DALLE creating a destinctive fantasy creature

I am freelancing author for a small German pen & paper RPG and illustrations are scarce and getting your idea translated is troublesome. Especially when you have to communicate your ideas with the Artist Illustrating them and you usually have to live with what they get up from your initial description.

You can imagine how thrilled i was to get the chance to try DALLE. What this can do alone for illustrating fantasy rpg stuff is mind blowing :smiley:

In getting illustrations from fantasy creature i discovered some “problems”

First i got the impression as soon as you ask for fantasy creatures instead of real once the quality of the artworks drops significantly. I guess that’s due to a lot of not so professional fantasy creature depictions.

For example:


And horse to unicorn is as simple as it gets :smile:

I was trying to recreate a creature i made up for a fantasy pen & paper RPG

This is the creature illustrated by Florian Stitz published by Uhrwerkverlag

The first try got me:

then i tried to get more jungle cat fur pattern:

This got me the closest (i think):

(5. picture)
But i couldn’t refine it…

Uploading: Screenshot 2022-07-19 163207.png…
(I erased where the webbed wings should be)

Then i tried to rephrase:
(A fantasy creature, a ozelot with bat like webbed wings extending from its paws to its body at the frontlegs, digital art, realistic)

Well, nope

Things i considered an issue doing this:

  1. It would be nice to know how many attempts you have left. It is harder to refine things if you run in a full stop and have to start over the next day (or several hours later)

  2. DALLE is very biased even on poor bats, as good as every picture even when i tried to make it “friendy” got some dark/mean vibe. Fruit Bats are so adorable creatures!
    It would be nice to be able to define the mood and/or expression of creatures (characters) in a picture to counter biases

  3. DALLE could use some anatomy lessons :smiley: To phrase where an how parts connect and that e.g. webbed wings connect from the arms to the body would help tremendously to create fantasy creatures.

  4. Edit function
    It would be nice to have not only the edit function of erasing. Erasing the “wings” and telling it to make them different often resulted in no wings at all.
    I also tried this with a face on a more expressionistic piece of a woman, she got a face which didn’t fit to my vision of the picture, i tried to tell to chance the face by erasing it, i ended up mostly with no face at all.
    It would be nice (again to counter biases) to have a option to edit the mood and/or art style globally.
    When i tried to erase everything and telling DALLE to chance the mood i got strange patterns.

I have no illusions that this application (creating fantasy creatures) is very niche, but i hope this gives some ideas which help overall.


It’s not niche. And I’m jealous! I don’t have access yet.

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I am also exploring fantasy adventure content. I’ve been having fun learning how to describe D&D rooms so that I can get visuals from them. Looking at your sample I added a few elements that might help you.

My results are not better but adding a bit more source content got to that ‘D&D feeling’ a bit.

“a pen and ink drawing of a D&D creature from the monster manual. An ocelot with bat wings extending from it’s front legs. Professional Digital Art.”

(So just adding a reference to D&D and the Monster Manual captured the rough quality of that style.
Might not be what you’re looking for but I support your efforts!

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And sometimes you strike gold. :slight_smile: (At least my kind of gold)

a pen and ink drawing from the Monster Manual of a large furry monster with 3 spiral horns, 5 eyes and 2 large muscular furry clawed arms showing the whole monster, not cropped.


Thank you so much for trying it out!

Your D&D suggestion will be a help in the future :smile:
But still i cant get that the webbed wings are extending between body and front leg, like webbed wings do.

Artist Florian Stitz; Published by Urwerkverlag

I made a few more attempts with
“a pen and colored ink drawing of a D&D creature from the monster manual. An ocelot with bat wings extending from its frontlegs, no frontlegs. Professional Digital Art.”
“a pen and ink drawing of a D&D creature from the monster manual. An ocelot with bat wings instead of frontlegs, no frontlegs. Professional Digital Art.”

But it never does the webbed winged front legs like in the “original”

I was trying to push DALL-E for a new concept. To envision an Artist/Authors mind more than just letting it run wild and giving creative inspiration.

Don’t get me wrong. It is still very amazing, and the opportunists with DALL-E are already boundless. But as someone who writes for P&P Fantasy Worlds sometimes you don’t want “just” something like… but this special thing. And either there is DALL-E lacking to elevate a distinctive vision (out of the ordinary), or i am lacking the correct approach. I guess its a bit of both.

It might be worth to explore this further. How far DALL-E is atm able to create plausible imaginary things (like Fantasy Beast (D&D, Magic the Gathering, Elden Ring)) and this either with a strict template or just running wild.
If there exists a certain monster in a Fantasy world and you want to create a picture with that monster, which is “unknown” to DALL-E i guess that’s hardly possible atm.

Sadly i cant delve further into this since i cant afford the pricing model.
I am so happy I had the chance to test with 50 generations a day, even it was only a couple of days. The fun and what I learned from it is astounding.
Thanks to OpenAI at this point for this opportunity!

That bring me to Templates.
It would be amazing for concept Artist if there would exist templates you could use.
Like for a Monster Design
“Monster Sheet”: Getting it in Dynamic Pose, Front, Side, Back View and a Head closeup.
“Monster Color Variation”: Keeping the same Monster but different Color schemes
This could vary in the Token Costs

I like the template’s idea. Like what if we could upload a ‘rigged’ model designed in 3d (but projected to 2d) and have ‘bones’ that tell Dall-E what we’re after.

Anyway, I tried this prompt to see if it even knew what a cat’s front legs were and got SORTA close?

A detailed black and white pencil drawing of a cat’s front legs with wings like a bat.

But as soon as I make any reference to ‘the rest of the cat’ the wings pop up on the back.

You’ve found a good example of the limitations of this version of the model. Maybe someone will see the Template idea and implement it in DallE -3 :slight_smile:

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Thank you on testing it too!
Everything is so new, and not working doesn’t equal not possible in many cases.

I am soo curious to see the further development of the AI’s. And especially in the concept art area.
Although its hard to use for distinctive stuff since you can’t define a specific “new” style, or teach it characteristics of a fantasy wold (yet).

Quick note, when you are erasing stuff and want it to fill in the blank, you have to give it the full prompt (so “A fantasy creature, a ozelot with bat like webbed wings extending from its paws to its body at the frontlegs, digital art, realistic”) and not just what you want it to fill it in with (aka “batlike wings”). That explains why there were basically no changes to those images. Cheers!

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Thank you for the note. I wasn’t sure how to do it correctly.

I tried both then and i tried again now for validation, but it has no effect.

Only “batlike wings”

Same text “A fantasy creature, a ozelot with bat like webbed wings extending from its paws to its body at the frontlegs, digital art, realistic”


And slightly altered text:

I also tested various erasing areas.

Very weird… which part of the image are you erasing? It looks like almost nothing is changing except the pattern on the flank and the webbing between the legs.

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I tried various erasings, i didn’t keep them all but:

For this:

I got: