My story calls for a bird to go after the Chameleon. Looking up the natural enemies of Chameleons, I discover that one of its more exotic and beautiful hunters is the Hornbill. So I decide to go with that and start drawing Hornbills.
But as I'm drawing these birds I keep thinking I've seen this bird somewhere before. Then it hits me...
It turns out that Zazu from the Lion King is a Yellow Billed Hornbill! (And he's designed a lot better than mine too >:-( I like how they designed the tail. I might have to "borrow" that!).
So you know what that means. I have to design a Hornbill that doesn't look anything like Zazu. Taking the drawings I did of the real birds (top), I'm looking for shapes I can exploit.
Boomerang shapes are always cool. The design on the bottom right (above) looks good. Lets see if I can come up with a body shape for it:
It looks like I'm getting somewhere with this. Playing with shapes and proportions here. I'm favoring the upright position of this bird as opposed to the "squat" position of Zazu. That will help distinguish my bird from Zazu. I'm going to go play with this some more. Davelyman out!
Alright, a full character turnaround. A logical next step after the head rotation.
He's a... funny looking character, I must say. He doesn't look like what everybody else is doing. Maybe thats a good thing? Maybe not, one guy thought he was a frog :-(. But there is a reason for this design, I'm trying to stay somewhat faithful to his original 1985 design I did in my young 20s. But I do want to push the appeal of that design. He has come a long way. But he still has a way to go. I feel I have pushed his design as far as I can but he still needs more. I'm going to have to show this around and see if I can get some quality input and really nail his design. Your comments are welcome too.
The first few seasons of the Hey, Arnold! show where made the old fashioned way - with cells and film. Later the show went digital. Craig Bartlett, the shows creator, was gracious enough to give away these cells to the crew for our birthdays. Having worked on the show for almost 5 years, I was able to collect 4 cells. Here is one of them:
I consider myself very fortunate to have worked on the Hey, Arnold! show and it remains a highlight in my animation career. So I really treasure these cells. I'll post more of them later.
After drawing some attitude expression drawings, I feel that I'm starting to get a good design for this character. So I attempted a head rotation:
I was a little surprised by his Micky Mouse qualities that became evident in the back view. But I'm sure when he is fully rendered, those similarities won't be evident. He isn't supposed to be anything like Mickey (there- that should put me legally in the clear!).
A more refined approach to the expression sheet format.
I'm still learning how to draw this guy. There are some here that I like. Some others that need some more thinking through. I particularly like the second pose on the bottom row. He's like "yyyeah...". The first drawing on the middle row is the first time I've gotten a decent side view drawing of him. I've been struggling with the placement of the eyes for this view. Here the eye is slightly right of center. That looks about right to me. Overall though, he's looking pretty good.
I have to act this guy, so I'm drawing some expressions to see what I can get out of him. When I tried this before I was drawing him all cartoony and he just ended up looking grotesque. So this time I drew him without any squash and stretch to his skull. All the expressions are purely from the eyes and mouth. Next, I want to try to push the expressions more by allowing a little squash and stretch. We'll see how far I can push it and still have it look like his 'ol happy self.