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Tangeraffe, Gnolcano, and Amoebaer

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By Quanyails   |   Watch
Published: September 23, 2018
© 2018 - 2020 Quanyails
("Amoebaer" is really meant to be "Amoebär", but dA's title system does not allow for the "ä" character.)


Gosh, this is going to be a big write-up! These are my submissions for Smogon's 25th Create-a-Pokemon Project, which had the framework of creating an entire starter trio. Competitively, we ended up making:
  • A Grass/Electric Galvanize specialized Pokemon
  • A Fire/Ground Technician offensive Pokemon
  • A Water/Bug Poison Heal defensive Pokemon
So I made a punk-styled giraffe, an old man hyena, and a water bear!

To design three Pokemon within the limited amount of time, I used my old cel-shaded style, instead of painting the 'mons in.


I started with the Water/Bug 'mon, since that was the 'mon I had the clearest idea of what to do, even before ability was decided. A Water/Bug defensive Pokemon starter called out for a tardigrade! Tardigrades are colloquially called "water bears". They're great as a concept, as:
  • As they are "water" bears, they fit a Water-type Pokemon.
  • As they are microanimals with many legs, they fit a Bug-type Pokemon.
  • As they are water "bears", they fit how starters are animals.
Now, I already had a tardigrade fakemon from way back in 2011, which was helpful as a jumping-off point. I took inspiration from Steven Universe's tardigrade monster design in making the body look like it's actually water. I had the blobby body and limbs in mind, as well as the claws and spikes on its tail. However, the face was something I got stuck on early. A lot of Bug-type Pokemon have beady eyes/compound eyes/etc, and almost all Bug-type Pokemon have mandibles/fangs/no mouth/etc. which put most designs at odds against more cartoonish faces. It was hard balancing a cartoony face with that of a starter. I ended up using eyes similar to Meganium's or Goodra's, and making a mammalian mouth with large, insect-like fangs. I also gave it antennae for extra bugginess, and because both Meganium and Goodra have them. :) I gave it a coat across the back after being inspired by Reiga's nudibranch and Pipochi's snail, and as a hint to a "royal" design.

The shading was pretty complicated. :P You've got the water transparency effect, blobs inside of the water, as well as regular highlights and shadows. It was a pain to manage, and it still doesn't make sense, but I think it works. :P


Next up was Grass! I thought about Grass early on. I had a Grass/Electric fakemon from back in 2011 based on dendrites. Dendrites are cool for Grass/Electric because they make up an organism's nervous system, and they look like and are named after trees. A raw dendrite wouldn't fit a starter, though! I then incorporated a giraffe, as:
  • They are herbivores, which is common for Grass-type Poekmon.
  • They are long, skinny, and yellow, which fits Electric-type Pokemon.
  • They are a common, recognizable animal, which fits a starter.
The problem is that even though a giraffe with dendrites sounded cool in theory, it looked goofy as a design. It was then I decided to scrap dendrites, as giraffes by itself were a great fit for Grass/Electric, anyway. I kept the "legwarmers" from the dendrite design and then made it more majestic. I used the negative space between a giraffe's spots as the electric bolt, and I added more grassy features. However, I felt like the design was too "basic" and needed more personality to it. I dug around for a while trying to find an additional theme. Some of the other ideas I tried were:
  • A cartoony, Dr. Seuss-like creature.
  • A giraffe that was stretched horizontally instead of vertically.
  • An electric guitar, given Galvanize as its ability and guitars' long necks.
The electric guitar design was too artificial for a starter, but it was a great jumping-off point for a punk aesthetic!

The giraffe's mane became a mohawk, the long eyelashes became eyeshadow, the neck flower became a high collar, the legs and the tufts on the legs became baggy clothes, and the hooves became heels. Then with the possibility of Galvanize + sound moves in movepool, I drew additional inspiration from Angel's Trumpets, a flower with five petals. I then incorporated five-pointed figures into the rest of the design as a musician's "star power". Add a few more five-pointed spots around the design and you have a punk giraffe!


I worked on the Fire-type design after the Pokemon's competitive ability was decided. I was inspired by wadusher0's flame dog and StephXPM's mad scientist baboon. I thought a hyena was a good way to go about this starter. :)
  • Hyenas have orange manes across their back, which was great to exaggerate into a flaming mane.
  • Spotted hyenas are brown and spotted, which gives a design a "dirty" appearance
  • Hyenas are familiar animals, which fits a starter.
  • Technician + Bone Rush/Bonemerang were possible options, so a scavenger like a hyena was good flavor.
I exaggerated the mane until it was a hunched-over back. From there, it was natural to give the design a ratty, Igor-type character. :) I wanted to push the design more, though. I ended up giving it a physical bone as a walking stick, and revised the character from Igor to that of a crazy old man. Then I dropped the "crazy" part and made him grumpy instead, because it was more befitting a starter. :)


I give thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on the Smogon Discord server! They were AMAZING with giving feedback and direction on designs, and I definitely could not have gotten where these designs are without their help! The list of people who helped along the way is HUGE.

Thank you to: Birkal, Darquezze306, Divinity, DrapionSwing, FriesforNapkins, Frostbiyt, Galvanatic, G-Luke, Golurkyourself, Jordy, Kyrads, Magistrum, Mova, Nemmy, paintseagull, Pipotchi, Plazzap, QxC4eva, Reiga, Reviloja753, ShunosaurusLii, SHSP, spooktune, StephanXPM, Violet, Warren685, wulfanator72, Yilx, and Zephias!

I (barely) made it to the second poll with all three designs, and only the old man hyena made it to the third round. It was eliminated in third place. I give thanks to everyone who supported me. :D

From there, I whipped up names for this trio. "Tangeraffe" stems from "tangerine" + "giraffe", "Gnolcano" originates from "gnoll" + "volcano", and "Amoebär" draws from "amoeba" + "Bär".

Special shout-out to ShunosaurusLii's suggestion of "Grandpaw" for old man hyena's name. I love it, but I agree that it's a tad too on the nose for a starter.


Full progression posts and supporting art can be found within these threads!
Miscellaneous progress pics:




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anonymous's avatar
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AnthonVenor's avatar
AnthonVenorHobbyist Traditional Artist
That's really cool!
Involuntary-Twitch's avatar
Involuntary-TwitchHobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! I'm totally in love with these designs. Like how CAP decided to do a Starter Pokemon trio this time around. Even if they don't win, they're really cool and creative. Great work!
neoashuron's avatar
neoashuronHobbyist General Artist
Wowwowowowow! Amazing designs, i love all of thems! :squee:
BrassDragon's avatar
BrassDragonHobbyist Traditional Artist
These are splendid designs! Not only are they eye-pleasing, they're also perfectly in line with Pokemon, to the point that I thought they were official designs. I'd love to carch them all. :)

~ Brass
FireflyRainbow's avatar
FireflyRainbowHobbyist Digital Artist
They are sooooooooo cute! I like the Tangeraffe the most! How its standing is so elegant! I love your work!
GhostDragonite123's avatar
I would choose all of them! But I like Amoebear the most. Good job! ♥️ that art
Quanyails's avatar
QuanyailsHobbyist Digital Artist
Aw, thanks. :D
dragonsans101's avatar
SCDifference's avatar
SCDifferenceHobbyist Digital Artist
oh they're all lovely
Quanyails's avatar
QuanyailsHobbyist Digital Artist
Mos! Heart 
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