I was able to steal a few hours here and there this week to work on another illustration for Kerkerkruip, the mindslug. This giant slug wins not only for its bulk, but also for its psychic/psionic/telepathic abilities. Most notably, it can exert its titanic will over other sentient creatures, turning them into pliant mind-slaves. When we meet it in the game, the mindslug is defended by two such zombis, in the persons of a pair of famous heroes of the sword & sorcery genre.
That’s fun, but I did struggle for a while to figure out how best to portray a psychedelic slug. My initial idea was to borrow the iconic trait of the mind flayer and show the slug rearing up to reveal a ring of squid-like tentacles around its mouth. Cute, I guess, but physiologically nonsensical–the connection between the tentacles and psychic powers is nil, and anyway a slug’s mouth is on the underside of its head where the tentacles would be utterly superfluous.
Later, I thought of the baroque defensive plumes and wild color found on many of the nudibranches (often referred to as sea-slugs). I was especially drawn to the flaming neons of this specimen:
In the end I didn’t borrow the nudibranch’s cerata for the mindslug. But I did latch on to the colors in that image, deciding that the representation of the mindslug rather than its morphology should be psychedelic. I found a great background texture (by flickr user rubyblossom) that seemed to conceal vague shapes in shifting clouds of rich purple, suggestive of psychic landscape or experience. The final illustration is effective I think at conveying what the slug might look like to someone who is falling under its influence. There is a cost, though, in that it strays far from the muted color schemes of the other cards produced so far:
Oh, the illustration has a bit of an easter egg, loosely inspired by Sergio Aragones’s marginal cartoons for Mad Magazine. Look just a bit more closely than you might have otherwise and you’re sure to see it…
Because slugs are pretty darn cool, I’ll close with a few images that I used or simply enjoyed as I worked: