Group Info Group Founded 11 Years ago 110 Members
129,910 Pageviews1,118 Watchers


Journal Entry: Mon May 3, 2010, 8:31 PM

Welcome to our periodic spotlight feature where we take a look at the concept art and design of a game or film. The intent here is to get the creative juices flowing, remind people what's out there and what's being done, and to not lose sight of the quality of professional work. We can also discuss what works and maybe what doesn't, what you dig, or what you DONT dig.


Game: Halo…
Release Date: 15 November 2001
Company: Bungie Studios
Art Director: Marcus Lehto

Master Chief. Cortana. Grunts. Elites. Covenant... Warthogs. These are all things that will forever be burned into our minds as the green space marine with the orange visor, the naked purple AI chick with numbers running up her body, the squealing cannon fodder at our feet, the stalwart 4-part-mandible aliens, the purple dolphin-like spaceships, and the most badass green ATV ever with a bullet spewing chain gun mounted on the back. These are the things that define a series of awesome games that we call: Halo.

I am PLEASED to say we are back online! Thank you for your patience. And what better way to revive this group than with some amazing concept art from the most popular first person shooter of all time. Coincidentally, TODAY is also the launch of the Halo: Reach Beta - so if you own ODST then stop reading this right now and go try it out!

Alright guys, so here go. The following article contains artwork from the entire Halo series - Halo: Combat Evolved (2001), Halo 2 (2004), Halo 3 (2008), Halo 3: ODST (2009), and Halo: Reach (2010). Some of the art is also from the doomed Halo projects from Ensemble Studios and Peter Jackson's Halo Universe. If you are part of my generation, then you know that Halo is one of the most defining franchises of our time. The premise is simple: In the year 2552, humanity fights for survival against an alien race that calls itself the Covenant - an assimilation of various alien species hell-bent on destroying the human race. A team of super elite soldiers, the SPARTAN-IIs, kidnapped as children and forced to undergo brutal military training, genetically augmented, and armed to the teeth in the most sophisticated power suit of the time, are (really) all that stand in their way. The Spartans are revered by the rest of humanity and retain an almost legendary status. The UNSC (United Nations Space Command) decreed that  Spartans never be marked as Killed In Action but Missing In Action, in order to give the illusion that Spartans never die.

So we begin with the man that makes it all happen: Master Chief. The Chief is the squad leader of the SPARTAN-IIs. He is the best of the best of the best... and then a bit better.  Bungie concept artist Eddie Smith describes the Master Chief as "pretty much the consummate professional. He does his job, walks off, doesn't even get the girl, he's that cool he doesn't need her."That's right, he doesn't. The Chief basks in his own awesomeness and that's all he needs (aside from something to kill). But take a look at the very first Master Chief concept sketches ever:

They might actually make you giggle. Because by now you KNOW how the FINAL design of the Chief looks, these innocent first stabs seem somewhat underpowered. But what tells you that? Do these first two sketches SAY "underpowered"? Or do they only SAY "underpowered" when compared to the FINAL design? Well, let's do a mind experiment. Lets go back in time to before Halo was made, and the lead designer has asked you and your team to create the MOST badass futuristic super-soldier ever made. One of the artists scribbles out these two drawings above and says this is it. What would you say? Is it the right answer? Does it address all the needs of the character? Could there be a better answer? The first thing to consider is how it makes you feel in that immediate reaction to the artwork. He seems a bit soft... a little too rounded, as if he were a kids toy, and not enough edge and violence to him. Like, does that gun fire bullets or Play-Doh? Part of this is indeed because of the linework - all curves and no straights. There is nothing firm about him. The other thing is his proportion. The average human stands at about seven or seven and a half heads tall - right now these two sketches are below 6 heads, which gives him a somewhat cartoony and unimposing demeanour. So how would you tackle this same question? What would you change to make him the Chief that Chief needs to be?

Fast forward a bit, and Shikai Wang has joined the concept team and reworks the ideas of the initial drawings. Right off the bat, we are now at seven heads tall and already he feels a bit more serious. His muscles have been beefed up, and his shoulders look a bit broader (or his head smaller). There is still a rounded quality to the lines but it's feeling much stronger. Marcus Lehto, Art Director, remarks:

"The Master Chief design sketch that really took hold came after heavy collaboration with Shikai. One of his sketches - this kind of manga-influenced piece, with ammo bandoliers across his chest, and a big bladed weapon on his back - really caught our imagination. Unfortunately, when we got that version into model form, he looked a little too slender, almost effeminate. So, I took the design and tried to make it look more like a modern tank. That's how we got to the Master Chief that appears in the game."

And that, my friends, is a great example of the PROCESS of concept design. It's all about doing hundreds of iterations, and each time you are getting closer and closer to the ONE. You aren't always trying to make fantastic illustrations that you pin up on your wall. Instead you are quickly brainstorming ideas and shapes, textures, and attitudes. You are trying to FIND the character. They say, get something down - anything down - no matter what, because it's hard to improve on NOTHING. Master Chief never speaks during player-controlled gameplay, making him an almost silent protagonist. This means that his essence had to be communicated mainly through visual design alone. It's hard to imagine just how many drawings of Master Chief were done before the Bungie team decided on ONE.

But what is a hero without a foe? The Covenant consists of several alien races who humans have named Elites, Grunts, Jackals, Hunters, Brutes, and Prophets. Elites are the primary warrior class of the Covenant - relentless, merciless, and fearless. Elites possess energy shields, and fight with a variety of energy and hand-to-hand weapons. Their rank can be determined by the colour of their armour: Gold-armoured Elites are field commanders; black armor denotes a commando or "special ops" role; red armor indicates a veteran (the equivalent of a sergeant or other noncom); and blue armor indicates a low-ranking "rookie."

"Jason Jones always wanted to put a tail on the Elite," explains Shikai Wang. "That became the source of a lot of debate. I felt it made the alien look too 'animalistic,' rather than a sentient, technologically enhanced creature. Plus, we would've had to figure out where to put his tail when an Elite sat in a vehicle. At one point, we considered just having the Elites tuck their tails forward, between their legs, but abandoned that... for obvious reasons." The grunts breathe methane and wear sealed environment suits to contain suitable atmosphere.

Although Chief is a one man army, he is also an exceptional team player. The loyal incidental marines that follow you on your missions are there to remind you who you are fighting to save. They are there to be used and lost. An elite group of marines called ODSTs (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) feature sparingly in earlier Halo games, but because of their badassness they were given a game of their own in Halo 3: ODST. If you've read the Halo novels, you will know that ODSTs are extremely hostile men and women - so violent and blood thirsty that they would attack even their own if provoked. The helmet design of the ODST is what makes them so cool. The visor advances in a forward protrusion, giving the soldier an intimidating, threatening, powerful presence.

One of the other things that defines Halo is the blend of tight corridor firefights that are shaken up by vast exterior vehicle battles both by land and air. Vehicles play a huge part in Halo, and serve as -really- the main theatre for combat in the Halo experience. The dropship rides. The warthog rushes. The spaceships. In comparing the human tanks and aircraft with that of the Covenant, there is a huge difference in design and aesthetic. Although sleeker and meaner than military vehicles from World War II, the UNSC forces are reminiscent of the chunky, thick armoured green plating of American tanks. In contrast, the covenant use a purple alien metal that is completely foreign to us- their ships are rounded and streamlined for space travel like whales and dolphins underwater. Their technology is more advanced and its functioning parts less obvious.  

All of their vehicles were intentionally designed with insects and beetles in mind, which would explain the rough sheen and sloping humps. The majority of Halo's concept art falls into the 'industrial design' category - vehicles, architecture, and environments. The artists' primary tools are pen and marker - with a little bit of digital colour here and there. There were not many digital paintings done for the earlier games, but there are a few for Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach.

Take a look at some of these silhouettes. Particularly striking and unmistakable is the silhouette of the Covenant Banshee- with hits curved front-heavy head and split wings - it almost looks like some kind of dragonfly.

Although Halo has a wide appeal, as the years went on and games like Gears of War sprung up, players began to feel that the Halo style was too "cartoony". The colours were unrealistic, there wasn't enough gore - players wanted a darker, grittier, more violent depiction of the universe they'd become familiar with. Halo: Reach is supposedly the answer to that call. This game will feature a squad of SPARTAN-IIIs on the human military fortress planet called Reach, as the Covenant armada destroys every human planet on its way to Earth. Unlike the Master Chief's SPARTAN-IIs, these Spartans use customized gear and customized armour. The game, therefore, introduces a new line of weapons that the Spartans have modified themselves. Whether or not Bungie has in fact gone in a darker direction, only time can tell.

I'm looking at these gorgeous environments and cities of the future, and I just think how. HOW? This stuff is so good it makes me cry.. amazing. Amazing artistry. Dark or not, Bungie has developed a unique and interesting style that meets the needs of the game and the story. The shape and design language used for the Covenant seems fresh and is very successful in describing what their race is about from a purely visual standpoint. We live in a world where shooter games spring up every day - and it's extremely challenging to come up with something original without stepping on the toes of everything that has come before. But I think Bungie has done a great job in making something of their own: Master Chief is like the Superman logo of the future.

Here's a cool quote from Bungie concept artist Eddie Smith: "To be an artist is a life experience like no other and is the reason why my world turns and why my heart thumps. I can’t imagine life any other way.  For me, artistic expression is the soul of mankind’s existence and the key to mankind’s survival. Without art, we are nothing more than death in due time, and life without true purpose.

So, do you think you have what it takes to work at Bungie? :P

More Journal Entries

Newest Members



You're not here because you're not logged in
  • :iconkevincanholdapencil:
    Visited here 15 hours and 2 minutes ago
    Isn't a member
  • :icondaianeramos:
    Visited here 2 days ago
    Isn't a member
  • :iconb3n0kle:
    Visited here 1 week ago
    Isn't a member
  • :iconon3nightstan:
    Visited here 1 week and 5 days ago
    Isn't a member
  • :iconevivan:
    Visited here Mar 28, 2021, 8:41:30 AM
    Isn't a member


"Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power. There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years. Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru. Whatever it is you seek, you have to put in the time, the practice, the effort. You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you. And once you have attained it, it is your power. It can't be given away: it resides in you. It is literally the result of your discipline.

Now what is interesting about this process is that, by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands, he has also matured to the point where he won't use it unwisely. So that kind of power has a built-in control. The discipline of getting the power changes you so that you won't abuse it."

-Ian Malcom

Gallery Folders

Speed Paint 28 by sundragon83
Dreadnought Typhon by KaranaK
S.T.A.R.S. by ourlak
14mars_sp1 by ourlak
Character Creature Concepts
Ekotizim by AlexRuizArt
Bercwen (crop) by Aerozopher
Aynbath - The Torn by Aerozopher
Aynbath - The Torn by Aerozopher
Coral village by Up-Tchi
Mountain Magick by Aerozopher
EDEN by Up-Tchi
Shores of Consciousness by AlexRuizArt
Vehicles Ships Mechs
'Year Of The Child' Book Cover Art (Berkey Style) by dustycrosley
John Berkey Tribute #2 by dustycrosley
Interstellar Yacht by dustycrosley
Battletank Factory by KahzeArt
Speed Painting
Source Confirmed by dustycrosley
Flight Tower 387 by dustycrosley
Sci-Fi Pilot by dustycrosley
Rogue One Study by dustycrosley
Life Studies
Paris Street Study 03 by jermilex

Mature Content

Bed Sheet by Kalology
LifeDrawings Fall 09 Renders by frankhong

Mature Content

Aussie by Kalology
Sketch Book
Survival Mode by artozi
Cold White by Tabnir
FA Alien Pistol by chrislazzer
Alien LMG by chrislazzer
Matte Paintings
New Neighbors by Up-Tchi
Zombie's Revenge by wang2dog
Sunrise On Gliese 570AB by dustycrosley
DayZ by SimonWeaner
Tutorials + Process Work
FalloutFusionSniper by MartiniMan1
Playing with Fire -Process by jermilex
Making of the Pirates by Real-SonkeS
speed paint 2012 08 28 ii by torvenius
Weapons Props
Speed painted bullpup weapon by torvenius
Speed painted sci-fi rifle by torvenius
Speed painted sci-fi pistol by torvenius
speed painted bullpup POP by torvenius

Online Art Jams (Updated June 1, 2010)


Most art communities do weekly/monthly art jams and challenges to stimulate participation. Some of them award prizes, but most are simply for the joy of artistic competition and improvement. I will post ALL of the CURRENT art challenges here and keep it up to date.


CGHUB - Overgrowth:… CHOW - The Monarch of CHOW:…

Gnomon Forum - The Descent:…


We are pleased to say we've teamed up with Mecha Designers! As the name implies, this group is dedicated to dA's mechanical/robotic designers and fanatics. Check them out.

Affiliation doesn't really 'do' anything - but it does create some flow between the two parties. These dudes are one of the coolest groups here, and all of us only stood to gain by partnering up.
As KidAtomic says, "it's an expression of our fraternal ties".


"The ONLY thing you have is your own interpretation."
- Marko Djurdjevic



Huge Artist Link List (by Agnidevi!) -

Game Artisans -
Concept Art World -
Concept Art CHOW -…
ImagineFX -
CG Society -
2D Artist Mag -

NUDE Model Reference -
Mayang Textures (Free Textures) -
Human Photo Reference -

Art Center College of Design -
Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art -
Concept Art Atelier -…
Gnomon School -

Massive Black DVD
Gnomon Workshop -

Kotaku (Game News) -


We are artists interested in bringing the worlds of our imagination into yet another world of dreams.








Group Info

Craniopagus; "Fused skulls, but seperate bodies."

For serious artists of Feature Film and Video Game concept art and design. Join the creative enclave as we share work, pool knowledge, geek up, learn, and most of all, bring the beasts of our dreams into the world.
Founded 11 Years ago
Jan 11, 2010


Group Focus
Art Creation

Media Type
Digital Media

110 Members
1,118 Watchers
129,910 Pageviews


Add a Comment:
Dreiks Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
My gave development team is looking for sprite artists to help us out. Would anyone be interested?
If you want to know more about the project take a look at our group here on DA :iconphoenix--dream:
DasGnomo Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
:happybounce: HeartHello, DeviantArtists! I'm deviantARTDasGnomo, the new Community Volunteer of the Design and Interfaces gallery. I'm currently open for DD suggestions in that area and Official Guidelines have been already uploaded to this journal:  Design And Interfaces DD Guidelines💪😎✌️ Powerful hellos to everyone! I'm @DasGnomo and I'm the Design & Interfaces Community Volunteer at @communityrelations, I'm in charge to bring to your awesome attention amazing DeviantART works via: features, articles and Daily Deviations! I'm a humble illustrator and graphic designer from Chile living in the US. I've been working on these areas for 13 years now, I'm happy and honored to have these new responsibilities (thanks to @ekud @Moonbeam13 and @JenFruzz for trusting in me for this). I'll work hard to do my best for the community! I'm extremely grateful in advance for all the DD suggestions you'll be sending me from this day on 🙏 however there are certain objective parameters that I'll take into account at the moment of featuring a Daily Deviation.I can only take suggestions from the Designs & Interfaces gallery and all associated sub-galleries/categories.Make sure that the deviant hasn't already received a Daily Deviation within the past 6 months. FAQ #313:How can I find out if someone already has a Daily Deviation? Please send me ONE note per suggestion/artist/deviationThe artist/designer is still active on DeviantART (must be active for more than 30 days)The piece you are suggesting is not part of an ongoing contest (in such case, you should wait for the contest to end, in order to suggest it)The piece you are suggesting is not infringing DeviantART Copyright PoliciesPlease, let me know if you want to remain anonymous as a suggester; if you don't specify I will assume that you want your name listed on the DD feature.Please only send your suggestion to ONE community volunteer. Here is the list of all the CV's and the galleries they are in charge to feature.You can self suggest (explaining why you deserve to be featured in your note. Also, avoid the spam) and try to give preference to other artists as well.I'll list here some objective characteristics of a DD worthy Design & Interfaces deviation: High QualityOriginality/UniquenessFunctionality/Problem SolvingExcellent use of the basic elements of Design and InterfacesSend me a note with the Title: "DD SUGGESTION" with ONE suggestion only. Don't suggest by comments.Include the deviation's :Thumbcode: in the noteClick SEND. And that's it! 👍I won't necessarily answer to all the DD suggestion notes since sometimes they are too many to keep count, so featuring your suggested DD will remain as a surprise.Any suggested deviation can also be feature in futured journals, being a DD or not. So keep suggesting deviations, please.Remember to check today's Daily Deviations!Fav, comment and share this journal with your friends! 😘

I humbly invite you to check it out, if you got any amazing deviation in mind to be suggested, please send me a note.

Also, I want to invite you all to Mrs-Durden 's "I Challenge You" 2019's edition activity for a chance to win amazing prizes like 1 year core membership, points and more! Get in the "Design and Interfaces" category and you'll be receiving very interesting and great challenges from me! ;D

I Challenge You: 2019 EditionDear all,
The veterans among you may remember a huge challenge competition I first launched back in 2015 called "I Challenge You". The first time around, the premise was that deviants were paired up and would give each other a challenge to be completed within a deadline, for a chance to win a prize as a duo or trio. The second time around, each participant was assigned a Community Volunteer who would give them a challenge to be completed. 
If you're curious, you can go look at the old journals here and here. The second edition blew up almost immediately, if I recall we had around 300-400 sign-ups. Well, it's been years and it's time to bring back this challenge game again! I'll try to make it happen once per year, hence why this is "2019 Edition" ;)
The idea explained in a few wo

I'll be waiting for you all and have an amazing day today! :D Love 
illustraciencia Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Professional Artist
How will be the life and cities in the Earth in the year 2100? Join IllustraFuturs, the new illustration award.
Deadline 09/01/15
Awards: 3 wacom tablets, 15 enrollment in a masterclass at Escola Joso and the participation in a joint exhibition at CosmoCaixa Barcelona. 


Kalology Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Actually.. After checking out the messages I think I might try to put some things in motion to keep this group alive :D

I am looking for one or two writers/concept enthusiasts to write articles similar to the ones I have here! With a small team we could pump out cool documents for discussion just for the hell of it and to remind ourselves of the great things coming out of the minds of other artists.

If you are interested shoot me a Note and we'll talk!
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Kalology Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hi Guys :)

Cool to see this page is still up. If you are wanting an invite I can toss you one for kicks but I no longer maintain the group. I'll leave it up for now - maybe one day it will revive :)
Lonewalker789 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm currently developing a game called PokemonDash. My group here -> [link]

Please come and join the crew!
eXecutex Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'm the 1000th watcher of this group ! How awesome ! :D
stayinwonderland Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, Requested to join a few days ago. Would be great if someone could approve. Thanks :)
ReshiDaVanci Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I will become a Video Game concept artist. But I'm still years for it ^^;
Mind if I join?
Ming1918 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
That's a GREAT group!
Add a Comment: