VeggieTales ‘Noah’ Concepts

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The latest VeggieTales DVD “Noah’s Ark” (Amazon link) recently hit store shelves. It’s the first DVD to feature the updated character designs which coincide with the brand new Netflix series “VeggieTales In The House“. It’s a fresh, energetic new take on the characters. (EDIT: Credit for the new designs goes mostly to the amazing Elena and Olivia Ceballos).

I was asked to help with designing some costumes (sometimes from scratch, other times polishing existing designs). I also did a lot of concepts for a new character, Shem, who was ultimately voiced by Wayne Brady. At the beginning of the “Noah” project we were still using the old, classic VeggieTales style but eventually the decision was made to try and match the updated look of the “refresh”. The final Shem design is pretty close to one of my concepts.

The evolution of this story also took some twists and turns. At first they wanted to go with a traditional biblical setting, then a few other things were tried before eventually settling on something more modern. Hence, the variety of costume designs below:

VeggieTales Noah Rough Concepts

VeggieTales Noah-Costume Turnarounds

VeggieTales "Boy Shem" Rough Concepts

VeggieTales 'Shem' Rough Concepts

VeggieTales 'Shem' Color Turnarounds

VeggieTales 'Sadie'-Costume Turnarounds

Here’s a trailer for Noah’s Ark:

Concept Art for ‘Veggies In Space’

Last year I was hired by Big Idea to help develop some character designs, costumes,  and misc. artwork for their new DVD Veggies In Space. Now that the DVD is available for purchase I’m allowed to show a bit of the artwork I did. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet but it was a lot of fun to work on.

Here’s a few of the characters I worked on. The costume designs for the main characters were inspired by Star Trek. For the villains I thought it would be fun to do something reminiscent of the cheesy Flash Gordon serials of yesteryear.

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T-Bot-Turns-v5VIS_TBot2I also got to illustrate some misc. background signage. Here’s a billboard and the cover of a brochure:

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Veggies In Space is now available from Amazon, iTunes, etc. Here’s the trailer:

 

VeggieTales Concepts for “Merry Larry”

I was hired by Big Idea to do some character concept art for their latest VeggieTales DVD, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas (Amazon link). This episode features a guest narrator, Uncle Si from the runaway hit cable series Duck Dynasty.

Here’s a few rough concepts and final turnarounds, followed by some screen captures from the episode. Bob’s glasses were removed for the final show (I suspect because having unobstructed eyes makes the acting a bit clearer), but overall the end result stayed pretty close to what I submitted.

(Click to enlarge)

Bob Turnarounds for "Merry Larry" Christina Turnarounds for "Merry Larry" Larry Turnarounds for "Merry Larry" Mr Lunt Turnarounds for "Merry Larry" Miss Lewis Turnarounds for "Merry Larry"

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VeggieTales Creator Partners With Tyndale For New DVD Series

Some exciting news about an upcoming project I’ll be working on:

Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales (the best-selling direct-to-video series of all time) and of the kids’ media website JellyTelly.com has just announced a partnership with Tyndale House Publishers to create a 13-volume educational DVD series called “What’s In The Bible?” The DVD’s will take kids through the Bible from cover to cover using a combination of puppets, animation, and live action to teach about the Bible and the Christian faith. The DVD’s will be released this coming Spring.

Announcement on Phil’s blog.

Press release from Tyndale

The best part (for me at least) is that I get to play a small role in the project. I’ve been hired to animate three segments, and if that goes well there will likely be more to come.

The DVDs are going to echo back to the spirit of the old Disney educational films from the 1960’s but with a modern, snappy sensibility. I’m a huge fan of the early Disney and UPA-style educational films (especially the work of Ward Kimball like the classic Toot, Whistle, Plunk and BoomAmazon link). For years I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to use educational animation to teach the Bible and theology. Bible literacy is on the decline in America so this series will help fill a huge need. I’m thrilled to play a small part in it. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a very fun and quality product!

Look for the first two DVDs to be in stores in Spring of 2010. In the mean time, for samples of Phil’s latest offerings visit JellyTelly.com. Just what exactly is JellyTelly? Glad you asked.

“The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” Opens Today!

After 28 episodes on DVD those crazy veggies from VeggieTales are starring in their second big-screen feature film, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything (official site).

“The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” started out as a Silly Song on VHS way back in 1997 (every VeggieTales episode has at least one Silly Song). The song became so popular that the Pirates eventually hosted a DVD countdown of Silly Song fan favorites in which they took second place. Later they were given large supporting roles in the first VeggieTales theatrical release, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. Now they’re starring in their very own big screen adventure.

Here’s the Silly Song that started it all. The 3D rendering looks a little rough by today’s standards, but remember it was made over ten years ago:

For the new Pirates movie some of the character designs and storyboards were provided by Tom Bancroft and Rob Corely, two of the terrific directors I worked under on 3-2-1 Penguins!. Both are Disney animation veterans who now co-run their own studio, FunnyPages Productions. Check out their blog over the next few days to see some of their work for the film.

Tom emailed me the following about Pirates:

This is Rob and my 9 or 10th feature film to be involved in and while it is the lowest budget of them all, it really turned out nice! We went to the premiere last night and were very impressed by the strong art direction (by our friend Chuck Vollmer at Big Idea), good modeling and animation (provided by Starz Animation in Canada) as well as entertaining story that kids will love.

Our company provided most all of the character designs (including the show stealers- The Rock Monsters, Cheese Curls, and the evil Pirate Robert!), as well as storyboarding the opening, ending, and sections in the middle, creating the opening title artwork (with Monika Brozda, thanks) and layouts for the cave section! Whew, it was a busy time last summer. If anyone wants to see how far under 10 million can go, this is it! So, go THIS WEEKEND and support our friends at Big Idea Productions (and Funnypages Productions indirectly), you’ll be happy you did!

Here’s the trailer:

Check out the offical site for more info about The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.

This Saturday: Space Penguins Coming to a Planet Near You!

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For the last few months I’ve been working as a freelance character designer on 3-2-1 Penguins!, a new animated series on NBC. The premiere episode airs this Saturday (10:30am Central, check your local listings).

3-2-1 Penguins! is about four wacky penguins (Zidgel, Fidgel, Midgel, and Kevin) who travel the universe along with two kids, Jason and Michelle. Imagine Star Trek as a screwball action-comedy, raplace Captain Kirk with a clueless penguin with a pompadour, and you’ve got the basic concept. Penguins was created by Big Idea (the studio behind VeggieTales), so each episode is built around a Bible lesson form the book of Proverbs. Some of the scripts are really wacky and hilarious, so I’m hoping the show gains a solid audience.

Big Idea owns all of the artwork I’ve done for the series, but they’ve graciously allowed me to post it on the blog—as long as I don’t show any artwork for a given episode until after that episode airs. So watch for lots of concept sketches in the coming weeks.

I didn’t actually start work on the show until episode #2 (which airs next Saturday), but if you happen to catch the premiere please leave a comment to let me know what you think. I’m not fishing for compliments. I genuinely want to know your honest opinion. It airs this Saturday at 10:30am CST on NBC.