When I think about designing a mythological creature, I gravitate to the finished idea first—is this design remotely possible in our world? If all signs turn to not really, then it can be a challenge to come up with a design.
In our Belied Outcast Legends universe, cryptids thought to be mythological creatures are really just hard to see animals. So, dealing with a spiritual-like being, such as the Water Sprite, that has no physical shape or design was a bit demotivating.
Once I forced myself to look at the “entities” descriptors at face value, I asked myself a couple questions. What creatures are “invisible” on our earth? And, which of these creatures are not animal-like?”
Water is invisible, and plankton are mere organisms living in large bodies of water. They’re not animals.
With that, I took inspiration from the beautiful, flowing look of the sea slug and was actually going to stop there—at the head. But that wasn’t enough for my mom, who wanted the Water Sprite to be… more playful. So, I added a semi-humanoid figure with legs because the typical sprite has legs.
However, I eventually scratched the legs. They didn’t fit the concept of the story. My water sprite is entirely see-through like a jellyfish. Water runs through the body of this creature making it nearly invisible like an ice cube in a glass of water.
I’m quite pleased with this design, and I’m reminded that even when concept or description seems impossible, I can always draw inspiration from something that already exists in our world.