Fantasia was a huge influence to me growing up. In fact while I sat in the theater watching Fantasia for the first time when I was 9 or 10 years of age, I made the decision that I wanted to work in animation. My favorite scene in Fantasia back then was The Pastoral Symphony. Above are Cupids from the Fantasia's Pastoral Symphony, below is a render of a character I am developing, Duncan. As I looked at Fantasia I saw some influences coming through in the body shape of Duncan and the cupids. More important than an artistic design of a character will be to match the playfulness and the discovery found in the Pastoral Symphony.
I have always enjoyed Norman Rockwell's work, as much for the presentation of nostalgia as the beautiful renderings. Here one of my characters, Garret Longhopper, is posed next to this famous Rockwell rendering of Abraham Lincoln. The relationship between these two is multi-threaded. When I designed Garret I was thinking of an older wise grasshopper but with some mannerisms of Walt Disney's Goofy. I wanted Garret to look "nostalgic" and I was picturing a Norman Rockwell feel to him with an Abe Lincoln type build (the long chin was an homage to Lincoln's beard). After I had already designed Garret, I found this Norman Rockwell Lincoln; it pictured Lincoln in rural Midwest farmland, doing farm type work, similar to the farmer back story I gave to Garret. Even the wrinkles and the clothes of Lincoln reminded me of Garrets clothes. I felt like I really accomplished what I was going for.
All good things start with a great story. I take inspiration from "The Gruffalo" a great children's story which was brought to life on the TV screen. Like Axel Scheffler, Gruffalo's Illustrator, I am Illustrating a children's book, I am also a 3D artist. When I came upon "The Gruffalo" looking at 3D art, I had no idea it was first a book. I grabbed screen shots of the movie because I felt the 3D artists achieved the storybook type rendering and modeling I am looking to achieve when I bring my Illustrations to life.