Hey guys SolZen here, I'm bringing you another helpful editorial. I've covered making Ultras, Aliens, Enemies and such, but this time I'm covering Kaiju, or to be more specific how to design them.
Note that this is not meant to be the final say on how to design them, these are just my tips and advice, but there are other ways people design kaiju.
Also note, this blog also talks as if your the reader plan to draw a kaiju.
Combination is Key
When one looks at ancient myths and stories about monsters, they will find that many are like the Chimera, an amalgamtion of two or more other creatures. Even in modern times people have used this technique to design new monsters. A fine example are Asian Dragons whose original designs combined elements of the snake, tiger, deer and other creatures.
There are three main types of bases to remember. Bases are the type of main element used as the primary structure for which the elements of other bases will be added.
- Animal: This is any sort of animal you know of, for aliens a human is almost always the base.
- Machine: Machine parts, robots. It also refers to inorganic things like crystals, metals etc.
- Plants: Planet traits such as vines, leaves, flowers etc.
- Other: Something abstract, or less physical, like fire, water, or even emotions.
There are other bases you can use, such as emotions, natural disasters and celestial bodies but those are abstract.
When the first base has been chosen the second base is used to augment it, for example Alien Magma has a human base, Animal, but has the elements of another Animal a cat while his suit and weapons arms bare the traits of the Machine Base.
Godzilla is a combination of a T-Rex, a human like many Kaiju (dinosaurs don't stand straight up) and a Stegosaurus. 2014 Godzilla is the original design combined with elements of a bear and a Komodo Dragon. Zilla from 98 appears to be a T-Rex crossed with an Iguana....bas-
Now remember, there is not such thing as a truly bad kaiju design, it all depends on what the monster is to do and how effectively it does that. I myself like to design/imagine my Kaiju as having specific purposes for all or most of their physical features.
Many Ultra Kaiju are examples of designs using multiple bases, the trick however is decide what elements to bring over and where to put them.
Main Body Types
An alternative route is to take a body type and add elements of the bases. Note that there possibly other body types I have forgotten, so don't limit your self to just these.
Basically a human like posture/shape, (features and traits don't matter)
Similar to Humanoid but more Saurian, for example a tail. The body shape is more similar to a bear standing up than to a human. Both it and Humanoid fall under the larger category of Bipedal (two-legged)
Think Hanejiro from Ultraman Dyna or to be more accurate Pickachu from Pokemon. They are small, wide eyed, often having small hands or bodies similar to rodents like mice or hamster and (as the name would suggest) they are cute. Not all Kaiju are giants, hence the word Daikaiju (Giant Monster).
These Kaiju all walk about on all fours, a fine example is Anguirus (if you don't know who that is...)
Now this is a bit trickier as there are multiple types of insects. There are catepillar and moth/butterfly insects (Ala Mothra), Ant like Insects and Praying Mantis style etc.
Long Story short, think Squids and Octopi
Fish, boats, other mechanical objects, so on and so forth, whatever your imagination can come up with.
- Slit Pupils: These eyes are best for when you want your creature to not be sentient but convey a sort of animal cunning/emotion. They make the creature beast like but still able to show emotion.
- Round/Human Like: These are best when you want to convey some emotion in your kaiju, show that they have a heart, pure or all black. They also help when you want to make it cute.
- No Pupil: Eyes without Pupils are best used when you want to portray your kaiju as an unsympathetic creature, a creature with which the viewer/reader and human characters cannot hope to understand. Often times a creature without emotion, a killing machine.
- Furry: The length depends on the creature's natural climate
- Long Fur: a variation of above ,USUALLY used on artic based creatures.
- Fish Scales: Usually Marine lifeforms
- Warty Skin: Amphibians or you just want the creature to look ugly.
- Multiple Skin tones/colors: It is not uncommon to have a creature with let's say a hard scally back and a soft under belly.
- Scales: Scales make a good excuse for a kaiju's resistence to conventional weaponry, they often overlap like armor or they can repel missiles and/or beams.
- Feathers: For the avian kaiju.
- Classic: The king of feet seen since Godzilla
- Anteater Like: Long claws/digits made entirely of bone
- Bone Clawed Legs: Similar to the above but with feet.
- Wing Mounted Claws: Small little hands on Pteradon/Bat like wings.
- Humanoid Hands: Humanoid only in shape, they can still have claws and such.
- Insect: Various but the usually one is spider legs, or a chitin covered legs with two to three digits.
- Reverse Jointed: Like a satyr or a dog's/cat's back jegs. These imply your creature is a runner.
- Monkey Hnads/feet: No explanation needed
- Sectional Amor: Bones plates that provide extra protection.
- Chitin Armor: Insect exoskeletons
- Chrome Armor: Metal armor
- Leathery Armor: Dull natural armor
- Spikes: Usually on the creature's back and/or armor. A natural defense
- Saurian Fin: Like a fish fin but more associated with Dinosaurs.
- Hairy Spines: Similar to spikes but they are generally in patches
- Bone Plates: Ala Godzilla. They are usually used to show that something is old, your respect the classics or they came from the sea.
- Bone Spurs: Serve similar a purpose to Spines and Spikes.
Types of Wings
- Bat Wings: Attached to the creature's arms or taking their place. They can also be on other spots
- Bird Wings: Usually feather covered, similar to bat wings, they also be in other spots.
- Insect Wings: Mosquito like wings that flap at incredible speeds.
- Butterfly Wings: More Majestic and easier to see.
- Energy Wings: Usually coming out of the shoulder, these types of wings are primarily seen on cyborg/robot kaiju or, to show that a kaiju is incredibly powerful.
- Tentacles: Yeah, tentacles, what else is there to say?
- Gills: Usually for marine or amphibian creatures.
- LED: Sometimes you can have parts of your monster light up when they are about to attack.
Now this is something you don't really need to go into too much detail if you don't want to but it helps to remember them when your Kaiju is having a battle. Internal design is basically designing their internal biology for one reason and one reason at all, their powers. While you can just list their powers and abilities, to cover plot hole it' helps if you taken note of your creatures strength, weaknesses, traits and even anatomy. Of course mechanical/robot Kaiju, that's easier said then done and you may just want to remember where all the weapons are (by 'remember' I mean put them down on their page.
Remember, no one is going to penalize you for not doing this, it is purely your choice.
One last bit of advice before you go, I know that it is a common saying among Ultra Fan and Toku Fans in general that 'Monsters are being that defy logic/sense' but when you are designing Kaiju, remember that all the features should make sense. It would be weird if a made a King Kong like Kaiju...that lives in the desert, or a squid that roams snow covered mountains without adding some feature that explains how and why they live there. Just saying...