to be honest, I wasn't sure how to write this post. I played such a nominal role in this 'ginormous' project, but to me it was a big step into a field I have always been curious about. (which is character design and development)
I am indebted to Mark Osborne for entrusting me with producing visuals that would in turn help convince folks that this film could be pulled off.
back in 2011 I was commissioned to develop how characters of the Little Prince, the Aviator and the Fox might look as puppets for a stop-motion animation.
i will not go into the original story of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery other than if you haven't read it, please do.
it wrenches my tears every time i finish reading it to one of my kids.
one of the key things Mark told me during the process was to think 'puppety and abstract'
i admit i didnt make much from those two words. until i let them sit on my desktop for a weekend.
when I came back to it I realized my sketches were going too mainstream, too 3D CGI animation. I was trying to draw like I thought development sketches should look.
I was abandoning all the flaws and inherent truths that make my drawings 'mine'
the final round circled back closer to how I draw and allowed Mark and I to both see how these three characters might look through my filter.
here are the finished puppets.
the next phase was to determine what was the best single image/scenario that i could create for each character to try to capture the magic of a tactile, hand/made stop-motion animation could contribute to this story.
These three images were created in stereo so that they could be viewed in 3D with special viewers. They accompanied a magic suitcase that was part of the pitch that Mark would present to financiers, actors and talent that were needed to make the film happen.
in the end Alex Juhaz created the art for the stop-motion parts of the film. it is clear that he was the right choice. amazing designs with texture and emotion that strikes a delightful balance with the original story and drawings by Antoine de Saint Exupery.
For more information on how the film was put together, pick up 'The Little Prince - the art of the movie' book by Ramin Zahed.