Name: Shrimputy & Krillvolver
Moves: Scald, Flame Burst, Smack Down, Bubblebeam, Flamethrower
I’ll start things off by talking about my most recent fakemon designs, Shrimputy and Krillvolver. Like most of my fakes, they are in Pokemon Uranium, found in the underwater routes. I’ll break these types of posts into two parts: the first where I talk about the methodology behind the design and the second where I talk about the sprite itself.
Shrimputy and Krillvolver are based on 3 different things. The first, and primary aspect of their design, is a pistol shrimp:
There’s a reason why the pistol shrimp is so badass. To quote Wikipedia:
The animal snaps a specialized claw shut to create a cavitation bubble that generates acoustic pressures of up to 80 kPa at a distance of 4 cm from the claw. As it extends out from the claw, the bubble reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) and releases a sound reaching 218 decibels. The pressure is strong enough to kill small fish.
The snap can also produce sonoluminescence from the collapsing cavitation bubble. As it collapses, the cavitation bubble reaches temperatures of over 5,000 K (4,700 °C). In comparison, the surface temperature of the sun is estimated to be around 5,800 K (5,500 °C).
It’s a shrimp that literally shoots boiling-hot water out of its claws to stun and kill prey. If that doesn’t sound like a Pokemon, I don’t know what does. It boggles the mind as to why a pistol shrimp Pokemon doesn’t already exist ye–
What’s that, you say? Oh…
Yeah, so, there kind of already is a Pokemon that’s based on a pistol shrimp. And what a cool design it is! Clauncher’s got a relatively simple design using three colors and a distinctive silhouette, and Clawitzer’s got a cool name as well as a badass-looking gigantic claw that can shoot laser beams. I think these are some really solid designs, and I also think it’s a crying shame that they’re a pure-Water type rather than the much more interesting Water/Fire which I used for my shrimps. In my defense, I had this line envisioned before the 6th gen was even released: Shrimputy’s design dates back to an old Pokemon forum RPG, and I liked it too much to just leave it behind.
Besides (and I am getting a bit defensive here), look how many goddamn crab Pokemon there are. Seriously.
(Those last 3 are Cocaran, Cararalm, and Cocancer, the other crab Pokemon found in Uranium. And uh, I guess Dwebble and Crustle are in there too. You could have half your team be crabs, if you wanted to. Nothing is stopping you.)
*cough* Anyway, knowing that I needed to tweak my pistol shrimp’s design to set it apart from Clauncher and Clawitzer, I did what I often do: pulled in other influences.
The mantis shrimp I mostly just included because of the pretty colors. Pretty and deadly: these guys are one of the crucial predators in their ecosystems, and have a similar kind of bullet-punch type deal like the pistol shrimp does. These guys will mess you up! The Oatmeal does a great job of explaining what makes these guys so awesome.
There’s a reason that Shrimputy and Krillvolver look like they’re wearing cowboy hats: because, in addition to being shrimps, they are also cowboys. Here was my thought process: Pistol shrimp -> Who uses pistols? -> Cowboys use pistols -> Cowboy shrimp. In the end, I’m sorry I couldn’t get more “cowboy” into Krillvolver’s design, beyond the ten-gallon hat. I wanted to work a sheriff’s star into their design, but I couldn’t fit it in on a small pixel scale so I had to give it up.
Rest assured, though, these guys are the underwater police, and you won’t find a quicker draw anywhere in the seven seas.
Now that I’ve explained my thought process behind the gun-shrimp-cowboys, I’ll move on to the technical process behind the artwork:
Let’s look at these again, but at a 2x zoom this time.
Would you believe that guns, swords, and other weapons are my least favorite things to pixel? I had to look up lots and lots of references to get Krillvolver’s gun to look like anything close to a real gun, while still keeping in mind that it’s a crab claw, too. In the end, I reached the sort of compromise you can see here, and I used all of the colors in its design to designate the different parts of the gun (handle, barrel, trigger, bullet chamber, and the thingy on top).
Like almost all of my sprites, I started with a sketch:
Some details were changed between the sketch and the final product, including the whiskers (which were simplified to allow for more detail on the gun) and the number of legs. Shrimputy is also missing some details in the sketch, because I drew it from memory, but the sprite was already basically finished at that point. I should probably note that this was around my 4th or 5th draft of Krillvolver’s design, and the first one that I was mostly satisfied with.
Now, let’s talk color. Shrimputy has 3 main colors: pink, teal, and brown. It also has the darker blue on its back and the metallic grey on the barrel of the gun. This is less than ideal, honestly: I think that first-stage Pokemon should have a maximum of 4 colors, tops. 3 is ideal.
Comparatively, Krillvolver actually has even fewer colors. In fact, it only has a total of 10:
These are all the colors that I used in its sprite. Note how they blend into each other: the dark purple is shared between the red and yellow shades. Now, there’s no actual reason for me to limit my palette, since Uranium’s engine allows for any number of colors on a sprite. It’s more of a stylistic choice: I like to do the most with the fewest colors possible when it comes to my pixel art. The fact that a colorful creature such as a mantis shrimp can be represented with this few colors feels, in my book, like a success.
On the flip side, you may notice that it’s somewhat lacking in shading. That’s because I couldn’t really find a way to get shading to work without adding several new shades of color. In the end, I decided to add in a significant amount of detail in order to distract from the lack of shading on the carapace. You didn’t even notice, right? I’m not lazy or anything. Ha ha. Right. That would be ridiculous.
…So, yeah, that’s about all I have to say about these cowboy shrimp. If you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Next time, I’ll most likely post about my fakemon design process in a more general sense.
Until then, have a great day, and thank you for reading!