These striking illustrated posters promoting Laika’s latest film ParaNorman are being displayed around various US cities. I saw them in Manhattan yesterday. According to some of the artists who drew the posters for Mondo, passerby are free to grab them off the walls if they wish. Click on the images below for hi-res versions.
Little Friends of Printmaking
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Post tags: Dave Perillo, Drew Millward, Glen Brogan, Graham Erwin, Laika, Little Friends of Printmaking, Paranorman
On August 17th, ParaNorman, the second feature film from Oregon-based animation studio Laika (Coraline), will hit movie screens nationwide. The film’s veteran co-directors, Sam Fell (The Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler (The Corpse Bride), decided to bring in some exciting new blood (no ghoulish pun intended) to make it happen. One of the new stand-outs has been the film’s character/conceptual designer, Heidi Smith.
Smith came to Laika for ParaNorman back in 2008, just three months out of CalArts and beating out several notable contenders to develop the characters and aesthetic of this stop-motion feature. At CalArts she studied under greats like Mike Mitchell, and her years as a student were a big influence on this, her first major professional project. In fact, it went so far as having ParaNorman’s lead character, Norman, based visually on a childhood photo of one of her professors.
With influences as varied as Yuri Norstein, Richard Williams and Stanley Kubrick, Smith had a lot to pull from to give ParaNorman its unique look. Cartoon Brew spoke with Smith earlier this month by phone about her experiences working at Laika, working with co-director Chris Butler and seeing her drawings be transformed into maquettes, set pieces and clothing.
Chris: The ParaNorman crew said they hired you because your work looked “scrappy and unhinged,” and had a bit of “nervous quality.” How would you compare the portfolio you got this job based on with the kind of work you ended up creating for ParaNorman?
Heidi: Because I worked on ParaNorman for so long, I think the style I used changed a bit as the project developed. My style changes, and I think that’s natural for an artist. You change and you grow, and I think that you get stronger. Your observational skills get stronger; your inspirations change.
Maybe in the beginning with that portfolio and my first bit of work for ParaNorman my work was kind of more boxy; it seemed a little more rectangular and boxy. As time went on and I worked on it with the others, my style became more organic, especially in the line-work.
Chris: Seeing as how this was your first major project after graduating college and you worked on ParaNorman for two years, I’d imagine this is the most detailed and length project you’ve ever done – professionally, personally or for college. What was it like having that amount of time to grow into it?
Heidi: I think it allowed me to really explore as an artist. ParaNorman’s co-director Chris Butler was really great to work with; his passion made me passionate. It was hard to run out of creative energy working at Laika, as there was always a passion there. I really became a stronger artist for working on this film.
Chris: I’ve read that some of the characters, like Neil, pretty much stayed on track from the original designs to your finished versions, while others had quite an evolution – I’m talking specifically about Mr.
Here’s something I’ve never seen before: sculpted smear models. Over the past decade, 3-D printers have transformed the art of stop motion animation, allowing for unprecedented subtlety and nuance in character animation. Laika has been at the forefront of exploring these new possibilities. This article in Variety discusses Laika’s use of rapid prototyping, and reveals that the new printers they used on ParaNorman had the capability to print out models in full-color. Wow!
(via Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks)
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Post tags: Laika, Paranorman, Smear
Or rather, not.
One year when I worked as a film reviewer for radio I took it upon myself to put together a year-in-review show that attempted to provide a summary of that year's films using soundbites from my fellow reviewers. I had nearly 60 hours of material to work with and in those analog days of rerecording and literally splicing quarter-inch tape I wound up living in the production
No, it’s not the missed opportunity that’s currently being sold on the bookshelves. If you’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to thumb through that book, you would’ve surmised that the only artist that worked on pre-production for Coraline was Japanese illustrator Tadahiro Uesugi. While we know that Tadahiro’s work is brilliant, the ‘visual companion’ is a complete slap in the face to all the other artists who worked on the production. Have no fear, though. The best way to see pre-production art of Coraline is to view it online. Here, I’ve created a nice tour of sorts for you (click on each name for much more art):
First up, early character and conceptual work by Dan Krall. Ronald Searle is definitely an influence:
Next, we visit Chris Appelhans for some visual development and color studies. The artists’ were definitely using Tadahiro as a point of reference:
More visual development, color studies, & props by Jon Klassen. Beautiful work, with a great sense of space and color:
Now, check out the fantastic character designs by Shane Prigmore:
More great character development by Shannon Tindle:
Stef Choi also did some early concept sketches. Check out the cute, little garden characters. Here’s a shot of Coraline & her mom:
Finally, gorgeous sculptures of all the Coraline puppets by Damon Bard. Be sure to check out all his galleries while you’re visiting his site. Incredibly talented guy:
In fact, there was a great deal of other incredibly talented people who worked on the film, but were never mentioned in the book. Vera Brosgol, Graham Annable, and Andy Schuhler, among others. (UPDATE: Katy Wu is another vis-dev artist.) Shane Prigmore does a great job listing more of the artists responsible for the look & style of the film. Be sure and check out all their hard work.
UPDATE: Kevin Dart just informed me that Chris Turnham has started up a blog for Coraline production art. Chris did some extensive work on the Fantastic Garden sequence:
Hope you enjoyed the tour. Come back again soon.
Coraline Artist Panel at Nucleus
The Marketing of Coraline
Coraline Site Up
Third time’s the charm – the longest and most extensive look at Laika studio’s forthcoming stop-mo feature, ParaNorman:
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Post tags: Laika, Paranorman