Category Archives: Character Design

"Let’s Draw Endangered Species" Pinterespiration

Lets Draw Endangered Species, pre-previz by the best artists in animation collected to inspire your own stories and character designs. If working with animal-based characters consider using your talents to make endangered species known and lovable.  
This Pinterest Gallery compliments an otherwise long-term project: 

Eric Machmer: Saludar a la Chihuahuita! (Previz for ‘Friday and Sunshine’)

She’s the most feared, fearsome, loathed, lonesomest, dejected and rejected animal in the zoo. Lives beneath the Snack Shack near the kids petting park (yes, that’s a bullet in her head). “Chihuahuita” is a term of endearment for Chihuahuas.
Friday, a numbat in the foreground above, is an endangered Australian anteater…super cute, nearly a national mascot (originally she was a different animal with longer ears…).

Extraordinary 2003 History Channel Documentary on Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss: Rhymes and Reasons (2003 documentary) Part 1 of 9
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Seuss
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. 
Look’em over with care. 
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” 
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. 
In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. 
It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do 
to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. 
Don’t stew. Just go right along. 
You’ll start happening too.
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. 
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. 
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. 
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups 
and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. 
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. 
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. 
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. 
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darker. 
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! 
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? 
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And if you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? 
Or, maybe, not quite? 
Or go around back and sneak in from behind? 
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, 
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused that you’ll start in 
to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace 
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, 
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, 
or a plane to go or the mail to come, 
or the rain to go or the phone to ring, 
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No 
or waiting for their hair to grow. 
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite 
or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, 
for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, 
or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, 
or Another Chance. 
Everyone is just waiting.
No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. 
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. 
With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! 
Ready for anything under the sky. 
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! 
There is fun to be done! 
There are points to be scored. 
There are games to be won. 
And the magical things you can do with that ball 
will make you the winning-est winner of all. 
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, 
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. 
Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, 
Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll 
meet things that scare you right out of your pants. 
There are some, down the road between hither and yon, 
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go though the weather be foul. 
On you will go though your enemies prowl. 
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. 
Onward up many a frightening creek, 
though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. 
On and on you will hike. 
And I know you’ll hike far 
and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. 
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. 
So be sure when you step. 
Step with care and great tact 
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. 
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. 
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby 
or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, 
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Role Model to Superheroes: Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 

Role Model for Superheroes: Ares (Ἄρης) Leader of Righteous Men

Why did Aphrodite love Ares?

Why are these two gods the only passionate lasting truly romantic lovers in all of Greek and Roman mythology?

Why was Ares the true love of the Goddess of Love? Bloodthirsty Ares, Ares the destroyer, despised Ares, Ares god of war. Ares hated by Olympians, distrusted by all except Aphrodite. Why? Good Male Passion.

He was not considered the strongest god — even Aphrodite’s legal husband Hephaestus, patron of blacksmiths, might have been stronger.  Most gods were physically fit: Apollo beat Ares at Olympic boxing; the physically strongest was Hercules. Ares is never portrayed as a hulking giant.

Rape is a constant theme in mythology. Isn’t it strange there is not a single attribution of non-consensual sex to him. That is important. It is exceptionally unusual. Character defining.

The friends of Ares with whom he walks through Thracian woods deep in thought are Themis, the personification of Divine Law, and Dike, the personification of Justice and Fair Judgement.

There are other names for this misunderstood archetype — portraits now forgotten in popular culture: Leader of Righteous Men, Defender of Cities, Father of Victory, Ally of Divine Law, Friend of Justice. Bold Ares. Courageous Ares. Loyal, Trustworthy Righteous Indignation Incarnate.

Prayers to Ares ask for help avoiding the folly of personal hubris and blind arrogance, weaknesses attributed to this archetype. Ares was expected to marry Aphrodite.  In mythology Zeus offered her to anyone able to open her cage. Ares’ over-confident raw passion failed, rendering Aphrodite and Ares heart-broken; the cunning inventions of Hephaestus, blacksmith to the gods, won her legal marriage.

These personifications of Male and Female passion nevertheless had six children: Harmonia, Eros, Phobos, Demos (Dread), Adrestia (Revenge), and Anteros (Requited Love). They continued their love despite her husband.

I am fascinated by this undomesticated hero, this bane of tyrants, leader of rebels, maker of civil unrest. I am also disgusted this personality-type which once served as an ancient noble role-model has been blasphemed as bloodthirsty, impetuous, and unkind.

Ares personifies the difference between a Good Man and a sycophantic Nice Guy. The former stands up for brutal virtues, leading to depth of character, responsibility, and passion-filled life purpose; the later submits to whims, purposes of others — everything: his soul, his heart, his goals, his love…always approachable, endlessly patient, a polite woman with ED. (It’s interesting the sister of Ares, Athena, goddess of wealth, wisdom, strategic warfare — is a virgin.)

Today why are two-thirds of divorces initiated by women?? Why are Iron John and No More Christian Mr. Nice Guy (a book written by a Christian minister, forwarded by a Jewish woman) — bestsellers??

Aphrodite loved Ares. His person, spirit, sense of self.  In Strong Hearted Ares she met a man with a beautiful mission unswayed. Ares could speak to the most irresistible goddess as a person. He could care for her interests apart from his physical desire. Ares’ strength was to see her beauty while retaining his. Upon Aphrodite other gods fawned, lost composure, flattered and grasped. They became meek and mild: pristine, clean, smooth, soft, unscarred, flatterers — dishonest hypocrites. Pleasant. Unconfrontational.

In Ares, Aphrodite found the archetypical male, a man pursuing his own righteous interests. She found a friend who would place her “inside the shield,” someone who would stand up for and protect her, but also tell her the truth, encourage her potential, and withstand shallow pleas and supplications. Aphrodite found a friend. Ares Gravitas. A companion. Theirs was true love.
Friends of Ares:
Children with Aphrodite:

To Create Character: Start with One Detailed Eye

To isolate and pinpoint factors that contribute to the “magic” of Rembrandt’s portraits, computer-rendering programs were used to recreate four of the artist’s most famous portraits. Replicating Rembrandt’s techniques, scientists placed a sharper focus on specific areas of each model’s face, such as the eyes.

Working with a team from the Vision Lab in UBC’s Department of Psychology, Dr. DiPaola tracked viewers’ eye movements while they examined the original photographs and the Rembrandt-like portraits.

“When viewing the Rembrandt-like portraits, viewers fixated on the detailed eye faster and stayed there for longer periods of time, resulting in calmer eye movements,” DiPaola said. “The transition from sharp to blurry edges, known as ‘lost and found edges,’ also directed the viewers’ eyes around the portrait in a sort of narrative.”

The study is the first to scientifically verify the impact of these “eye-guiding” techniques on viewers and to attribute its origin to Rembrandt. Viewers also preferred portraits with this “eye-guiding narrative” to the original photographs with uniform details across the tableau.

The Case for Ellification of the Universe, ASAP PDQ PLZ : ) ♬♫♪♫

First, the most obvious argument for Ellie: she exists as a proven character created by artists still working together at the most successful animation studio in the frickin’ universe, Pixar. She would be hard to screw up. Second: Ellie radiates virtues and passions difficult for any of us to evoke whatever our gender, age, or calling; she can show humanity worldwide how to make everyday life fun, meaningful, and authentic — while being entertaining and adorable.

This is especially important when independent, expressive, ambitious young girls, women, and the men who adore them (and who are made stronger by them) are under attack so explicitly on cultural — not economic — fronts, worldwide. As bizarre as it may be, we share a world with fathers who pay physicians to cut the clitori off their daughters — at a rate of over 2 million girls every year; amazingly, we are also sharing our God-forsaken planet with parents who kill — solely because their children are girls — nearly 100 million Ellies before they are born every year. Neither of these direct assaults against female humans are due to economic reasons. How is this possible? These attacks are motivated by ideas which can be changed for free — at no cost — even while temporarily psychotic minds undergoing change pay to be altered and entertained.

Then there are the glass ceilings of our open-air global madhouse: the incompetent uneducated men throughout the world who are somehow dependent upon women to calculate, translate and basically transact everyday business for the companies these men supposedly manage.

Dowries, arranged marriages, veils, chadors, mandatory headscarfs, required overcoats, full body swimsuits, hajibs, niqabs and God knows what else to hide and sequester feminine beauty — round off this cultural attack on all humanity. We do not need to make societies wealthier to change these ideas. We can change expectations by teaching lifestyles embodied in entertaining, fun, endearing characters everyone wants to watch everywhere.

Pixar could run with this opportunity as quickly and as far as Ellie’s spirit will take them — with little risk, with the virtual assurance of profitable accolades, and, with the satisfaction of having woven deeply into our global social fabric the most important female spirit thus far recognized. She does not need to be a freckled red-headed cartoon, either; Ellie’s spirit could be embodied in an animated caterpillar, carrot, or gigantic monster — who can imagine what: with a vibrant sense of self-respect, a fun uninhibited exuberant drive for self-expression, and an uncompromising straightforward sense of oneself as a unique female person.

The following are comments by National Public Radio’s Linda Holmes about Ellie from an article titled “Dear Pixar, From All The Girls With Band-Aids On Their Knees“:

“Please make a movie about a girl who is not a princess […] Of the ten movies you’ve released so far, ten of them have central characters who are boys or men, or who are anthropomorphized animals or robots or bugs who are voiced by and imagined as boys or men. […] And Up…oh, Up has Ellie, who I could have watched forever. Seen only in flashbacks to the main story, Ellie is warm and hilarious, ambitious and fearless, and then gone for most of the movie. She provides the engine for the story, in many ways, but it’s an old man and a little boy who actually get to hit the gas.”

If you would like to watch the entire segment of Ellie’s spirit embodied as an adorable young girl — the most profound Pixar character yet created — check out:

Congratulations to Peter Docter, Bob Peterson, Ronnie del Carmen and the entire Pixar story crew for boarding such a precious positive role model.

O Ellie, Ellie! Wherefore art thou!!!!!!!!!!

(As an interesting side note on the transmission and life of ideas independent from any one one particular mind, the motivation for this post arose after Emma Coats (a story artist at Pixar) asked through Twitter “where have all the folk heroines gone?” with a link to this article: Google Cache (backed-up on Titlesequences here). A moment in the life of this idea can be seen by clicking on the ‘Favorites’ link of my profile: Changing the world is a team sport; righteous fury is a gift from God. Enjoy!)

Green Dye, Pink Arms, Yellow Hair = Fun!

Check out Furry Puppet Studio’s cool uplifting characters at:

Looking forward to seeing more cheerful fun creative characters from Zack Buchman, Maria Gurevich, and the furilicious Furry Puppet Team.
“Don’t let their innocent faces fool you. On the inside, these puppets are as complex as the USS Enterprise.” If you are interested in the technology behind puppetry check out these eye sockets on Flickr.
…click their site’s grey gizmos! ; )