Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Evil - Dr. Triclops

Continuing my walk through of the design process as Art Director for Net10's "No Evil" ad campaign, here we have Dr. Triclops, despot of the League of Evil.
Dr. T's design was mostly figured out during the pitch phase of the project (see last post). I was mainly inspired, of course, by the original Lex Luthor design from the beloved Superfriends. Years ago, my animator friends and I always hated this model sheet because if you take a moment to look at it, Lex looks like a different guy from pose to pose. However, when I look at it now I see the sort of ham-fisted drawing style that I know and love and see it for what it is: representational art. When you're a kid, there's no mistaking it for Lex, even if on the left he looks like Daddy Warbucks and on the right he looks more like Maggott from the Dirty Dozen.

So the crew at Droga wanted to make sure that we didn't go too close to any of the established designs. Even though I'm pretty sure you can't copyright bald-muscular-white-guy, they insisted on exploring various facial details.

Of course, I generally try to amuse myself during the process and push it as far as I can, while also knowing that they probably won't go for the more extreme ones. This also helps lead them back to a simpler design that sometimes a client won't want to choose right away because it's the first thing you did.
They were pretty much digging A from above right away and next they were wondering if the third eye needed an eyebrow:
Below is pretty much the final result. The client wanted to make sure the animators knew that the third eye was a functional eye, so I jotted a few notes. And this is about as far as I got with any well drawn model sheets. This was a part time position, and it was on top of VB designin' full time, but the real reason is due to the pace of the schedule. Although we wondered at the end if it would've paid off to concentrate on perfect model sheets and therefore cut down money spent on key-drawing revisions. It just didn't seem prudent to make model sheets for all the characters since this wasn't a real show.

I knew Lex would have a range of emotion, jotted down these roughs that never made it to inks where I would have fixed things I didn't like, and do the flip test, etc. Even though they are finished in ink, I still think of them as roughs because they don't have those extra steps, and it shows. It's fun to "tie down" with ink, though, and a good practice to get into.Same thing with the hands. I knew it would come up often with the human characters, and these are pretty much the kind of human cartoon hands I've been drawing for ten years, no doubt based on having animated Toth-style HB characters even back then.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No Evil

I was Art Director for a campaign of commercials for Net10, its ad agency Droga5, and their production company World Leaders Entertainment. These commercials have aired all over as well as the internet, and I'm pleased with the way they turned out. It was a dream come true, being asked to head up the art styling for this project since the primary inspiration for the commercials just happened to be two of my favorite childhood cartoons, The Superfriends and Scooby-Doo.

Frame showing Dr. Triclops and his death ray, from the spot titled, "Agent".

Before a project like this begins, the production company (WLE) has to win the job, often having to create sample art on spec to win the job. WLE hired me to work up a shot with the influence stated above plus a big dose of Alex Toth. I love the panel I came up with first:

Everyone liked it too, but as usual I took the client too literally, and they wanted to turn down the Toth knob and "crappy" it up a bit to go back in the Superfriends direction, along with a few changes. The revised panel looked like this:

There were a few houses competing for this account, but by this stage it was narrowed down to 2, World Leaders and J. J. Sedelmaier. In order to "break the tie" they asked for another round and wanted to see three more characters, so I came up with this:

This is still my favorite Sharak design, which in the end, changed quite drastically. The background here, and for all the spots, was painted by a very talented artist named Reggie Butler. So these two panels won the job and since I crafted the characters they asked me to be the Art Director. Now this was entirely on top of a full time job as designer on the Venture Brothers season 3. Needless to say, I was very busy last fall. The campaign was eight, one minute commercials and had over a dozen original characters, for which I probably drew several designs each. I have a ton of cool designs that never made the cut that I will show here and over the next few posts. You can check out the 45 second versions of the spots at the official No Evil Site.