Norman Rockwell, Walt Disney, Wernher von Braun, space habitats and moon landings - the improbable, bold history of space concept art.
January 2012 I received a call from Disney: The director Byron Howard, writer Jared Bush and production designer Dave Goetz pitched the premise for a movie called "Savage" (which should become "Zootopia" later) to me and I thought it was a genius idea: An animal movie with a twist: Humans have never existed and instead animals have evolved to human capacity and they had created a city built by animals for animals. Matthias Lechner, Art Director Of Environments for Zootopia, shares an extensive collection of concept art for ideas developed and discarded. A fascinating look at the creative process, showing the evolution of surviving concepts and glimpses at worlds that might have been. [more inside]
Concept artist Tom Rhodes asks fans to submit detailed descriptions of their RPG characters. He then illustrates a random selection each week on RnD Fantasy. [more inside]
Ridley Scott's new film Exodus: Gods and Kings recasts the myth of Moses in typically grimdark swords-and-sandals fashion. It... ain't so good. Want something more artful? Look no further than The Prince of Egypt [alt], an underrated masterpiece of DreamWorks' traditional animation era. Directed by Brenda Chapman (a first for women in animation), scored to spectacular effect by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, and voiced by, among others, Voldemort, Batman, and Professor X, the ambitious film features gorgeous, striking visuals and tastefully integrated CGI in nearly every scene. It also manages the improbable feat of maturing beyond cartoon clichés while humanizing the prophet's journey from carefree scion to noble (and remorseful) liberator without offending half the planet -- while still being quite a fun ride. Already seen it? Catch the making-of documentary, or click inside for more. [more inside]
"It was a normal day when I grabbed my sketchpad and began to doodle. What came out was little scribbles of a horrible little creature: the Shark Cat. The initial design was based on the thresher shark. I found that the short face and extremely large eyes worked well with the cat aesthetic. However, as I kept sketching, I noticed that almost any shark species could be adapted." Shark Cats, portraits of terror, by concept artist/illustrator Brynn Metheney, who has more work on her Instagram account. (Not to be confused with the cat in a shark costume on a Roomba, previously).
Tucker Cullinan is a concept artist whose styles span vivid organic/sci-fi scenes in water colors and lost worlds from the imaginary past, to colder, sharp-edged futuristic worlds, and computer illustrations of imaginary prototypes. More on his blog and his portfolio site, plus two interviews.
220 images from Alien including behind the scenes photos, concept art and early effects shots.
Feng Zhu is a concept artist who has worked with a number of big name movies and video games, and has opened a design school in Singapore. With the general background out of the way, here's his website with hundreds if vivid pieces of concept art to stimulate your brain (*cough cough*NaNoWriMo*cough cough*), and a long list of free tutorial videos that have been included in at least one list of best free digital painting tutorials. [more inside]
The Clone Wars (previously) are over, with only a few last mopping up operations underway and a few Jedi unaccounted for. But there is another... Star Wars Rebels will be the new Lucasfilm animated series, and will be taking it's design direction from the work of Ralph McQuarrie.
Universal Studios has revealed their concept art for a real life Simpson's theme park. Io9 asks how many references you can spot.
Xanga user Criscoh is a talented concept artist who is kind enough to share his work on recent films, including: Fantastic Mr Fox, Coraline, Hotel for Dogs, and City of Ember.
Spaceships that became other spaceships: The Millennium Falcon, The Colonial Viper, The Eagle Transporter - from the blog of Gavin Rothery, visual effects designer on Moon. Previously.
Ralph McQuarrie, legendary concept artist for Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and many other projects, has passed away at the age of 82. Previously, here and here.
"I like to feel that it’s my job to instigate the process with a cool drawing that inspires everyone else here into making something really cool, and worth the effort."
Adam Adamowicz, concept artist behind the hugely popular video games Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, passed away this week after a long struggle with cancer.
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century, 26 Academy Awards, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2, is Certified Rotten. Critics have assailed the film as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars
merchandising industry "lifestyle brand," replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games, hyperactive chase sequences, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor from Larry the Cable Guy. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave -- a darkly magical original story set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror] is available at the official website, and character sketches have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave's associated short, "La Luna"!
Concept art for the Alien 3 that never was - Before the Walter Hill version was shot, entirely in brown, by David Fincher there were many iterations of the Alien 3 script. One of the more exotic ones was the Vincent Ward & John Fasano "monks in space" script, illustrated here. [via io9]