I consider myself to be a very easy going, patient kinda guy, lucky enough to be doing a job he absolutely loves…but sometimes…just occasionally…it tests even my thick skin!!
The show once again is Wizards Vs. Aliens and I’ve been asked to design a new character called Stickly, he’s a Hobbidyhoy, a good guy on the side of the wizards…small and cute...talks in rhyme…a typical kids TV character.
(left to right)
My usual practice is to present the clients with pencil roughs to get a quick feel for what they’re after. The feedback is positive and the vote apparently is unanimous, they all like number 5, so I start roughing up a more detailed rendering.
I now do a full body rough, adding clothes and a staff. The sketch is sent to the clients to make sure they like the additions….they do, but ask: “why have you put that head on it?” Cross referencing e-mails to make sure I’ve made no mistake I reply “er?....because that’s the one you asked for…”
Clients: “oh…sorry…we meant number 3”
I’m used to changes, it’s their money, they get what they want. But time’s pressing (this is TV and time’s always at a premium) so I decide to go straight into a Z-Brush 3D design…the client can now see their character in 3 dimensions negating any further misconceptions.
Taking my original drawing and adding a Z-Brush head I also present them with a full colour rendering. Everyone is very happy, I’m told to start sculpting and a costume designer is brought on board to make his robes, staff, shoes etc.
So I start the sculpt and send off progress shots with measurements for the clients, who respond with: “He’s very big isn’t he?”
So I explain: The sculpt is quite big since we plan to use real hands in fury gloves for the little guy. He will be basically a glove puppet, with one puppeteer operating the head, mouth and the hand holding the staff, a second puppeteer will be the other hand and gross body moves and a third will operate eyes, brows and smile animatronics via radio control.
Clients: ‘We can’t have three puppeteers…lets lose the arms”
So to the head you see here I added a sort of peanut shaped body and two feet…it’s bizarre but it sort of works. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this stage...it was brief and I had no time.
Clients: “Yeah…he’s got to fit in a small cage…lets lose the body completely”
Clients: “Yup…just a head with some feet!”
The result of this was truly awful and thankfully the client came back with: “It’s still too big!!”
So I started sculpting from scratch the much smaller version you see here and that’s what appeared in the show…I really don’t like it as I think it looks exactly what it is: a whole series of compromises and bad ideas.
Like I said at the start…I love my job…but sometimes in can make me go: AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!