The design of the character of Citch can best be described as a lucky accident. The character was loosely based on the notorious William Calley, the man behind the tragic massacre of the village of Mi Lai. One of the most fearless and ruthless villains in the story, Citch is a clear cut psychopath who rarely shows any emotion outside of his own desire for survival and power. He was also originally written as human. The idea of him being a creature was the furthest thing from my mind.
This was quickly corrected by David Spada.
Some of David’s earliest design work was for the character of Assylyl. In these early concept sketches, nothing worked for that character, but the design on the lower right hand corner looked intriguing.
The idea came that while that design was not appropriate for Assylyl, it could work for another. Why not the mysterious Citch? This would greatly diversify the cast of characters and render Citch instantly recognizable.
Some time later, David put forth the usual test heads to composite together. After the initial design, the eyes were removed and the mouth was designed much closer to a horse’s skull. A combination of the horns on E and G was later selected.
David’s first sketch of the body was very similar to some elements that would later go into the final design for Assylyl, mainly in a quasi bio mechanical look with the external rib cage and the subtle spike like fin running down the back. While a good design, it didn’t show much variety between the two characters, so in a painful decision, it was decided to build the body up from scratch.
Citch was to look like a traditional movie monster, something that if done practically, could be pulled off by an actor in a suit. That made settling on a biped creature easy. Based mainly off of demons, it was decided to keep his form, at least, pretty close to human.
Not a lot that either of us liked as in C, but the front of the body seen in A was close to what we were looking for. Also, the legs of B, though they are very traditional with clawed feet, looked appropriate. There is also some consideration currently being given to including the small tale in design B.
To help spice up the character’s look, some hair was given to his back, as seen here in this test sketch. This would later be carried over into the final design.
In this semi-final composite, a final look for the body from the front was perfected. It incorporates some of the earlier bio mechanical elements, but mainly draws influence from old paintings and statues of gargoyles and demons. Showcasing elements that are both reptilian and mammalian, Citch becomes a hard creature to categorize on a visual level. He has scales, but also fur. Even his horns are more akin to a goat than a large lizard, and his horse like teeth make his face oddly skeletal.
In order to give Citch a little more visual character, David and I discussed the idea of giving the bizarre creature a few scars to show. In one section of the book, he recollects a run in with a young warrior who detonated themselves in an attempt to take Citch with them. Though the half burned off face is a cliche, it is a quick way to show someone’s history in combat. The result was making Citch look even more grotesque than he already did, more than appropriate for the new general.
Citch does speak on a regular basis, though his lack of lips present somewhat of a problem. After some brainstorming, David and I hatched the idea that he would not talk from his mouth, but rather from inside his throat through a mouth like collection of muscles and tissue. The odd orifice would be visible if he opened his mouth wide enough. That piece has yet to be drawn up.
After letting this work sit for a while, we returned to the character of Citch deciding to completely re-design him, further removing him from some of the earlier visages of Assylyl. The first order of business was to re-shape the horns the horns and tweak the face. The first sketch was this one here, showcasing the new design for the horns. His throat was also given loose skin to better represent his odd speaking ability written of in the text.
Below is the final design of the body. The end result bears very little resemblance to the earlier sketches, now appearing more amphibian than reptilian. The hairy mane was added to the final composite, with clumps of hair and fur also found on Citch’s shoulder and arms. Spikes were also added inside the mane to give it a more lethal appearance. Lastly, the four fingered hand was switched out for a six fingered hand, each digit sporting jagged claws to make Citch all the more imposing.
There may be some alternate angles and sketches in the future, but for the time being, both David and myself are very satisfied with this design. Another winner from our monster master.