Creating Wraithacks

This sinister alien bipedal dragon is the villain in Children of Arla and The Advent Universe. He is both a primary character and a side story. He was born from the character of Klateqal, a Hydrackian Traveler that was framed for the murder of his daughter.

The accuser, Zo’ar, the leader of the Hydrackian Ota, the engineering and expansion division of the race, has always hated Klateqal for all he stood for. He methodically engineered the plan that ultimately put Klateqal in prison for the “crime.”

During the imprisonment, a malfunction occurred, pulling Zo’ar into the machine. The process not only rooted Klateqal in his crystalline prison but merged both Zo’ar and Klateqal into one being. The resulting creature was born from the two adversaries, Zo’ar’s anger and hate for Klatequal, and Klateqal’s desire for revenge. Wraithacks is the product of all and the eternal prison they are both convicted to.

Designing the Character

Creating the look and feel of Wraithacks was a process. The Hydrackians are a species of shape-shifting bi-pedal dragons. The villainous version of one of them required a lot of reference images.

The artist, Betrias Goncalves, and I went back and forth looking up reference images of dragons, werewolves, aliens, and armored creatures. We needed to create a character that was both ominous and majestic.

Working with some initial thoughts

Beatris began working through some preliminary designs. She created some basic and very raw sketches. It helped me think through how the character would look. I had already given her some descriptions of the character and what I thought he would look like. She pulled from the reference images and started giving them some direction. I picked from the variations she put together to take us into the next phase of the design.

Fleshing or “de-fleshing”

When Wraithacks awoke and escaped his now malfunctioned prison, he found his flesh melting from his body. The process was slow, and his body healed quickly as if his flesh was decaying and healing simultaneously. We needed to portray this in the art.

After discussing the four versions, we settled on one that worked the best. Wraithacks is locked in a dragon beast pose, trapped between life and death, and perpetual decay and healing.

Testing out colors and materials

After selecting the body version we wanted to go with, we then worked on armor type and color. We discussed alloys that might be what Wraithacks may wear in combat or when leading his Hellion Army.

We looked at bronze, silver, gold and rhodium which has the best of all the qualities.

After working through some tone variations, we settled on Option D in the second image (below). It showed off the red from the contaminated luminoy crystal that pumped through Wraithack’s veins. The material is also strong and matched the image we were trying to portray.

The Final Design

Beatris worked on the final design and came up with the final image for the character. We were both very pleased with how Wraithacks turned out. You have to love the eight tendrils that flow off his head. Don’t get too close to them. They bite.

Wraithacks in an Action Pose

After it was all said and done, he came to life.

Art is by John Zercher.

Process Slideshow

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