The Chronicles of Making the Owl-Woman (Part 1)
Do you love monsters from folklore as much as I do, especially from more obscure myths? No? Then too bad. If yes, than I think you’ll enjoy this series where I chronicle my process of designing the owl-woman from Native American mythology.
My Monster Philosophy
My idea when designing supernatural monsters is to create "something that should not exist." The idea is to structure my creatures in way so that the audience's subconscious is telling them, "there is no way this creature should be real; it is physically impossible." Monsters whose structure dictates that it shouldn't function, and yet it does. If that's still too abstract for to grasp, allow me to demonstrate what I mean.
My Monster Drafts
I did this when I was just kind of winging it. I didn't look at an owl body or woman body, to make this, I just constructed this straight from my head. I really tried to emphasize the sunken-in eyes that stare into your soul. But for an example of, "this creature should not exist," I wanted her head to be too big for her body. Like, she shouldn't be stable with such a head to body ratio, yet she is. I also wanted some humanity to her neck so that it comes across as uncanny when she rotates her head, since a human neck shouldn't do that. I didn't get very far in this design to really develop that since my art teacher, who I discussed this with, recommended that we try making this monster another way.
This was what my art teacher helped me make. We didn't just look at an owl in pictures, but also a skeleton of one. With that, I fell in love with the idea of making the owl woman's arms these bony, freaky abominations with long fingers that could wrap around you very easily. The problem was that the head we made was too much owl and not enough woman. Our efforts to fix that will be seen next time....