Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Wind In The Willows: Exploratory Sketches

Pen and Photoshop


"Mole & Ratty"
Pen and Marker

"Mole & Ratty Basic Body Shapes"

Here are some exploratory sketches I've done for The Wind in the Willows. The first two are very early roughs for Badger and Toad. The third pretty much represents the final design for Mole and Ratty. I'm currently working on a gouache painting based on the this sketch.

The final drawing is a size and shape comparison for the two main protagonists. At this stage I was trying to get a feel for the personality/motivations of the characters and how that would best be represented by shape.

Ratty's design evolved through dozens of drawings that filled my sketchbook. One difficulty was trying to pin down his shape so that he looked like a water rat but still maintained a lithe and athletic skuller's shape. I looked at several reference pictures of water rats and built his design from that reference point. I did the same for Mole, although his shape came to me much quicker. Its not too hard to stylize moles since they already look like cartoon characters.

The challenge now will be to portray the rest of the gang with an equal amount of stylization while still retaining their animal qualities. After that, I'll start working on Background and object designs. Ultimately I would like to do a few illustrations. I would also like to attempt some designs in a more traditional storybook pen and ink/watercolor style. Anyway, thanks for looking.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Wind In The Willows



My home computer has been out of commission for a while so I haven't been able to update as much as I would like. However, the work still goes on. All of my work for Whip Crack Away is done. We showcased it in the Academy of Art Spring Show and I even won a little "excellent" award for it. Showing it was definitely the cherry on top! We got a ton of positive response from peers and co-workers as well as industry folk who came by to check out our work.

So now that my part on the short is over, I've begun to focus on some personal projects. I revisited some OZ stuff and also started sketches for a couple of other books I love. One is The BFG by Roald Dahl and the other of course is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

BFG will be a lot of fun since it's not been interpreted much. The only thing I have to go by are Dahl's well drawn character descriptions. Willows is a different story. Its been interpreted so many times both in Illustration and Animation. Rankin Bass even did a version back in the day. My favorite animated version is the stop-motion film made by Cosgrove Hall for Thames Television back in 1983. Personally I think it is the closest to retaining the pastoral and cozy feeling of Grahame's book. Weta is currently working on a "darker" version of the story... I don't have much to say about that, but I'm sure Mole would say, "Hang darker versions!"

Until next time, take care!