Some random #sketch_dailies
Here are a few color concepts I did on Epic from a few years ago. One of my jobs on the film was to create a style guide and color concept for these different locations. It was a real challenge because the colors needed to feel harmonious but chaotic at the same time. Bomba’s workstations were complete disaster areas! In a painting like the library or the surveillance room, I had to really choose what information was important for the viewer to notice and what could sit back in space. I think most of design is making this decision!
I worked closely with the insanely talented Sandeep Menon, who came up with the original concept designs for these locations. Jason Sadler was also involved in the design of the many surveillance gadgets/electronics. There are a ton!
Once again thanks for all your great feedback! I really appreciate the responses. Hope you enjoy!
My favorite part of Epic was working on the Wraithwood set with Arden Chan. Not only is he an amazing artist, he’s also a great guy. He pushed me to look at set designing in an entirely different way. I’m so happy and grateful I got to work with him! Arden was the head of layout at Disney before coming to Blue Sky. His film credits include Tarzan, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Rio and Ice Age 4.
The Wraithwood set is basically an old tree that is infested with Boggans. It is also Mandrake’s lair. There are so many awesome artists who worked on the look. Kyle McNaughton came up with the initial concept and cool shape language that felt like flames. Jake Panian came up with these beautiful patterns and shapes in the wood structure He also designed the area surrounding Wraithood on the outside. If you have the art of Epic book you can see some of this other work as well. A lot of it is not online yet. The idea is this rotted structure that is entirely organic. The center is hollowed out and the top opened to the night sky. Splinters and termite holes acted like bridges and secret passages allover. Corridors were filled with hanging bats and floors patterned by bark. Everything was dead or decaying inside which made for some great shape language.
Another fun part of Epic was coming up with a detailed look of Mandrake. Ron DeFelice had painted up a beautiful rough color concept earlier in production. When the 3D model was built, my art director Mike Knapp wanted a “tight” painting over a render to show how Mandrake would look once textured and lit. It was a challenge doing this with paint because the details had to be spot on. I don’t think I’ve ever painted something so tight! In the end, I was really proud of the result and the way he looked on the big screen.
Stay tuned for more Epic work! Thanks for all your support and sharing!
One of the biggest challenges designing on Epic was creating some organization to the forest. To get the visual look and feel right, while staging for the characters, it was a constant battle to balance the immense New England forest populated by thousands of plant, rock and tree assets. In a way, it felt like gardening…but I was using a stylus instead of a shovel. Everything needed to be cultivated but not to the point it felt unnatural.
Sometimes I’d take a walk around Blue Sky’s campus and walk out into the nearby trees to observe. I’d bring a miniature army man to pose in the plants; This gave me a really good idea of scale. One time, a group of women joggers passed by me while I was laying on the ground taking a picture of my army guy. One woman gasped to her friend, “there’s a creep laying in those bushes.” Another said, “should I call the cops?” I figured it was too late to explain so I just continued posing the action figure and taking pictures on my phone. I never saw those joggers again and the cops never showed.
Here are some of my set dressing sketches to develop the look of the forest near the final sequences of the Epic.
I’ve been asked to teach at the School of Visual Storytelling this year! I’m a little nervous to be teaching alongside heavyweights Will Terry & Jake Parker. They are amazing! If you are interested in taking the course check out the site: http://schoolofvisualstorytelling.bigcartel.com/
Thanks for helping me spread the word and hope to see you in class!