understand how to create depth and dimension. I really struggled to give the white muzzle any dimension since it is in such stark contrast to the rest of the face, and I am still not completely satisfied with the stripes, although the markings will vary from one Arborean to the next.
Here is the first sketch of the Arborean concept, which actually started out as a mindless unfinished doodle of a random animal (I drew the armour outline much later), and had absolutely nothing to do with Flypso.
When I started thinking about playable races, the idea for the Arborean came first, and when I opened the sketchbook to find an empty page, I noticed this doodle again, and realized this could easily be adapted to use for Flypso.
I sketched a full body concept and experimented a bit with what their light leather armour might look like. The proportions came out a bit weird looking because I was roughly basing this off of spider monkeys, but the problem I think is mostly because the knees are too low, and there is something wrong with the forearms. I think the forearms look like they are curved forward or something weird like that. It’ll take some practice to get this one to look natural but I think it can work.
I wanted to get some practice with facial fur patterns so I started drawing the face in more detail, still with pencil on paper. Eventually I got tired of this method and moved over to the Cintiq to get going on the colour version, using this unfinished drawing as a reference.