Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pixie Dust Away!

Where were we?  Oh yes... the films.  I was skeptical as most people were.  I mean conjuring up stories of Tink in books is one matter, but when you set things to film, it becomes like etching something in stone... there's no going back.  But I have to admit, they really came through on those small screen adaptations, and really changed the direction of the property altogether.  That world suddenly seemed cohesive, and the audience became really involved.

Of course it all affected our work in a big way... but I thought it was a nice evolution.  They began to create stories written with new characters that are not in the films, but did contain some main elements from the films that contributed a great deal to the new adventures.

Below is one of the images from a story completely centered around the music fairy, Trill. 

And this book was focused entirely on a scout fairy named Mika.

I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to work on character designs for some of these new personalities that shared a secondary role in a Tinker Bell story.  The first image below features Trindle and the second, Rolo who both appear in the book Tink In A Fairy Fix.

If I remember correctly, there was a lot of freedom as to what the characters could look like as long as the design followed the storyline so I often would visualize the character according to what the name sounded like to me.

For Rain and Skye, I only had their names to go on... no storyline was given at that time, so it was a little more of a challenge, but in a way,... even more fun.  For Rain, I wanted her to have the feeling of being wet, in a way... her hair should feel like rain... her clothes should indicate a a feeling of water falling... and particularly raindrops.  

In the case of Skye, I immediately thought of a light breeze and felt she should seem light and graceful.  So, I had done the image on the left.  Then, I offered another version of her a little more "grounded"(on the right) but with a funny little puffy hairdo to indicate clouds. 

It was a great journey to see the property develop and, the books that represented the films were fun to work on as well.

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure

The Great Fairy Rescue

The Pirate Fairy

Oh, this next one was an interesting one for me.  Although the illustrations I have done in the chapter books are littered with backgrounds of my invention, I never really had to design a specific location that was particularly important (and therefore had been spared the pressure).  But this one crossed my path for the Fairy Dress Up books.  I had to design the bedroom for Zarina.  They already had her house established in the film, but didn't have her specific room designed so I had a little freedom to set the stage for this.

It was kind of fun trying to remember elements that she might have gathered on her pirate adventure and add them to her decor as well as her pixie dust alchemy equipment.

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast

And I was lucky enough to work on a few publicity poses for a couple of the films.

Secret of the Wings

The Pirate Fairy

I was even able to work on some character designs for the Pixie Hollow Games and a little on the latest film as well with the early development of Nyx.

For the Pixie Hollow Games the director suggested I take inspiration from the colorful costumes used in Siena by the contrada people during the famous Palio race celebrations... and having been there in Siena many times, it was great to do the research for this project!

The character of Nyx in Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast was really enjoyable, even though a short-lived project for me. And it was fun to work closely with the director of the movie. I really liked what they ended up with in the film... she is a stronger character than what I had interpreted.  But I did enjoy the fact that they kept my porcupine needle idea for her weapon.  There was a question of whether the real needle was that large in relationship to the fairies, but I had given them a real one (that I had bought from a Native American craft supply store) to show that the needles could be quite large.  It was brilliant of them to extend the design of the porcupine needle (stripes) to that of the entire scout team in the film.  They did a great job!

Whoa, that was long, right?  Well, don't worry,... it's the last post about the "Tink Years".
I am grateful that I have been able to participate in this venture.

I am not sure if there will be any future films, but this latest movie, I think, is a stellar piece of work.
Makes me wonder what's next. Well, for now, let's just say "arrivederci" to our friend, Tink... and hope the next time we meet, it will not be in a space trilogy set in the future on a planet containing a deadly Pixie Tree virus threatening the fate of the Neverland galaxy. ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tink... The Continuing Saga

Here we are again, and this time I want to share with you the development on a couple of the fairies.

Some of the main characters of the initial stories – like Rani, Fira or Beck – never made it to the films and thus became the lesser known "girl gang" that surrounded Tink. But their counterparts – Silvermist, Irridessa and Fawn – despite being secondary characters in the books, found their way to the screen.

A few fairies did make the cut:  Rosetta, Vidia, Queen Clarion and Terence.  Unlike Bess, Lily and Prilla... Oh yeah, and Mother Dove...  who don't even have a conterpart in the films.

Speaking of Prilla... she was the "youngest" of the fairies... or should I say newest?  This gets confusing because, you know, they don't age.  Anyway, since everyone had a talent, they gave Prilla a unique one.  She had the ability to astral project her way into the "real world" and visit children.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.... no fairy left Neverland back then.  So, she was kind of important to keep the belief of fairies alive in the real world to ensure all the other fairies' existence.

Not going to bore you with ALL the fairies, just wanted to touch upon Vidia (at first, "Invidia").  Back then, she was a villain.   She didn't hang out with anyone... kind of Maleficent-like, she was the bad fairy that lived apart from everyone else (who all lived in the same tree, BTW).  She seemed kind of like a Grima Wormtongue (LOTR) that preyed upon the fears and insecurities of other fairies.  Basically, negative karma.

Anyway, back to the development process:
As I began my studies, it became painfully apparent how much my skill level was not up to par for this property, and had to practice a lot to begin to understand it.  This involved a lot of research... and a lot of just drawing.  I began to just draw poses.

These are only a few examples I kept over the years.  I did many that were so horrible, I had to quickly throw them away before they sprouted more heads and burned holes in the walls.  But as tedious as it was, I had to get the feel of the characters until they were more of a natural extension than just a drawing.  Guess that's what they call "finding the character".

It got a little better as time went on and things developed more.  Instead of trying desperately to cling on to the designated "models", I started bending towards the influences of Fred Moore and Norman Rockwell (for children poses).  And interestingly enough, girls from Anime.  You know, the cute ones... but not so... fully developed.  The posing for the pvc anime figures were perfect to help with getting the feel of these characters.


I was just starting to get the hang of it... and then, they decided to make the films...
(to be continued)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Years With Tink

Hey there!  In celebration of the release of the latest Tinker Bell film in the series, I wanted to pay tribute to this most beloved protagonist.  Since she has been the center of most of my work for the last 12 years or so, she 's become a very important character to me.  So, in the next few posts, I will backtrack down memory lane and share some of the work I have done for this long project: like some early drawings  and even some really really rough sketches of this world that never was. Hope you'll enjoy!

Tough as it seemed, I remember "development time" while working at Disney Publishing to be some of the most memorable with my partner in crime, Judie Clarke.  She is a brilliant artist, who is actually responsible for much of bringing the Fairies world  to life.  She fashioned much of the Pixie Hollow world with her beautiful backgrounds.  Much of her work made it into the end titles of one of the films as well.  I, instead, tended to focus on little character vignettes, making up little scenarios in my mind about their lifestyle. Now, I know these drawings leave much to be desired and there isn't a moment when I look at them that I don't want to redo them or erase them from existence, but they are a bit of history, and like it or not, we all learn from history, right?
Still, some of those drawings were important starting points for further development and maybe they also served as little inspiration for something we would later see in the movies.

In the beginning the world we worked on was very different from what later was developed in the films.  The Fairies lived in another kind of Pixie Hollow.  The concept of Neverland  had expanded to Pixie Hollow itself, and as no one grows old there, nothing died in Pixie Hollow... meaning that there were only the seasons of Spring and Summer.  Since there was no cycle, there was no Autumn or Winter.   No Winter!  Yes, that's right... no Periwinkle!  No Secret of the Wings! Just Spring and Summer...... ALL the time.

I was actually proud of this last one... until I later realized it was almost exactly like Sue in Pecos Bill.  Not so proud after that.

In the first book published, the heart and soul of Neverland had its physical form of an egg.   As the author of the book said presenting her work, a tiny drawing of a dove by Judie had spawned the idea of Mother Dove, protector of the egg... and thus, protector of Neverland.  Just goes to show you that even the smallest detail can be critical in story conception. So the artist must remember that when submitting development artwork!

Well, this is a good point to take a break for now and meet again in a few days to view some early concept drawings focused on a couple of characters and how they evolved.