The Art Of Jared Pullen, Soulful Savage

The Art Of Jared Pullen, Soulful Savage

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Dragon's Vault Opened Once More...

The Greater Guardian...

Once again I left the great stone door of the 'Vault' ajar... and once more the creations from Spyro issued forth. February was a tad freaky, so this offering should lighten the mood. While the body of work I've done for Spyro TLOS is very dated now, there's just still so much more of this work that I havn't shown yet... and so from time to time I'll unearth a few pieces because I remember the time on the project fondly. There was just so much of me in every piece, and I spent alot of energy passionately trying to create a mythos in the visual form. It was a great and fun responsibility to help shape the new feel for the franchise at the time :)

The image of the great Guardian statue above was an homage to Dragon culture in general, but more specificly a stately and regal representation of an actual ancient Dragon hero... the last Purple Dragon before Spyro's time. Indeed it was my intention to have this statue foreshadow Spyro's future, and set down a clue as to what he may even look like in the coming decades. From the very outset I wanted to portray what a fully grown adult Purple Dragon would look like, how it might stand and carry itself, and I pitched the idea that the statue itself was actually a representation of The Dark Master.... before he renounced the path of good. So you could say that right from the beginning, from 'the new beginning' we had already caught a glimpse of the Dark Master... I thought it a very fitting and 'full circle' type thing to do.

So here's to a fun time well remembered, and to creating alongside talented friends! I hope you enjoy this offering!

Kind regards, Soulful Savage.

Dragon Temple Entrance...

Ignitus' War Helm...

There's a story with this piece and the other Dragon armour relics... (as there is with so many pieces from TLOS) This helm was intended to be Ignitus' personal war helm... I drew it up as a feature prop and a story hook for Spyro for when he first encounters Ignitus.

The story went thusly, that back during the 'Ape Wars' Ignitus was a General who led a company of War Dragons into battle against the forces of the Dark Master. After a fierce struggle in which many Guardians were lost, Ignitus' forces were driven back until only the four Guardians remained. When Ignitus failed to repell Gaul (the Ape King) and gave up custody of the last remaining purple Dragon egg (Spyro) in a biblical flavoured attempt to save him, Ignitus exiled himself to the Swamp, casting off his armour in despair, becoming the crestfallen figure that Spyro meets in 'A New Beginning'.

As an idea I'd intended the Helm, the broken Lance and the Shield to be symbols of Ignitus' return to vigour. At Ignitus' request I'd intended Spyro to go on a mini quest to hunt for and retrieve the missing pieces of Ignitus' armoury. This was to be a way of developing a friendship with the old Fire Guardian, introducing a clue into Dragon culture and Ignitus' military past, as well as reinforcing the magnitute of his feelings of failure. It was a way for Spyro to actively rekindle Ignitus' desire to rise from his despair in the game.

While the 3D props were made from my drawings, this little story nugget did not make it into the game due to time pressures, but having drawn them I feel that at least a little bit of culture was injected and I feel that added some value. Despite intended as one off features, the armour props were duplicated throughout the Swamp level and so became common objects, which was lamentable, but I'm glad they made it in at least. Regardless, giving backstories to your pieces can help them feel more realised and more plausible... it's the little details in the background like this that can strengthen your work and give it presence, even if your story or vision doesn't make the final cut. Well, at least we know ;)

Ignitus' Battle Lance...

I felt it best to break the lance as it seemed a more fitting representation of Ignitus' state of mind when we first meet him; a broken weapon for a broken leader, gathering dust and moss in the dark. But even in its damaged state, the lance is still a potent reminder of the rigours of battle and deeds long done. (Ignitus was by far my favourite character... I can truly identify with him.)

Ignitus' War Shield...

The Shield was the final piece in the armoury and I imagined that this mounted on a swivel and brace attachment slung over Ignitus' left shoulder, protecting that flank from glancing blows. A while back I did a rough sketch of Ignitus harnessed to the hilt and in full plate armour, with his Lance, Helm and Shield attached. Unfortunately the rough sketch was lost (somewhere in the Swamp presumably) but it's very fresh in my mind... I may just have to draw him up in all his glory as a way of giving back to so many wonderful Spyro Fans who have been so very good to me. To those Fans, I thank you all for every comment you've sent me in support of this blog, and I'll be sure to reply with kindness as soon as I can... I'll wrangle up something special and personal for you all :)

Earth Breath Elemental Sigil...

Electricity Breath Elemental Sigil...

Fire Breath Elemental Sigil...

Earth Dragon Elemental Banner...

Electricity Dragon Elemental Banner...

Fire Dragon Elemental Banner...

Iconography in the world of Spyro was very important to me, and you may have spotted a great deal of it already... I'll talk more about the graphic language of Spyro in a future post later on when I can explain it in closer detail.

Smashable 'Shroom Roots...

Frogweed Spawning Mud-Pile...

Collapsing 'Shroom Root Bridge...

Thorny Brambleweed...

Fossilised Swamp Predator...

Gellatinous Stench-Bulb...

Parasitic 'Shroom Shoots...

Greater 'Shrooms: A Swamp Feature...

Strangely enough, this image was by far the most prevalent of all images that went out when Spyro TLOS rolled out onto shelves. The 'Feature Tree' of the Swamp became the official mascot of the series and seemed to resonate with many people for its stylistic simplicity. Originally created to fill an enormous void in the starting area mesh in the game, this 'tree' added so much charm to the space that it became the style exemplar for the rest of the Swamp world's content... and so the 'Mushroom Swamp' was born. Talented concept artists like Ben Ward, Ron Marc and Mark Douglas pushed things furthur to create the gorgeous mushroom forest walls and twisted vine laden corridors that set the Swamp world apart. Check it out in game... in 2006 it was something quite unique at the time and something I was proud to be a part of.

So keep creating, and more importantly keep creating stories... for the trick to creating memorable art and works that capture the imagination seems to be all in the details; obvious or implied.

Listen to the Soul: remember always what is most important and never compromise on it. Defend that like a Savage.....

J S Pulen


  1. Thank you, Jared, for sharing us Spyro fans more of your work and words from your experience and knowledge of the Legend series! :3 Are you planning to reveal more art to us soon?

  2. Cheers Alison and kind thanks for the support! I still have more Spyro work to show in the future, and beyond that 'The Dragon's Vault' will evolve to be a regular showcase of Dragon inspired art... there are plans in the works for a few fresh surprises :)

    More coming soon!

    Kind regards,

  3. Your welcome, Jared. :3 I'm thinking about creating my own blog on blogspot showing my art and projects I've done. X3

  4. Seriously go for it... it's an excellent and easy way of getting your work out there and developing a solid art identity. Also, you never know who may be paying attention to what you create, so always put your best foot forward :)

    Have fun and keep on slammin.

  5. Wow! Thank you so much for posting more of your awesome artwork for the Spyro series! I'm a big TLOS fan and I really enjoy seeing the detailed artwork and also reading the stories that go along with it.

    I had been wanting to see those elemental symbols up close for a while! I tried every which way to get a good look at them in the game and just couldn't seem to!

    The part about Ignitus' armor is especially interesting, i think that would've been great if it had been included in the game.

    I can't wait to see what else comes out of 'The Dragon's Vault'!

  6. Thanks for all the inspiration mate! Some sick design ideas there that give me a few plans with my own art! I can't wait to see more. Most of the Spyro fans on DeviantART are watching you, so keep it up!

    As a concept artist for ANB, can you tell us if there will be any more games in the legends series? Many of us are disappointed that it has gone on a different path with activision, especially since they got rid of our favorite dragoness too.

  7. I haven't been back to your blog in a little bit and this is a very great treat to come back to! Your versatility in this game is very impressive. One of the things I enjoyed the most about the series was the creative environments with all of their details as well as the wonderfully designed characters (good guys and bad alike). Seeing that you played such a big role in making all of those elements is really stunning!

  8. wow man! It's so cool to find someone who puts their whole heart into their art! I really love your style dude! I always wondered what the story was with all those cool details. I think those games would have been so much cooler if they would have just let you do your thing. I've always liked Spyro since I was a little kid but it was Tlos that really made a fan out of me. I wish Activision would have put as much soul into it as you did. I think it's way awsome that you put your work up on the net! it really gives the game a whole new wonder to it's background. I really enjoy your pictures, they have exellant color and curve to them and I look forward to your next works.

  9. Kind thanks to all the Spyro Fans that continue to post commentary of support for my work here. And to new posters Levi and Insane Randomness, I deeply appreciate your sentiments and words... they mean a great deal to me :)

    Go for all you want people... I wish you all the very best. Keep on slammin.

  10. These designs really deepen the game, so much potential o.o
    I know I already posted this on another article but I really enjoy seeing all this. This post especially, given that you're explaining the backstory. It's incredibly fascinating o.o

    My friends and I, in light of Activision messing up Spyro, want to create a fangame continuation of Legend of Spyro. Your explanation of Ignitus' armor and that bonding element between him and Spyro...that just gave me a ton of ideas.
    We were very sad that Legend of Spyro was canceled :'( If it wasn't for your work, my writing wouldn't be where it is today. I've been writing a Spyro fanfiction for two years and still going; Spyro's been a big part of my gaming and creative life. Kudos to you on all this fantastic work, I do hope to see more within the Vault if at all possible :3

    Also if possible...since "Legend of Spyro" has been abandoned, do you think you could give us some insight on where it was intended to go? We understand if that's not allowed, but if you check out my blog for our project (, in the disclaimer our goal is to "preserve and continue something that touched our hearts and minds". Insight into the game's design would greatly help us keep our favorite Spyro alive. If it's okay with you I'd love to recycle your ideas for story into our continuation, especially Ignitus's armor pieces and their backstory, but I can understand if you'd rather us not.

    Excellent work though, as a concept-artist wannabe I find this blog to be very inspirational. Thank you so much for posting your work, it has great power to it x3

  11. I love your work on the Spyro games, very bold style and I was over the moon when I unlocked the concept art in eternal night
    I'd wander round the game just taking in all the detail, I found the helmet in the training room and spend ages trying to get spyro to sit on it so the camera would get a better view of it.
    You mentioned drawing Ignitus in his armour and I would love to do a sort of fan sculpt of him if you have, he's my favorite dragon. Thank you for posting your work it's so inspirational and one of the reasons I went to study Games art


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