I was partly inspired by the use of ancient South American architecture in the Emperor's New Groove, and how it is used to convey mood, as well as hierarchy of the characters throughout the film. I decided to borrow from this and I started looking at ancient South American design, particularly Aztec and Inca.
These images are both calendars, the one above is Aztec, whereas the one below is Inca.
A concept that I want to take from this was how there are continuous patterns around the outside of the design, consisting largely of simple shapes, yet there is a face that dominates the centre of these designs. If you study many typical manholes, they too are made up of continuous patterns, consisting of very basic shapes such as squares, triangles and circles.
Well, in some places they do produce strange and interesting designs for manholes, but I will not get carried away, as this manhole cover needs to look realistic and be recognisable for what it is. Therefore, I shall experiment with basic shapes to capture an essence of the swamp monster in the manhole, and include some continuous patterns around the edge of the image.
Here are some sketches that I have done of potential designs. As I started to study Matt's model, as well as various swamp monsters, the central image began to gain a greater resemblance of a swamp monster.
In this image above, I started to work with positioning the patterns around the central image. I was particularly intrigued by the innermost pattern around the second manhole photo, as it resembles screaming or scared faces. Positioning these around the swamp monster image could highlight how this is a scary creature that is intimidating to all.
Eventually as I started to study swamp monster more closely, as well the the reference that Matt gave me, I began to create a more accurate image. I also worked at making it as simplified as possible, so it would be a believable manhole cover.
I shall post up some more developed manhole designs as I do them.