Sunday, January 25, 2009

the elephant in the room

I can't ignore the elephant in the room and one of the best learning experiences of my life so I'm posting a few things from 'Horton Hears A Who', my first roller coaster ride in the animation industry. With a lot of hard work, immense amounts of luck, and the right timing Blue Sky hired me in 2005 after 5 years at the Academy of Art in San Fran. Some of these drawings were done shortly after and span the length of the production, on paper or in the computer....most of them dabbing in both worlds. For those of you who ask what I do all day...I'm fortunate to try and keep up with the 'super crew' here in Greenwich, CT. Hope you enjoy=]

All images are property of 20th Century Fox & Blue Sky Studios
Here at the studio my title is 'Designer'. I'll work on environments, props, and pretty much anything else besides characters. The image above was one of my first assignments. I was working with pencil, markers and a brush pen. It's the very top of the mountain where Horton jumps for the clover after Vlad flies off with it. The image below was sort of a map of the mountain and various obstacles Horton runs into.

The end of the line for Horton.
'Cracked Desert' was a 'moment' piece where Horton would travel high and low, near and far, through sizzling deserts and all... to remain loyal to the clover and it's Who's. It took me all day to draw every crack but in the end it was very therapeutic and I had myself a homemade texture.

An early concept for a Whoville home (above), and a 'turnaround' (below) for the modeling department to model from.

I have to be honest when I first heard of Blue Sky working on Dr. Seuss I scratched my noggin. How were they going to pull off that wacky Seuss style which was very organic and rubbery...almost jello like? It was hard stuff to emulate on paper alone and there are a lot of 'cheats' in the flat world of books. The pre-vis and modeling wizards at the studio really worked their magic, man! I was blown away when we were called into rounds the first time we reviewed the buildings. It was definitely one of those 'pinching myself' moments.

'Town Hall' took like 48 drawings before I got to the one above =] The Seuss style was very difficult for me to pick up...I probably didn't get a comfortable grasp until 3/4 through the production haha... seriously. Don't underestimate that Seuss guy, he's a genius!

Look mom! I got a character in the movie...
actually...he got cut.
All images are property of 20th Century Fox & Blue Sky Studios. Yup, that goes for you too Momma.

26 comments:

Haylee said...

These are wonderful,Willie! I'm so happy to see some of the design work done on Horton, it is truly one of Blue Sky's greatest pieces they've done yet. I'd have to say that both you and Mr. Seuss have similar genius quality in line work!

Bill Robinson said...

I loved the design in Horton - you guys really achieved something great! Beautiful work.

pointpusher said...

Your work always amazes man.

Jonas said...

Fantastic stuff, I love that movie, you guys did a great job. After looking through your blog I thought you'd work with characters... maybe next movie.

Nate Skate said...

Awesome. Yeah I am environment also but its amazing how much I get to do figurative work with textures, and props. I wouldn't mind working on characters here and there, but I honestly really love my sets. I didn't realize how cool it is to see the work from my friends projects.
thanks Willie

tottot said...

These are excellent! I know in the past you said that there are no plans for an art of book, which seems to be a MASSIVE shame!?!

Is there anyway to buy prints/original art??

Andre Barnwell said...

Very Cool.

RAWLS said...

wow...I don't see this stuff very often from you my friend! Great work man!!!

Tooninator said...

You da man!!! Love the movie....and now I know why :) Always a fan.

Katie said...

Yayyyy you put them up!! They're awesome Willie. I highly doubt that i'll be buying you that beer, and Jake that lunch, that we discussed the other day.

Emil said...

Oh My Gosshh!!! These are AWESOOOMMEEEE!!!!
I saw the movie a few days ago, the design was pretty much the best Blue Sky ever did.
Good Job!

Becky said...

Amazing designs! Too bad your gnome character was cut. Thanks for sharing :)

jimmyjames said...

these are Sick!!! so cool to see your creative process. thanks for posting these!
-

Tony Mitchell said...

AWESOME!!!!!!ALL OVER

Francis Vallejo said...

glad you posted these! I'm amazed by how clean even your loose work is!! Awesome chilling in NY man, keep killing it!

-fv

Claudia said...

Cool stuff, Willie. It is always nice to see the concept art.

californiagrown said...

Damn! These are so great, Those buildings were one of my favorite parts of the movie!

joshua wysocki said...

awesome man
i love seeing everything here
keep designing and i cant wait to se more!

Benjamin Plouffe said...

nice. I wish i got to see these when i did some of the early horton stuff. I assume you probably started some time after I finished. Anwyays nice stuff.

TURCIOS. said...

fantástico estilo. abrazo!

SteveLambe said...

Great layout (and blog), Willie.

jake said...

Willie I'm so glad you posted this stuff--These are some monstrously elegant designs. Big fan.

Kei Acedera said...

These are wonderful Will! Awesome work!

Doron Meir said...

These are gorgeous.

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