How to use the creature prompt generator

Join us on social media!
It's been some time since the creature prompt generator was built for Life to Legend. This with the help of Ryan Holt whom I'm still very thankful. And up to today, the creature prompt generator is the most popular page of Life to Legend. But, did you know that you can take these prompts to the next level with the help of some fun tips and ideas? So let's get started!

Hi! My name is Tessa, I’m a Dutch artist, art director, and creative project manager. I love to share my passion for this craft, nature, art and fantasy, and do that by creating this archive and community, alongside my company Tez Art & Design.

Table of Contents (Click to (un)fold)

How to use the creature prompt generator

The creature prompt generator is built to create inspiration, just like any other prompt generator out there. But unlike other prompt generators, this one has a lot of foundational knowledge surrounding it. Not only with the help of a whole lot of articles relevant to creature design but also with the help of this little guide.

Using the creature prompt generator is easy. Just go to the proper page, click on ‘Let’s explore’ and you’re good to go. You get an environment, an action, a feature, and 2 animals you can draw inspiration from.

However, as discussed in this article, just gluing creatures together, also known as a chimera may not always be the best choice. So, how can you create a believable creature design with the help of this creature prompt generator?

  • Limitations are your friend.
  • Thinking outside of the box.
  • What does the environment tell me about the creature?
  • What does the action tell me about the creature?
  • And finally, what does the specific feature tell me about the creature?

Limitations are your friend in creature design

This may sound weird because we’re usually looking to design something new. But when you think about it: You probably ended up here because you were looking for inspiration. It’s not because you can’t find anything fun on the internet or when you zap to Discovery channel. Heck, you can walk into your garden or even on the sidewalk and be inspired.
What this prompt generator is doing is setting limitations. There are simply too many options to draw from, which one are you gonna pick? Most people are simply not able to filter through the huge amount of inspiration that’s out there. It may even drain them. So there you go, by using the creature prompt generator you already tackled the first step of the problem!

Thinking outside of the box makes a well-rounded design

So, why is thinking outside of the box a thing? Well, we’re still trying to create something new. As mentioned before, it’s not desirable to create chimeras (glue one part of a creature to the next like a chimera, mermaid, griffin, or centaur. Okay, if this way is your goal all around: All power to you. It’s creature design after all, so who am I to say what you’re doing is wrong? After all, these creatures are part of the older legends known to modern humankind. But if you want to take that next step: Thinking outside of the box is for you.

Some tips to help you think outside of the box

  • Look for common ground. If your prompt gives you 2 creatures that are bipedal, be inspired by bipedal creatures. On the contrary, if you get a bipedal creature and an aquatic one: Look for animals within the same family or closely related members to see if any of them has any features to them that would make them more suitable to for example an aquatic life. You can then add features of that 3rd creature to your design. Do this until you’re satisfied that you’re looking at something new.
  • You can take the previous tip and look for creatures with the same colors, patterns, textures, and so on and see if they can provide some inspiration. Maybe you won’t be using body parts, but instead, this creature can give you additional inspiration to how the fur or skin of your creature may look or blend into another.
  • If the antelope doesn’t work out for you, look further. Did you know that animals like the Hartebeest, Tsessebe, bushbuck, and many more belong to the antelope family? Have yourself informed about the species, and you will learn something new every time you try. Next time you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • Look for symbiosis, parasitism, mutualism, which species an animal may herd up with, etc. They might give you inspiration and solve an issue you run into or make your design even better than you could ever imagine.
  • Look at the behavior (prompt action) or environment it lives in. What else can you find in such environments? What features do these creatures usually have? And how can you use them to your advantage?

What does the environment tell me about the creature

Environment is a really important clue. If you truly want a creature to fit within a world, you have to take into account the environment. Many species are extremely well adapted to their environments and therefore have unique features that are interesting for your design. The most obvious ones are the differences between terrestrial, aquatic, and avian creatures. Others are warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. Check out the case study for more in-depth information.

Understanding different kinds of habitats will greatly help you when using the creature prompt generator.
Photo by: Tessa Geniets

A little help to spark your curiosity

  • Have a look at the weird animal features archive to get some inspiration.
  • Take into account everything that is required to survive. Lack of water? The animal may be nocturnal, capable of storing water, or capable of covering large distances quickly. Lack of food? The animal may hibernate, have a very diverse diet, or migrate.
  • Even abundance may leave its marks. Animals may reproduce really quickly regardless of the species. Until their food source runs out and the whole food chain collapses in that area. Ask yourself if something could be happening in your scene and what that could mean for your design. Size, body type, and offspring may be a factor. But also how the environment will actually look.

What do the actions of the creature tell me?

This is probably the most obvious one. What does the action of a creature tell me? It may run so it likely has feet. But does it though? What if you’re in a jungle and this running creature is actually some type of monkey that is swinging from branch to branch at eye level? If you’re in a desert though there is no mistaking it. It all boils down to the interpretation of the whole prompt. The creatures you’re using and the environment it is in dictate almost everything about it.

From time to time there may be a conflict in the prompt generator. You can take it as a challenge that should be overcome, but changing up this feature would be one of the least invasive ones if you still want to challenge yourself.

What does the specific feature tell me about the creature?

Like all the other prompts, this one is completely random. It’s an additional challenge to help you deviate from a fairly generic creature design. Like everything else, this feature tells something about your creature and may actually help you narrow down what your design is gonna be like. Bioluminescence, for example, is usually only used by aquatic animals and insects. Look them up and see what they can add to your design. Check out the color range of bio-luminescence and so on! These features are there to help you out and inspire you. Learn all about them and the creatures that may use these features and see how they can help out with your design.

A special thanks

This prompt generator wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Ryan Holt. So don’t forget to check him out too!

We would love to hear from you!

Sign in on Discord to comment and participate, or use the contact form.

Share on social media