Saturday, 12 January 2008


Recently I have bought this Character Design book by Tom Bancroft. In it he states the first step to good character design is to create the basic shapes from the character descriptions and do lots of research into what you want to draw.

So the first thing I did was create the basic shapes below. For Cornelius the description states he is civilised and sensible, so he is probably very restrained and proud. If you look at silver back mountain gorillas (I chose a mountain gorilla because they have darker and furrier coats), they are very powerful. However, it also states that he is middle aged, so I thought it might be a bit funny if he had got a bit fat and bald in his old age.
For Pocahontas, she's about seven and more relaxed. She therefore probably takes her time, doesn't overexert herself. Big Point here, she wants to be a gorilla. In my mind, if she wants to be a gorilla, maybe that could be shown by allowing her to move like a gorilla. I am going to experiment with making her arms a bit longer and more gorilla like.

There is a lot of research coming up so sorry if it is a bit much.

When I decided to go this route, the first thing I decided to do was research up gorillas. Adult male gorillas a saddle of silver-hair appears on their backs. This hair is really short whilst their arm hair is really long. They reach about 5-6 ft in height, have an arm span of about 7ft 6in and weigh approximately 450-500lbs.

(These images were obtained from wikipedia)
Gorillas move around by Knuckle walking where they walk around on all fours with the weight resting on the Intermediate Phalanges. I have a diagram here to explain.
I also decided as part of my research to look up animations. I felt that Disney's Tarzan was my best bet for gorilla animation. Glen Keene's animation of Tarzan in that film was so cool and Young Tarzan will form a good basis for Pocahontas Billams. The Claymation style wanted in the brief I believe is more of a Plasticine feel gotten through the texturing stage, rather than the character design stage. Claymation doesn't mean you have to have the Aardman mouth. These Images come from either Disney's Tarzan Special Collector's Edition book or

I have also got some scans of drawings by Andreas Deja of Lilo, obtained from the book Lilo and Stitch: Collected stories from the film's creators. Lilo has that relaxed feeling required for Pocahontas and she is just the cutest little girl in an animated film.

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