Monday, July 21, 2014

Pepe and Lucas - Making the Magician.

 The Magician was the last main character to be designed. As the story was being developed, he was a rival love interest for the mime, then he was just a bad guy, then he was dropped from the story, and then, eventually, he was brought back at the end to hint at a new antagonist for the next chapter in the "Pepe and Lucas" narrative. My first set of designs were made long before we settled on the clown or the mime design and as such, none of them felt right for the part. However, I did like a lot of the ideas I came up with.

Our starting point for the Magician was that of the three types of entertainment we'd be showcasing, the magicians would be the dominant type of entertainers in the show industry. They would be defined by illusions and control and would come off largely as the upper class of entertainers.  Refinement and luxury with a sense of power and pomposity were pretty easy since magicians typically dress that way - so capes and suits abounded in my designs.

 I don't know how this would have ever fit in the story, but I loved the idea that the magician could grow little shadow rabbits out of his head to act as his henchmen.

 Inspired by the costume Ian McShane wore in the theatrical production of Faust. I really liked the way they stylized a formal suit.
 Evil Napoleon.
 Magic transformation gone wrong New Yorker, Eustace Tilly.
 Day of the Dead style magician.
 Thug magician.
 I don't know.

 Back alley hunchback magician.

Snake charmer. Charmer of snakes.

 If you've read my previous posts, you know that the above sketch became the rival design for the clown, which was transformed into the magician. It was easier to maintain a visual style this way, since each main character was developed at different stages of the story in different styles. If only I could have done that for the mime. By the time the magician was put back into the story, his role was reduced significantly as well as the role of magic. The mime would essentially have limitless imagination power, the clown would have a thousand mechanical gadgets, and the magician would have no real power at all, just the illusion of power. He was still regal, but in a Vegas showman way. Over glitzy and hiding behind smoke and mirrors. My director was developing a background story where magicians had risen to the top of the entertainment business, which controlled the city which our short takes place in, and behaved much like the mob, controlling everything from behind the scenes. As a consequence, other forms of entertainment - miming and clowning, would have been crushed and reduced to street performance. I developed this idea a little more when I designed the traveling circus that Pepe trained at, now broken down and exiled to the outskirts of the city.

The final magician design.

As with all the characters, once we had finished designs, I was tasked to create additional characters for that form of entertainment that we might meet in later episodes/shorts. With such a cartoonier and more abstract style, not much of my first round of magician designs carried through. A lot of the mystique was lost in favor of more sequins and more ego. You can see one female design based off of the mime physique :) and several of the other magicians are based on the main magician's design.

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