No more finished scenes true believers, this is a pencil test that I am really proud of. Animation by John Hill, but clean up by Opal Baines, Ashley Cameron, and Emily Brown. They will also be handling the color pass.
I’m unsure if I will be making any full figure sculptures of the main characters or not, but I knew I wanted to do some busts of each so I could have it for reference.
Tom revealed that he never really relied on the maquettes at Disney very much, but he did remember using the sculpture of Mushu for the back of its head. It’s interesting, because that is exactly why I wanted to make these. We both agreed that the Lovey sculpture was probably the weakest, because her facial features are too rounded (too dimensional and realistic, actually) where it needed to be a bit flatter. It was a counter-intuitive thing that I had trained myself not to do (after making too many flat faced sculptures) and it ended up biting me here. However, it is definitely close enough for me to still use as a perspective / angle reference.
Tom had a quick note for me today, to add in some eyelashes on the Lovey model sheet so she would retain a bit more femininity in her character design. He then gave his stamp of approval on them, and so I present the finalized character designs to you now. Here are the three stars of Hipposterous: The Hippo, Lovey, and Jack!
Mr. Bancroft said something incredibly apt and moving (to me anyway) about this stage of the preproduction:
If this is the worst the characters are ever going to look, and it is, because you’re only going to get better at drawing them, then you’re going to have a good looking film.
I’m having a great time.
It looks like a lot of red, but most of this was Tom Bancroft just tracing over my drawings while he spoke about designs in general. He’d trace the things he liked as well as the ones he didn’t, so when I first looked at all this I felt terrible, but he was super supportive and insistent that he liked the designs. Major notes for the main characters were to make sure I’m keeping things consistent, to focus a bit more on the bodies in the poses (he could tell I was focusing on facial features more, and it definitely shows in this first pass) and to make sure the legs and positions show weight well. We spent a lot of time just talking about design, and it’s a great privilege for me to be able to listen to him for an hour a week.
Here are some rough sketches and then some concept art turns for Jack, the Caucasian male protagonist. Jack is based off of my son, and Lovey is based on my niece. It was important to me (at this stage anyway) to make sure the two main human characters had distinctly different shape designs. Jack’s design tends to be rounder, with spindlier legs and arms. Lovey’s design is more angular and block like. There are reasons behind those two choices, which should be clear based on their personalities in the short.
These designs were good enough for my MidPoint Review, but I will be addressing some notes that were expressed about cleaning up the turn-arounds.