First art of 2013! Woo!
My half of an art trade with Hush-a-bye. Rather than have me draw one of their existing characters, they asked that I make them a monster based on the keywords "bovid, primitive, maned, aquatic, and scaled." This is what I came up with.
Looked at a lot of basal bovids, especially in the subfamily bovinae. The saola and sitatunga were the two main ones I used. Sitatunga actually have those wicked long hooves, all the better to walk around in the marshlands. Looked at various members of the pangolin family for the scales, who are also excellent swimmers. I also imagined that this beastie could stand on it's hind legs like a pangolin can, and maybe even run for short distances, back parallel to the ground, on just two feet. The tail is meant to be like an otters, to aid in swimming. The very bottom right diagram is how I imagine it stays underwater, and I definitely got the inspiration from the water chevrotain, specifically this video, which demonstrates how the chevrotain crawls along the bottom of the river by digging it's hooves into the rocks. Would make a pretty good ambush predator, eh? Gave it a nictating eyelid too, for when it's underwater. And rather than go for a normal horse mane or lion mane, I went for a kind of half mane on the bottom half only, as I really wanted to steer clear from the whole kirin design. It has preorbital glands, but I dunno if they just secrete pheromones or something else, I just think they're cool lol. And last but not least, the mouth, which has to be my favorite feature of the entire monster. Only 12 teeth on top, 6 "molars" on either side; yup, no front teeth! Just a hard gum plate, like a lot of bovids have. The bottom jaw has 12 "molars", two oversized canine teeth that have become tusks, and 6 incisors at the front of the mouth.
So yeah! Was thinking about adding blue edges/trim to some of the scales, especially on the hips and tail, but I couldn't figure out how to make it look good, so I left it off. I think it looks alright with the more natural color scheme though, eh?
Of course, Hush is welcome to change anything they like about this design! It's theirs now, and I hope they enjoy it
Design (c)Hilary Francis
Character (c) Hush-a-bye (FA: [link]