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Submitted on
September 19, 2013
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Sky Shepherd Study by MichaelBeaudry Sky Shepherd Study by MichaelBeaudry
This work serves as the official kickoff for my illustration project called "Exobiotica". The creature pictured is a Sky Shepherd. As its name implies, it carries on an aerial existence - maintaining neutral buoyancy via internal hydrogen compartments. The front appendages serve two functions- they are used to physically herd or corral the species of floating creature they subsist on, and also they are equipped with color-changing tissue that is used as communication between members of their group. Like them, most of their predators and prey are essentially floating gas bags which are highly susceptible to rupture. Thus, the Sky Shepherd evolved sharp appendages for use in attack and defense. Propulsion in any direction is achieved by the intake of air at the ventral posterior end, and then subsequent directional exhalation of the air through any of the four siphons.
The next work will I produce will feature these creatures and their prey in their aerial environment.
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yasu0523 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  New member Professional Digital Artist
it's very good design :)
InsaneInfernO Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014   Traditional Artist
wow man, the texture of the skin of this fish thingy is awesome!
really gives the feeling of a dolphin like fish know :P
good stuff man ;)
MichaelBeaudry Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2014  Professional Artist
Thanks, dude. That's exactly how I imagine it's skin- extremely smooth, and almost waxy.
MagcargoMan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Creepy but creative. Looks like an alien puffer fish.
MichaelBeaudry Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Professional Artist
Ha, thanks. Just what I was going for - creepy but creative.
PloofWooWoo Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
Beautiful piece; it suggested tropical fish to me too.

What kind of planet does this inhabit? Terrestrial? Gas giant? Something else?

Also, could you give us a rough idea of scale?
MichaelBeaudry Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Thank you, I have a lot more work to do in fleshing out this creature and its environment. They reside on a terrestrial planet, although I need to do a bit of research to see if a floating creature would even be feasible. I seem to think it would, given a dense enough atmosphere. Regardless, it would have to have a high volume to surface-area ratio, so it is rather large- about 25-35 feet long.
PloofWooWoo Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014
I don't see why floating creatures couldn't be feasible, especially in a denser atmosphere.  I found this post with some estimated numbers:…
MichaelBeaudry Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Professional Artist
Excellent find, thank you. I remember liking this blog awhile back, but I don't check in regularly. His calculations are based on an earth-like atmosphere, and they don't seem to rule out a ballont type creature, they just make it less likely. However, I've been planning from the start to have the atmo of this planet be somewhere between the density of Earth and Venus, so it might work out better for my creatures. Thanks again
Clawedfrog Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014
Biologically accurate Flappy Bird comes to mind. Very cool!
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