Starting today, we’re going to take you behind the scenes of WAKFU regularly. On our first visit we’ll be accompanied by two 2D artists, NoSocks and Pulpo, who will tell us all about their latest creations, the Moon Monsters! You’ll find out more about their origins in a future publication that is more background-focused...

What is your job in the WAKFU team?

NoSocks: I’m 25, and I’ve been working on WAKFU for a year now as a 2D graphic artist. I mainly draw the creatures you beat down every day, or NPCs or classes, like the Huppermages that you’ve had a chance to discover for yourselves in the last few months! I sometimes draw some of the illustrations you see here and there on our sites.

Pulpo: I’m 30, and I’m also one of the 2D artists, and I’ve been working on WAKFU for 8 months. I work alongside NoSocks in creature concepts and I also create equipment, the ones you can see on the characters, the inventory icons, area logos and one or two illustrations. But on the whole, we work on the same projects, even if it’s not necessarily at the same time!

Where do you get your inspiration when designing creatures?

Pulpo: First of all, the game designers create the concept of new monsters. In this instance, Zeorus gaves us a set of guidelines to follow based on the traits of the monsters. I then draw, taking my inspiration from animation in general. For the Crocodyls, I mainly thought of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, but also The Rescuers. Keeping in mind nonetheless that some Crocodyl designs had already been put up by Kme (WAKFU artist) or by Nicolas (former animator at Ankama). Apart from visual references, I am always looking at the way people move and their facial expressions. Public transit is the perfect place to dream up new creatures.

For our friends the Kannivores, the inspiration came from another WAKFU graphic artist, Emilien. It was a nod to Alien. Jurassic Park also had a bit of an influence as a source of inspiration. One of the dinosaurs in it spat venom while shaking its neck frill, and I found that really helpful for this creature’s animation, after discussing with one of our animators, Simon, we prepared the sprite.

Drafts of the Kannivore Boss. Check out my pearly white teeth.

NoSocks: For the Crocodyls, I didn’t have any definite ideas straight away. First of all, I looked at what had been done in the WAKFU series and for the DOFUS MMO, which gave me a basis for what I could start thinking about. I always spend a lot of time looking at tons of pictures on Pinterest or Tumblr before starting on a new design. I also reused some shapes from a design for Godzilla (the jaw mainly) which I’d put together for a little game during one of the Ludum Dares (Ludum Dare is a game jam where you have to create a game in 48 or 72 hours based on a set theme).

What a lovely day!

As for the Kannivores, I hit on something pretty quickly. I thought back to Xa’s illustration of the Bellaphones taking a bath. I thought the colors worked really effectively and the overall form of the creatures came back to me instantly.

What is the difference between the original drawings and the ones that go into the final version?

NoSocks: I was telling you about dinosaurs earlier, and that’s what the first visuals I created looked like.

Drafts of the Crocodyls. Anchors away!

They look a lot like dinosaurs, don’t they?

It wasn’t the final result we were looking for, and it took me several different versions to get there, using angular, more aggressive shapes. When we design, the goal is to tell a story through a drawing, without using words, but by using visual grammar alone. You have to understand what the character’s backstory is just by their appearance. For the Crocodyls, I imagined them using the remains of shipwrecked boats from the beach to make their armor and weapons. If you picked up on this idea, it means the design was a success!

The Kannivores needed way fewer redesigns! The basic idea was that they’d adapted to their environment. Living around the Kanniballs, they also had to imitate the masks the Kanniballs wear in order to blend in perfectly with their natural environment.

Pulpo: Initially, we all have a tendency to create new creatures according to our own personal style. The aim is then to marry it all together so you get a uniform result, which is what everybody is expecting to see. For the Crocodyls, Zeorus and Kme provided their visions of these monsters and we all shared a lot of ideas before arriving at the result.  We took a few bits from one and some bits from another to come up with the final versions.

These final renders were more refined, with less intricate detail than what we started with. You can very easily identify them all as members of the same family, whether it’s the Crocodyls or the Kannivores.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when creating these creatures?

Pulpo: The Crocodyl’s net. It was really fiddly! You had to think of the animation. Lots of little bits of rope all strung together that needed to be pre-cut first. This was so that the net would really look like a net once it was animated and not like a solid, lifeless mass. The problem was that some ropes had to go in front of the arms and others not... Pretty difficult, basically.

NoSocks: The Crocodyl with the anchor had to be redone so many times and needed quite a lot of attention... We had to get together with the game designers to discuss how they saw things and the type of gameplay they wanted to give it in game. I wanted to have a Crocodyl that looked stupid but psycho at the same time, and in the end we managed to hit on a compromise that fully satisfied all of us, where the Crocodyl looks moronic but tough—you wouldn’t really want to give it a hug.

Whats your favorite monster and why?

Pulpo: Without a doubt the one with the rope around its neck. He really looks stupid and mean! Moreover, I did some of the illustrations for the Devblog.

NoSocks: The one with the anchor. I spent quite a lot of time on it and after four or five attempts and going back and forth with the game designers a few times, I’m really happy with it. I wanted him to look idiotic and obnoxious at the same time. And that’s the result we managed to get finally. His enormous teeth and his muscles make him look completely unhinged and psychotic. I’ll say it again, you really don’t want to mess with him!

If there was a fifth creature in one of these families, what would they look like?

Pulpo: Flying crocs. Imagine crocodiles who are really fat and have really tiny, ridiculous-looking wings. There’s also a crocodile who’s a bit hidden, with his butt stuck in a treasure chest.

Crocodyle concepts. Does this box look better on me?

NoSocks: A family of crabs/hermit crabs whose shell is made from bits of shipwrecked boat. That’s an idea I reused for the Crocodyls. I’d already thought about it when creating the Kannivores. There were half a dozen concepts, here’s an example!

Crab concepts. I have a cannon.

We hope you enjoyed coming with us behind the scenes to take a look at the work of NoSocks, Pulpo and the team; and to hear what they had to say about it too! We would love to hear what you think of the design of the new Moon Island monsters, so please share your thoughts with us!