Khoddra - Personal Project

For my FMP I was required to create a personal project for myself. I had already somewhat decided that this personal project would be a character sculpt of some kind but I was unsure initially as to what I should create. I knew somewhat that it would be some kind of fantasy character and initially I thought of doing some kind of elf sorceress. But Instead I decided to think outside the box and look towards H.P. Lovecraft's extended Cthulhu mytho's for some inspiration.

It was there I encountered a member of the extended Mytho's "Cthylla" and knew instantly that I wanted to create something inspired by this mysterious octopoid creature. I began to ponder over what a witch or priestess of this creature would look like, a cultist once human now deformed into an alluring yet spooky monster. And so I began to look at octopus and human combinations when I found these sculptures by artist Forest Rogers.

Sculpture by Forest Rogers

Fascinated by this aquatic gorgon-like depiction of the feminine form I decided to design my own creature based off of this concept; and so I ended up with Khoddra, My own Octopoid lady. Khoddra being a 'priestess' of Cthylla is therefore based heavily off the description given of her in the Tina L Jens 1997 novel " In His Daughter's Darkling Womb ". In the book she is described as a giant red octopus-like creature with black rings, six eyes, wings and razor sharp tentacles. Due to this I decided to make Khoddra red bodied with a black ring pattern although I made the pattern feint for fear of it seeming tacky or more snake/reptile-like. She would bear a boided fleshy crown and small spines along some of her tentacles running off her head,

The original very quickly drafted concept of Khoddra

As well as having additional tentacles that wrapped around her arms and legs, the leg tentacles stemming from her tail bone and the arm ones coming from further spikes from her shoulders.

I also wanted her to retain some of her human features thus kept her face and some of her torso relatively fleshy.

When it came to her face I felt like I needed some reference to retain the unearthly yet very human feel I wanted this model to give and so I ended up styling her face around Abbey Lee Kershaw as I felt like she thoroughly depicts a ghostly and ethereal and alien beauty.

Sculpting Khoddra was relatively interesting. Where as her more human aspects of anatomy were relatively straight forward I found myself in a constant balance between stylized and realistic, getting the tentacles to look fluid in their motion was a challenge, albeit a welcomed one. It was certainly fun and interesting to play with and though it is kind of a weird notion; I feel a little more enlightened on tentacle movement. On an interesting side note, whilst learning about octopus anatomy I found out that the octopus's so called tentacles aren't actually true tentacles and are scientifically called arms. But for the sake of differentiating her octopus arms from her humanoid arms I will still continue to call them tentacles in this article. In the end I decided to not sculpt in her stomach scar as I felt it took away from the other aspects of her sculpt and seemed relatively cliche of a horror trope in such an alien and natural/supernatural looking creature.

Retopologising Khoddra was no small task as she had so many off appendages, spiked edges and anatomical elements that required more loops than usual in order to provide fluid movement, as such she is quite a dense model, especially where the tentacles are concerned. And thus she took quite a few days to retopologise cleanly.

My diffuse texturing was done largely in Mari as I feel Mari works well with organic components, especially when texturing realistic human and animal flesh. Whilst texturing I toned down the octopus rings further as I felt it came across as garish and made the rest of the texturing look fake; a feeling I wanted to avoid.

Overall I am pretty pleased with how Khoddra turned out and might try making a creature like this again at some point in the future. Perhaps looking into a creature like a Gorgon or another aquatic based humanoid.

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