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Creating the Donkestra Armour

How do you create armour from a fictional Monster whilst retaining its identity?

(
NOTE: This is a sister post to creating the Monster Hunter fan creature: 'The Donkestra'.
Donkestra Blog Post)

This was the main question I had had in my mind throughout the entire process of creating the Donkestras Armour. So first I will show you what I ended up with, and how I came to this result:

These armours are what I felt came to feel, both individual against the collection of armours Monster Hunter sports, and individual to the base Monster, the Donkestra (seen below).
So to begin with, I have to identify what elements of this creature are particularly iconic to it. What makes this armour recognizable as identifiable as Donkestra hide. and I came up with this:

The Donkestras most discernable traits were its large round head, its bright feathers, and its pale skin flaps. With its secondary traits being the dark spines that covered its body.

Knowing these traits, I began working on the male …

Creating the Donkestra.

I decided it had been a while since I created a 'Monster Hunter' creature, and an accompanying armour set. And with Monster Hunter: Worlds recent release and success, I figured now would be a good time to begin work on a creature design I had had in my head for a while.

(For this blog post I will be focusing entirely on the Donkestra creature design. If you'd like to see how the armour was made you can find the joint blog post here:Donkestra Armour Blog)

So before we begin, let's start at the end. Here is the final design:
The Donkestra is a gliding reptile with heavy influences from mammals and birds. It uses skin flaps to glide across the land, whilst its spines and reinforced skull help defend it from predators and hunt down prey. Its hooked tail allows it to both hang upside down as it rests, and to quickly adjust its course mid-flight

But originally I had not inteded the creature to work in this manner at all. I had begun work on this thinking that I wanted to…