Dragon's Rise: The Forgotten Realms - ArtStation Challenge

This is my submission to the 2022 ArtStation Community Challenge titled Dragon's Rise: The Forgotten Realms. I think I spent a little too long on the research and ideas stage so there was a big rush to get these finished on time. I'm not happy with the rendering but hopefully the overall concept and ideation might make up for that.

The concept for this world comes from the clash between two real-life conflicting cultures that both have fantastical elements: the Hoodoo and Vodou practices of African American slaves and the magic inherent in them, and the allusions to European fantasy mythology in the organisation of the Ku Klux Klan. For this fantasy world I’m going to draw on these two opposing cultures, exaggerate the magical elements, and take the fantastical references literally - for example, a KKK grand dragon in the real world is an actual dragon here, etc.

The setting is a secret plantation hidden in America's Deep South during the 19th century. It is a realm ruled by the Grand Dragon, a cruel and depraved overlord who powers his nefarious industries with the labour of slaves and under the administration of his sadistic Imperial Wizard, Knights, and hunting Nighthawks. Our hero is an abused slave who seeks help from a Conjure Woman. Through her magic he becomes possessed by a powerful spirit and transforms into The Weevil, a valiant vigilante who protects the oppressed and brings retribution to the oppressor. With the aid of a Black Mamba Wyrm and a charmed Vodou Golem, The Weevil vows to stop the rise of the Grand Dragon before the evil tyrant can establish his dominion over all.

Here is the lineup of the final character and creature designs.

Here is the lineup of the final character and creature designs.

THE WEEVIL - An escaped slave turned vigilante, the hero of our story.

THE WEEVIL - An escaped slave turned vigilante, the hero of our story.

ZORA, THE CONJURE WOMAN - Mentor and guide to The Weevil, she uses her holy magic to put a charm on Geechee the Vodou Golem and to summon the Black Mamba Wyrm.

ZORA, THE CONJURE WOMAN - Mentor and guide to The Weevil, she uses her holy magic to put a charm on Geechee the Vodou Golem and to summon the Black Mamba Wyrm.

GEECHEE, THE VODOU GOLEM - A charmed vodou fetish icon tasked with aiding The Weevil on his quest.

GEECHEE, THE VODOU GOLEM - A charmed vodou fetish icon tasked with aiding The Weevil on his quest.

THE BLACK MAMBA WYRM - A spirit dragon summoned by the Conjure Woman to aid The Weevil on his quest to defeat The Grand Dragon.

THE BLACK MAMBA WYRM - A spirit dragon summoned by the Conjure Woman to aid The Weevil on his quest to defeat The Grand Dragon.

THE GRAND DRAGON - Ruler of the realm and a cruel and depraved overlord who powers his nefarious industries with the labour of slaves.

THE GRAND DRAGON - Ruler of the realm and a cruel and depraved overlord who powers his nefarious industries with the labour of slaves.

IMPERIAL WIZARD - Practitioner of dark magic for the The Grand Dragon's breeding programme, his most successful species being the Nighthawk.

IMPERIAL WIZARD - Practitioner of dark magic for the The Grand Dragon's breeding programme, his most successful species being the Nighthawk.

IMPERIAL KNIGHT - Foot soldiers for the Grand Dragon, the Imperial Knights are responsible for the discipline and torture of slaves.

IMPERIAL KNIGHT - Foot soldiers for the Grand Dragon, the Imperial Knights are responsible for the discipline and torture of slaves.

NIGHTHAWK - Created by The Imperial Wizard, Nighthawks are abominations of the Grand Dragon's breeding programme, designed to hunt down escaped slaves.

NIGHTHAWK - Created by The Imperial Wizard, Nighthawks are abominations of the Grand Dragon's breeding programme, designed to hunt down escaped slaves.

The Weevil sketches and ideation.

The Weevil sketches and ideation.

Zora the Conjure Woman sketches and ideation.

Zora the Conjure Woman sketches and ideation.

Geechee the Vodou Golem sketches and ideation.

Geechee the Vodou Golem sketches and ideation.

The Black Mamba Wyrm sketches and ideation.

The Black Mamba Wyrm sketches and ideation.

The Grand Dragon sketches and ideation.

The Grand Dragon sketches and ideation.

Imperial Wizard sketches and ideation.

Imperial Wizard sketches and ideation.

Imperial Knight sketches and ideation.

Imperial Knight sketches and ideation.

Nighthawk sketches and ideation.

Nighthawk sketches and ideation.