Morris Lessmore production art

Even with a film as short as 12 or 15 minutes (long for a 'short film', I know) takes a LOT of creative people and a LOT of design and artwork.

At Moonbot Studios, we are fortunate to have the approach of hiring multi-talented artists who are willing and ready to wear many hats and tackle many challenges. I am lucky enough that I was hired as a storyboard artists, doing a majority of the boarding for this film, but also moved directly onto character design, production design, color scripting, concept art for environments and miniature sets, prop design, then textures, and even 2d animation.

This was an amazing chance to experience nearly every facet of the 'art department' of an animated production. I enjoyed all of it, and have a lot of artwork to share with everyone, but it would be far too much for one post here, so I'll parcel it out over the next few months, along with some tastes of what we are producing "after Morris".

I hope you dig... here's a first look:

This is the first quick 'paint' I did of Morris Lessmore. It was based on Bill Joyce's first pencil illustrations of Morris, but with a bit more cartooning and flow to it. This was sketched and painted in Photoshop.

Here is the sketch that influenced the final direction of Morris Lessmore's character design. We were going a much different route where he was meek, chubby and small-eyed, however Bill wanted me to get some more Buster Keaton in the movement and poses. So I sketched from DVDs for a few hours and this is the one that everyone latched on to enough to redesign him. This sketch is done with pencil and a Pentel Pocket brush pen and is no more than 4" tall.

These pencil sketches are concepts for layout and shots, done during the storyboard process. Bill had some specific shots he wanted and some he had sketched, some he had described. These are nothing special or sacred, just 2" wide each done with blue pencil in a sketchbook, scanned later for reference. It is nice to look back on these looser and 'smaller' sketches and see what it informed and what it did not. Either way, the small sketches are just as valuable to production.

I ended up doing a LOTTTT of prop design and the following orthographic drawings for the modelers and CG production team. I found that I have a specific eye for detail, and am very critical, so it came into play here naturally. These 'turnarounds' are essential, and while they are rigid, they are also fun to do. These chairs in particular, were actually not used in the film, but at one point, we had a place for them. Integrating these "William Joyce details" into each object, giving it unique character to this world, is really fun.

(click to view full size)

These are just a few panels from the color script. A few artists worked on the color script, and we all really enjoyed it!

Texturing characters and objects is essential. The color and surface of an object must be created by putting an image on it, that essentially is a 'wrapper' of color and surface properties. Here is just one of the many textures I created. This is part of the cover of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme book character. You will really enjoy his part in this film.

This is part of Morris' design and breakout pages. Giving the animators a reference of poses and personality of movement is helpful, especially when we are specifically referencing Buster Keaton in certain ways. These are silhouettes of some of the poses drawn for Morris, and below (click to enlarge) is one of the full pose sheets:

I hope you enjoy seeing this artwork. There is a LOT more and I'll continue to share it with you very soon! In the meantime, check out the film trailer here.


Fabian Molina said...

Cant wait to see it Joe! Looks amazing. Congrats to all of you.


Katie Lawter said...

Egads, I want to be his friend.

Attractive Art Community (Big Sam) said...

This is fantastic sir! I recently recieved my associates in animation and can't wait to work in the animation field like yourself! Good Job Joe! Maybe one day we'll be workin together!

Wouter Tulp said...

whoa, this seems like the most fun job ever!!! Congrats!
If you even need a helping hand on these projects, just give me a call...;-)

Mark Heng said...

Cool character design! I like the droll look way better than the chubby simpleton...Thanks for sharing.

Vincenzo said...

Once again great stuff...thanks for sharing!!!

SEILER said...

Joe, it looks so amazing man, the work you did is top notch, I can't wait to see this. How can we see it . . . ? Was this short created in hopes of getting it picked up and turned into a full blown movie? I hope so . . . so fantastic!

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