Monster Artist Spotlight – Creature Designer Michael Eppinette

Monster Artist Spotlight – Creature Designer Michael Eppinette


(electronic music) – Hi my name is
Michael Eppinette, I am 18 years old and I
am from Conroe, Texas. I’ve loved concept design,
creatures, monsters, the works. And, I draw what’s in my
head, put it down on paper. I’ve really been drawing ever
since I could hold a pencil. I really got serious
about it though probably around seventh grade. That’s when I really stopped
just drawing something and actually taking
the time to design it. First I would start with
thumbnails, small drawings, kinda sketch a bit, then once
I know what I’m looking at I’d go to a real drawing
and actually lay it out. Granted on 8 1/2
by 11 copy paper. Just what looks good,
really, what looks natural, using lots of reference
instead of just straight from your
head cause really the best reference is photos. Out in the world there you
can really see the forms and as I started to get an idea of these three
dimensional forms, the concepts started maturing. Once I knew what a jaw muscle is and how it anchors to the
back of the head and how, how they work and the more
creatures I saw in movies and the more inspiration
I drew from real life, the more mature the designs got. This is something
I made when I was around 13 years old,
this is a tortugaran. This is something I created
when I was ten years old, this is the five-eyed bear dog. And this is a commission I got
my junior year of high school and he said make a Viking and
then I drew this cool Viking and he was like, wait a second, this could use a
giant serpent monster. And I really wanted to mess
with some texture qualities and wrinkles and I love
the white pencil technique of some of the concept
artists I like, so, I don’t know I drew this thing, I guess it’s kinda chupacabra-y. This guy is a concept for
a short film idea I had my junior year of high school. He’s, uh, The Alien Astronaut. The Goblinoid, I
was on an orc kick, kinda Lord of the
Rings type stuff. This guy’s got a bit of a story. Taking a vacation to
Chicago, and I only brought one sketch book with
me, and I realized that I only had one clean
sheet of paper left. So I spent the vacation just
really working on one drawing so this guy’s just
a big wrinkly demon. This is one of my concepts when I was on a Greek
mythology phase. And that was one of the
dark characters that I had come up with in this film
I wanna make called Orpheus. This is Xaga. This is the kaiju
that I made for the Stan Winston School
kaiju design contest. This is one of my biggest
design efforts I’ve had. There was a really
long design process. I was just trying
to get it right because I knew this was
gonna be based on likes, so I wanted to incorporate
the old classic kaiju features cause
I knew people will be kinda looking for
that, you know? At the same time I wanted
to incorporate some of those cool new Pacific Rim
aesthetics into it. I really like the idea of
hell and sulfur and brimstone, so I wanted to communicate
that with the bright yellow. The idea was that he came
and these sulfur miners working in their
nasty, stinking mines, all the sudden the
earth starts rumbling and the yellow dusty
earth cracks and bleeds since melted brimstone
looks like blood and from a boiling red
and orange pit comes this disgusting,
stinking, massive beast dripping from every
one of his mouths this putrid slime, ready
to devastate everyone. I spent about a
month just working on it trying to get
the right shapes. Some gorilla reference,
scorpion reference, Alien reference, I mean come
on now Xenomorph mouths there, human reference definitely,
I love human elements in design just because
they make it that much more relatable
almost, you know? It was a crazed effort to
get that thing to the top. Because it was based on likes
and a couple of the artists have pages of
followers, you know? And here I am, 17 year
old Conroe kid (laughs). My parents jumped on
sharing the picture, sharing the link,
and oh my goodness. It was great because
I was actually driving to Chicago at the time, so we were in the car
everyone like sharing, screaming like oh
he’s ten ahead! Oh I’m ten ahead,
oh he’s 50 ahead, oh no how are we gonna
get that lead back? So, yeah. The first time I saw the
big kaiju Xaga printed out on the floor huge it was
like whoa, this is happening. It was the first concrete
moment and it was live and oh my goodness and
every moment of it, it was getting more
real and more real. And then I see Ian
Hunter, sign up for the ten day web course
How to Build a Miniature City, and I thought to
myself, they’re having an entire other class for
the monsters to battle in? Granted like that’s
an amazing skill to put that city
together, you know? And at the same time I’m
thinking this is a big effort! I’m part of a big
effort, this is crazy! So, that was another
defining moment where it just got that much more real. Oh my goodness. Walking up there is like
walking into my own brain, where I imagined this
creature chopping cities off like, the building’s
gonna come crashing apart. This is a way
bigger effort than I ever imagined it would be. My biggest dream is I
wanna be a movie director. These creature designs, I
do my best to draw them, but these ideas I have in my
head are moving, they’re alive, they take shape and
form and behaviors that is fun to
express in drawings and I really hope to
develop that skill but at the same time
in a cinematic form, these things will come to life. I just, my brain is
boiling with things I want to put on the big screen, just idea after idea after idea and they’re all alive
and there and moving. It hadn’t sunk in yet and
now it’s starting to sink in, that this is happening,
this is a reality, that my career could happen. – [Interviewer] How
does that make you feel? (laughs) – [Michael] Passion,
passion leads to practice, practice leads to skill,
so if you have the passion, you’re doing it every
day, you’re developing it, you are maturing
your skill, you are making something
from nothing, that’s when it all comes together.


51 thoughts on “Monster Artist Spotlight – Creature Designer Michael Eppinette

  1. yup, i teared up… seeing such a compassionate, enthusiastic young man living his dream 🙂 cherish this youngster SWS 😉 xo   

  2. I love this project an I wish I had the money to watch it happen. I'm a huge kaiju fan and am really excited see this film, but does anyone know when it's releseaing?

  3. these days kids have ipads to draw on and soon there will be more drawing tablets that are actually affordable like surface pro 3. the kids who grow up will be amazing artist in the future. 

  4. Whit this kid i realized that i've been wasting half my life, i should do the same, i should practice more everyday but videogames and a lot of stupid things are taking my dream away. At least this video gave me that mindset again. No more waste of time

  5. What a lucky guys, and such talent. He's going to go far with the amount of commitment he's put into his work. I'm excited.

  6. This is pretty awesome. As a fellow artists, though I am no where on the level as Mr. Eppinette, I am support this project. Also, that suit looks awesome.

  7. As a 21 yo artist ( more in the tattoo style but interested in cocept art etc) this kid is fucking awesome, and he is so pumped about his art! good on you mate

  8. This is the type of creative passion all artists should have.
    Being fortunate enough to have watched the entire Webcourse on building the Kaijus, it was mind-blowing with the entire crew and seeing William Byran and Ted work together.

    Bravo to the entire SWSCA, and to Michael for following your passion, and to an even better future to come in building monsters.

    -Connor Asher

  9. I'm always torn when I see someone who's younger than me that's a way better artist than I am. On the one hand, it shows that, if he can do it, I can definitely achieve that if I put my mind to it. On the other, well, he's way better than me.
    Let's go ahead and focus on the former….

  10. This kid is wonderful! I was exactly like this and I managed to keep the passion burning to this very day! He is a great artist and one can only hope for him to stay determined and passionate about the things he loves. Dreams are precious things for not all have them. Good luck Michael!

  11. You can tell this kid's played Monster Hunter. The lion-like creature at 40 seconds has that little micro-sketch up in the corner that is almost identical in style to the glyph-ish icons for monsters in Monster Hunter. You go, Michael!

  12. In life we have a lot of limits a lot of rules restrictions. No matter how difficult or impossible something seems don't let it limit your creativity don't ever say I can't. Always push harder and higher creation artistic ability raw talent or talent gained from years are the same devotion in the face of challenge. Not even the sky should tell you you have a boundary because the moment you do you shut yourself in a box you may never get out of. So find that expression that art that you love and climb ever higher reaching beyond the limits of what you can do and watch as the world brightens and the sun rises around you. – Me

  13. Hey, I have my own Creatures and they are Dinosaurs and they have names like: ToTodile, Omnivore, Dranadon,Iguanadon,and The Great Dragon.

  14. I love every creatures , monsters , dinosaurs,dragons,aliens, and sea creatures and I'm a creature artist

  15. I can draw like the kid but the problem is I can't color in and make those cool blends making my drawing more alive…

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