2022 Porfolio: The Horned God
2021-2022 concept art and illustration porfolio by Rocio Pena Romero while enrolled in Lighbox Academy. Madrid, Spain. The theme is a fantasy-based universe with pagan wiccan and folkloric themes from Celtic Galicia during the late Iron Age.
The Horned God Legacy: original dark fantasy project
Mono is the main character of the Celtic-Iberian inspired project I developed. He is a hunter that will carry on a journey to guide the lost souls of the deceased of his tribe after the Horned God mysteriously disappears.
Mono using his hunting spear imbued with the uncorrupted power of the Horned God vs. without it.
(L) Turn-around for Mono. For the pre-roman Celtic-Iberian fashion, I took inspiration from Scottish and Masai traditional clothing and materials (R).
(R) Female exploration for the main character, dubbed "Mona" or female Monkey instead.
The Monkey Child, Mono, has always lived inside the Sacred Oak Tree and slept on a hammock hanging from the vines inside it. Monster face-masks and figurines of the female deity hang on the walls next to his trainging weapons.
The wounded hero arrives at the Witches' Hut after a long journey. Light and weather exploration centered around a typical Celtic-Galician round construction, the "castro".
Rainy weather (left) and nighttime (right) color keys for the environment.
(L) The three female deities, based on the wiccan Triple Goddess. They represent the wisdom of old age, the nurturing nature of motherhood and the foolishness of a fun-seeking child. All part of femininity.
(R) For the Crone, I envisioned a shamaness seeked by the people of the community when they needed healing or advice. Thus, I developed several potion bottles as props for her, some based on old Roman designs.
View inside the Temple of the Moon Goddess. A big, circular, stone building with wooden columns where the people of the tribe worship a deity that embodies the energies of the Triple Goddess.
Traditionally, the moon represents the feminine and the hidden.
The Rabeno, antagonist of the story. He is a twisted version of the Celtic god Cernunnos. Also inspired by the wiccan Horned God and the Green Man, this Rabeno is a corrupted spirit of the forest that no longer guides the souls of the deceased to the Land of the Eternal Spring.
This design was based on the Galician Rabeno, a character from folk tales described as an evil Pan-like creature that would kidnap young maids.
I opted for an androgynous, otherworldly appearance. His clothing is ragged and his hair tangled from living in the forest like a feral creature. The golden accents in his outfit are reminiscent of the past glory of the Horned God (symbol on his back).
Similar to a Wendigo, I designed the corrupted beastly form of the Rabeno as a horned being punished by a disease caused for having consumed human flesh. In this case, the cause is having abused one of the maidens he kindnapped from the hero's tribe. It is also covered in moss to symbolize its old status as forest deity.
It will sometimes present a bluish light on its horns from the fae that would rest on its head. Ironically, similarly to a will-o'-the-wisp, these lights will sometimes attract lost wanderers to their demise.
Matte painting process for a dynamic chasing scene. In the hazy woods, the hero finally encounters the Old Horned God after a tough race through the woods.
Splash art representing a key frame after the final battle. While the wounded hero Mono dies, a new God is born with the help of Maiden, Mother and Crone.
Greyscale thumbnail and color key options (left). Splash art composition explorations (middle) and initial sketches for the interior environments (right) .
Illustration of an abyssal wyvern I designed as a creature for the Horned God project. I based its name and appearance on the Galician Serpe (lit. snake) which was thought to be a dragon or mythological giant water serpent.