Animators’ Last Wish for Character Design – The Hollywood Reporter

Ethan in the strange world

Ethan in strange world

Courtesy of Jin Kim / Disney

French and Belgian comics that inspired Disney Animation’s characters strange world, follows three generations of adventurers, including the boy Ethan. Director Don Hall explains: “He was designed to have more realistic proportions, in contrast to other shrewd Disney teenagers like Hiro Hamada or Mowgli. “He is mixed-race and we wanted his skin tone to reflect both his mother, Meridian and his father, Searcher, and our team worked with dark hair experts to achieve the curls. moderate hair.” The textiles, he adds, are inspired by fabrics woven from environments like the Himalayas, with buttons and laces instead of zippers. “Given Ethan’s journey from unsettled teenager to conservationist, we opted for a laid-back ‘granola’ vibe, with his green cropped farm pants the clue. the only subtlety that shows his inner conflict with his father’s expectations of him.” His vest is dark blue with red trim. like Superman or Flash Gordon That’s what Ethan is for me: a hero – a funny, warm, empathetic, impulsive gay teen hero who finds his destiny in transforming world into a better place.”

Mei Lee in Turning Red

My Le in turn red

Disney courtesy

“I wanted Mei Lee to feel like a real twelve-year-old girl but also push her expressiveness and animation into areas that Pixar had never explored before,” said director Domee Shi, describing describes her main character — who transforms into a red panda when excited — as a “colorful character”. , an exaggerated version of me at 13.” She added, “Since she is a Chinese-Canadian, I designed her to be a mixture of Eastern animation and Western animation. Mei is also a tribute to all the traits I was teased about growing up: small eyes, chubby cheeks, chubby legs, and patchy eyebrows. I hope that the audience sees themselves, or the girls or women they know, in Mei.”

After 11 years, DreamWorks Animation’s Cat in boots the franchise has returned to cinemas, with a look that director Joel Crawford describes as “a more beautiful ‘western spaghetti’ fairy tale world but still based on Shrek The universe. Especially for Puss, the challenge is to convey a variety of emotions through his looks and physicality.” In the story, the cat of the same name learns that he is living the last of nine lives and has to face his death.

“We intentionally wanted his beard and weary eyes to show the trauma of this once great legend, almost as if he were lamenting the loss of someone older than his life. . gato. His shoulders sag, the glint in his eyes disappears,” the director said of the character’s perspective at this point in the story. “As he gradually became more aware of what it meant to appreciate the life he was given, Puss himself began to come back to life.”

The inner strength of young Maisie as she stood up to burly sea monster hunters was part of her design inspiration. “We build on that and emphasize the difference in size. Chris Williams, Netflix original series director, said her small stature would amplify her large personality. “In her outfit, we wanted to evoke her spirit of adventure as well as her sense of history, so we added sea monsters to Maisie’s bag that she made. embroidery as a child. She also begins the film wearing a leather vest and knife belt, but as the story progresses, these are dropped. In the end, it’s not Maisie’s desire to conquer that drives her — it’s her inner fortitude and a strong sense of right and wrong.”

Sand (Wendell & wild)

Five years after the once-happy kid lost her parents in an accident, Kat, now a tough 13-year-old girl, was sent to a juvenile prison and to the Public Girls School. Rust Bank Church. “Kat transforms her school uniform and herself with pins, makeup, her hair – now two big green braids – monster boots and eyebrow piercings. Then she strode down the hallway, music blasting, as a towering Afro punk, terrifying the nuns, inspiring the students. We treat her punk look like a suit of armor,” director Henry Selick explained of his stop-motion protagonist in the Netflix release. “Initially, character designer Pablo Lobato and I looked to real people for inspiration for Kat’s face design, but we needed something more iconic. Pablo remembers that Picasso, [Amedeo] Modigliani and other modernists at the time drew inspiration from wooden masks from Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Ivory Coast. After careful research, he found masks that resembled Kat and became a direct inspiration for her face.”

This story first appeared in the independent January issue of The Hollywood Reporter. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


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