Start of summer so it’s time for me to finish off old projects I started months ago. Began this creature design back in Janurary inspired by the creatures in the ‘Monster Hunter’ series.
Very happy with the outcome of the final design, going back to using hard outlines worked out so well while blocking out the mid-tones of the dragon. If I keep working this way I’m sure my artstyle will improve more in the coming months if I keep consistent with producing work.
Whew! Okay so here’s a little scene that’s meant to be part of a larger sequence where Atreyu and Artax are searching for a way to cure the Childlike Empress and stop the Nothing. (Before they enter the Swamps of Sadness and Artax dies.)
I’m going to cut about 90% of this from the final montage, but it was fun to explore the creepy snakes! Also, I think I’m falling in love with snakes and horses. That always seems to happen when I do visual research on a new topic…
Anyway, I cheated a lot of the spatial relationships in this… It felt like a justified sacrifice for visual drama, but I’m curious if anyone finds it jarring or bothersome. Let me know!
I’ll be posting more thumbnails and rough boards on my instagram.
Every forum and every facebook group always ends up with people buying animals from craigslist or pet stores and popping in to ask what the morph of their new baby is. And it’s also a fairly common debate for corn snakes whether a particular animal is a normal or a hypo, or an anery versus a ghost.
So what is “hypo”?
Hypo is shorthand for hypomelanism. To break the word down, ‘hypo’ means reduced, ‘melanin’ means black, and ‘ism’ is the condition of. So hypomelanism is the condition of having reduced black pigment.
How many types of hypo are there?
In the corn snake world, hypo is sometimes thought of as a 4 letter word. There are five…ish non-allelic genes that produce a hypomelanistic effect. However, when most people say ‘hypo’ when identifying a corn snake, they mean Hypo A.
Hypo A/christmas/strawberry: Of these 3 allelic genes, Hypo A is far and away the most common. The only way we know that these are indeed allelic genes rather than the same gene is very subtle effects on the snake (that I admit, I am NOT good at seeing) and how their melanocytes appear on the skin under significant magnification. It used to be thought that christmas and strawberry increased the amount of red pigment seen on the snake, but a different gene or genes has been shown to be the actual culprit of that, namely Red Factor or Red Coat.
Ultra/ultramel: Ultra is a gene that was introduced via hybridization. Technically any corn snake that has the ultra gene, or any snake descended from a snake with the ultra gene is a hybrid. But at this point they have been bred back to ‘pure’ corns to such a degree that the point is utterly moot. Ultra is also allelic to the amelanism gene. Homozygous ultras are darker than ultramels. Ultra also has an interesting effect of significantly increasing the amount of yellow a snake displays. Most corns develop a yellow wash along the sides of their necks, the sides of their face, and sometimes their nose. Ultra and Ultramels make this go significantly higher up the side of the animal, sometimes going entirely to the top, and up over the entire head. This is most easily seen on ultra and ultramel aneries.
Dilute: This gene makes the snake look like they are permanently in ‘blue’ or about to shed. It’s a pretty interesting effect.
Lava: This gene tends to result in quite intense reds (hence the name) and the black on these snakes turns a very interesting purple-y gray. On a curious note, it is very common for these snakes to have patches of normal black pigment so the saddle edges will look stippled.
Sunkissed: … kind of. Sunkissed is both a color and pattern modifying gene. Most of the time is does produce a hypomelanistic effect, however there are certain lines where the snakes display normal black pigment.
Also worth noting, motley and stripe also result in a hypo-like effect on snakes so telling a light anery motley or a dark ghost motley can be difficult without breeding trials.
Common Hypo A Mythtakes:
One of the most persistent myths about hypo A, is that it reduces the quanitity of black. People will see a snake with very thin or non-existent borders to their saddle markings and declare it a hypo based on that alone.
This is not true. Hypo reduces the *quality* of the black pigment. Instead of being a true stark black, they will be dark chocolate, brown, tan, gray, or purple-ish. Saddle edge thickness appears to be a polygenic trait, hence why okeetee-phase animals were linebred to create those thick borders. It is most likely that saddle edge thickness is the result of repeats of a particular set of genes, just like nose length is in dogs. For dogs, the more repeats they have, the longer their nose is, and if they have very few repeats, the nose gets shorter. This is why we have dogs with faces like pugs and faces like a sight hound. So I expect something similar is at work for saddle edges in corns because if you breed an okeetee phase to a normal corn snake, the offspring will have saddle thickness ranging between the two parental extremes.
For picture proof that hypo doesn’t reduce saddle edge thickness:
So how do we tell a normal apart from a hypo?
It’s all in those saddle edges. And the best way to tell is daylight photos that are super up close on those markings.
For example, this is a normal hatchling:
And while this snake is an anery as well, you can still see the true black on the markings really well:
And now, some hypos:
It might be tempting to think the lower snake is a normal, but these are daughter and son of the thick bordered hypo I showed above. Females of many morphs tend to be darker than their male counterparts.
To show they are both indeed hypos:
Here you can see that the markings are actually a chocolate brown, and that even her belly pattern is brown instead of black.
So there you go. That’s how you tell a normal from an animal carrying hypo A (or strawberry or christmas, gods how I hate these alleles).
Look,I loved the Day Of The Departed special with every bit of my Cole-fangirl heart,but
I’m so fucking excited for this next season. Tommy just about made my day when he tweeted that Cole was going to be a main focus next season.
I mean,come on- all of the ninja have more or less had a season primarily focused on them:
• Kai got the pilots.
• Rise of the Snakes worked on developing the characters (Home/Tick Tock for Zane,Once Bitten,Twice Shy for Jay,The Royal Blacksmiths for Cole,and The Green Ninja for Kai and Lloyd,etc.) and set up the second season.
• Season Two (does it even have an official name??) focused on Lloyd and Garmadon..mostly the Mega-Weapon.
• Rebooted (a.k.a. The Hell We Don’t Talk About) centered around Zane and had that dumb love triangle shit as the subplot.
• The plotline for Tournament of Elements was literally finding Zane,but I kinda think that there wasn’t any single character that got the spotlight. Jay and Cole’s friendship did get fixed, though.
• Possessed didn’t focus on anyone in particular either,unless you wanna count Morrow.
• Day Of The Departed- one hour of Cole character development doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s been reduced to eating and punching,Lego.
• Skybound was all about Jay and his relationship with Nya.
• And finally,Hands Of Time,which was centered around Wu,Kai and Nya,and their parents.
So,yeah,when I say I want a Cole season,I mean I want:
• More Father-Son dynamic
• WHY IN THE EVER-LOVING FUCK DID COLE GO HOME TO LIGHT A LANTERN WITH HIS DAD IN DOTD
The parallels between Malfoy and Sasuke and Slytherin and the Uchiha clan are insane. Both characters are assholes who don't develop, get forgiven instantly and never come off as a valid threat (Sasuke basically is a Yamcha-tier jobber) and their clans/houses are just filled with people who seem genetically predisposed to be genocidal assholes. Also Snakes.
Sasuke got more development than Malfoy and at least had actual bad things happen to him instead of just having a shitty family