For the early character design on Phil i went back to pencils and pantones for the artwork, I felt it needed to be stripped back a little, mainly to be without the constant saviour of ctrl Z! It was nice to make mistakes that didn't just disappear
As we moved into the more finalised artwork for the model sheets i switched to photoshop but tried to keep the broken feel to the line and a more sculptural approach with the flat shapes. This was an early concept for Phil where I was trying to figure out what kind of shape he was in
In the script Phil holds himself in such a careful way you feel if he fell over he'd shatter. His clothes restrict his movement. His back is hunched from labouring over a typewriter all day. His movement would normally be small and careful and i wanted the design to reflect it. I knew it would eventually come through in his acting, but what i wanted was immediate response. It is the key element animation holds over live action, our ability to visually caricature and exaggerate far beyond the real without it drawing attention to itself as fake.
Here you can see an early concept for the photo on Phil's desk. I thought it would be funny if his most prized possession was a picture of himself with an award for his hard work. Someones finger's over the lens, some guys walking past with his ass hanging out. Phil's shoved into the corner. He has shoe horned himself into his own uncomfortable life.
It was important to show that the other people in his office where not drones like Phil. They are brightly coloured, more dynamically shaped. It helps us to realise that Phil is not a worker bee, his dreary life is self imposed, and it is up to him to change it. These characters play a part later in the film also...
As the film is about two contrasting worlds it made sense to push Phil outside of his comfort zone when he ventures outside. So when he gets into the vibrancy of the exterior world his new palette is overwhelmed by colour
In the next post I'll be putting up the character design artwork for the seagull, Phil's polar opposite!