15 November 2008

BFA Work in Progress: Leonardo / Decameron

Our current project is pretty interesting. We're supposed to design a group of characters escaping a plagued city, in a world that makes heavy use of Leonardo's technology.

In my version of this, my characters escape ~1650 Italy via airship and flee to New Zealand.

We have to work in the style of another artist as closely as possible, ideally to the point at which the difference between them and ourselves is indistinguishable. This is a lofty goal, but it's been a fun challenge to try and work in the style of Carter Goodrich. Here's an example of his work from Ratatouille.He's a great designer, and his work has a lot of personality and gesture. I've been trying to capture the energy of his drawings, and keep to simple / strong shapes. It's also been brought to my attention that he uses his pencil-work to create volumes out of tone rather than outlined shapes, and I've been trying to mimic that.

Above is a servant and bodyguard named Parmeno. He has a fur blanket and fish-jaw axe because he gets indoctrinated by the Maori to a certain extent after arriving in New Zealand. I was thinking about Patrick Stewart's "Gurney Halleck" character in Dune when I designed him. The middle image has him wearing a Spanish-style Brigandine.

This is Neifile. She's from the upper class, and is curious and tomboyish (for the time period). For this reason I gave her an outfit that had something similar to pants. I'm still working on getting poses that really show her personality more clearly, but keep the appeal of the china marker drawing I did (center).
This is Dioneo. He's the "Charles Darwin" type of the group; a member of the inventor's guild that carries on Leonardo's legacy, and has high social status but poor social skills.

Below is my mechanical Falcon. Right now he's a reference model, but I'm going to redraw him more in keeping with Goodrich's work. I was finding it pretty difficult to pose him out and still try to make the drawings clear, especially with all the ellipses.

And this would be the rough size of my characters together.

The above painting is an establishing shot for the Plagued City. I based most of the architecture on the Italian city of Siena, and the palette I used is supposed to help connote the sick and dreadful feeling of the plague. Warm light hitting a greenish, thick haze, with red darks. I thinkI need to bring back some of the far background elements, which will include some super-scale gothic architecture. If Leo's technology runs wild, I'm pushing for many of those advances to be in construction and architecture.
Line work and thumbnails. The thumbnails below show some closer, more intimate shots which I feel are more like something Goodrich would do, but they don't show enough to be cinematic "establishing shots."

And finally, below are my designs for the "Country House" which the group escapes to. I've been pretty indecisive about this, but as it stands now I pulled way back on the technology and tried to give the house a bucolic, welcoming feeling. I was looking at Carter Goodrich's illustrations in Dickens' Christmas Carol when I decided to present the house in this vignette.

Thumbnails and more extreme/wide establishing shots.