Zhyx’s Lair

The hoard is one of the key characteristics of the classic dragon, the end destination for many great adventures. Zhyx’s opening scene, and the first illustration in the book, depicts  the titular wyrm in his hoard. With the dragon’s design already completed, the hoard had to be equally impressive. Enter Cullen McCurdy and his digital renders.

To aid Joseph Buehrer in his elaborate illustrations, not only were character designs of the creatures prepared beforehand, but also renders of weapons and settings, all done by Cullen. This would give Joe a better idea of how to illustrate each setting, and allow us to move on at a quicker pace. Even now that the project is no longer a graphic novel, these renders prove to be very important for Joe in his work.

The first render depicts the shape of the hoard from the back, a second picture depicting Zhyx in the setting to provide scale. One of the most impressive settings in the story, the hoard is around the size of the average village.

Zhyx Layer 1

Zhyx Layer 1 Scale

Now with the shape hammered out, it was time to provide lighting samples, as well as a variety of angles for Joe to work with in his illustration. The first depicts a few of the hoard from outside with the light filtering in, subtracting the glow generated by the hoard itself.

Zhyx Layer 2

These next two renders depicted the area around the entrance from two separate angles. This provided Joe with a lot to work with in capturing the smallest details in his pictures.

Zhyx Layer 4

Zhyx Layer 5

However, the crown jewel is this one right here, which shows the hoard and chamber in its entirety from an angle very close to where the final illustration will take place. Though it will be shown from a lower angle to capture Zhyx’s size and the dragon will be blocking the light from the nearby cave, this visual of the hoard sums up the entire story very well.

Zhyx Layer 6

The illustration itself is coming along. Though at the moment, greater attention is being given to Zhyx himself, the hoard will play a big part of the picture. Its immensity a reflection of the wyrm, the hoard will be shown in impressive detail, with many shadows and dark patches in the illustration to build on atmosphere and menace. It will show as much of the hoard as it does the dragon.

Zhyx Layer 7

Settings can often play a big part in introducing the audience to a character, and the hoard is no exception. Zhyx has been here a long time, collecting treasure across the centuries. The size of his treasure will make him more imposing.


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