I’ve already reviewed the dragon species of the Flight Rising world, so let’s take a look at the familiars, the non-dragon companion critters (okay, let’s be real, they’re petpets). These vary greatly from fairly-normal animals to intelligent, sentient, clothing-wearing fantasy peoples. Here are my favorites!
I love Shadow-themed creatures, with their dark colors and neon blue-purple accents. This imp is evocative of a satyr, cat, and rat. I love the curly, flame-like mane around the neck, and the personality that is added by having it nervously (or mischievously) wringing its rat-like tail between its hands.
Ghosts are always cool, and this one is possessing a set of bones for double the goth spook.
Usually we see amphiptheres depicted as Quetzalcoatl or Apep, godlike, huge, dramatic boa constrictor-like dragons. These tiny winged corn snakes are simply adorable and I love the way the colors meld between the scales and feathers, making it feel like a real, natural creature.
This is just beautiful to look at. Leaf-tailed geckos are bizarre and slightly horrifying in real life, this delicate dragon-faced beauty looks like something out of the How to Train Your Dragon deviantART fandom with its big, somber anime eyes. I love the insect-like wings formed by the fins on the back, adding a little cross-taxonomy anatomy.
Aarvarks are severely under-appreciated animals. They are the only living animals of their entire family and have some totally bizarre anatomy. I love this stylization – the long, sharp ears, the huge claws, the narrow eyes. Of course, this aardvark also has parasitic purple mushrooms growing on its back and face, which is lots of fun. I always find mushroom-animal hybrids/parasitization to be much more plausible than plant-animal hybrids.
I love this thing’s dorky face. I mean, it’s a frilled lizard mermaid but it’s cute and chubby and cohesive. I love sky blue paired with brown tones, even if he does look a little bit like a candy bar.
Probably the most unapologetically badass goth familiar on the market. The asymmetrical wing gives this piece of art an especially good composition.
Basalt Vent Hop
What a great little fantasy reptile. The motion created by all those feathery spines is great, and I love the way the belly pattern merges like tiger stripes up into the main body. My one complaint – his head is a little too bright and washed out, and the detail of the eyes and mouth is lost.
Orca are SCARY and I’m glad someone realized this. The crazy lionfish spikes and rippled patterns are cool, but I do wish the head area deviated a bit more from the standard orca appearance – it suffers a little bit from “one creature’s head stapled onto another creature’s body” hybrid logic.
Highfin Sea Serpent
Just a really badass sea serpent. I have no idea what the scale of this creature is, but it looks like it should be absolutely HUGE.
Rock shark? Rock shark! Rock shark with scary glowing eyes and cool floating fragments of its own body!
What a great way to convey “jungle” in an animal. I also love that the cat-like body is appropriately chubby and full, because a lot of artists make felines look too sleek and skinny. There isn’t a lot of design interest on its back end, though, and I think it would benefit from more, longer feathers on its butt or tail. I also want to know if those Mesoamerican stone bracelets and collar are something these creatures carve themselves.
This creature is great because it looks like something a Jhonen Vasquez kid on deviantART would draw in 2008. I love unashamed design.
Skull-dogs are always good in my book, as is blue spectral fire. I love those weird skeletal hoof-toe hind legs and dementedly hand-like forefeet.
Chubby Mesoamerican cat golem! Usually cat-based monsters are big impressive tigers, so I love that this one is a very round and chonky domestic housecat.
Wait, why are there robots in a high fantasy setting?
Just a friendly Dark Souls-esque axe monster. Love the eye and teeth. It’s good to see a living weapon that isn’t just Soul Edge. I love the winding reptilian tail around the axe’s handle.
This is GREAT, I’ve never seen a snake/goat hybrid! These completely different animals are combined in an astoundingly cohesive way. Thank you for giving us a very unique, new hybrid fantasy creature that still feels authentically classic and high fantasy.
I love to see normal animals re-interpreted as dragons – loaches are real, normal Earth fish, even though I first heard of them via fishing minigames in Legend of Zelda. I love this delicate sea serpent’s extra fins, paddle tail, and blue-green ombre.
Easily the cutest piece of sentient clothing I’ve ever seen. Dr. Strange’s cloak has absolutely nothing on the shiny-eyed smile formed by the clasp.
This is it, folks, the pinnacle of familiars right here. Both adorable and malicious, drooling green alchemical slime, with those Jack Skellington-esque “tendrils” stringing between its lips. I think the only thing that would make this better is if the “spider” legs were more organic – or even formed from solidified slime. I want the creature to be the slime inside the cauldron, not the cauldron itself, but that’s just my personal taste. Regardless, it’s clean, it’s sharp, it’s clearly readable – you know and understand immediately that you’re looking at a sentient cauldron of witch’s brew.