As the only story artist, I felt obligated to provide a brilliant little gem to build our short around, except I couldn't think of anything, frozen as I was with fear. Thankfully, the team stepped up with an array of concepts, from my bizarre "ghost in a teapot," to Anna Bron's poignant "ice boy loves fire girl," to Alex Curtis' epic adaptation of the "Chinese paintbrush" myth. Below are some of my sketches for ghost/tea and Fire & Ice.
All work is the property of Walt Disney Animation Studios, 2010.
Ghostea was too weird, Chinese Paintbrush was too ambitious, and we couldn't figure out a satisfying ending for the star-crossed Fire and Ice sprites.
Finally, Nick Orsi helped us narrow the field to "A child draws something and it comes to life." We all did takes on this concept. Mine featured a little girl playing hopscotch on a hot summer day. When she hops into the last square, she is plunged into an underwater fantasy.
The idea was that the real world would exist in 3D and the fantasy world would be a 2D chalk drawing. I wanted it to look like a child's imagining of the ocean: full of naive wonder.
At this point, our little sunburnt girl had evolved into an African American girl thanks to some designs by Nick Orsi. I thought the concept could work just as well.
After a few days of exploring, I was able to convert our chalk fantasy into a cohesive storyboard. Here's the animatic we made from my sketches, edited by Craig Peck.
Then a few weeks that blurred by. We were all dazed from lack of sleep. At some point, I painted some color keys to help get the lighters started.
I also painted the mural that comes at the very end of the short, based on fantastic fish designs by Andre Medina. Sadly, I don't have a copy of the original file (it's somewhere in the Disney vault) but you can see my work all over the sidewalk at the end of the movie.
And here, six weeks after we first got the assignment, is the finished short. Huzzah for the Disney Associates of 2010!
And now for the legal bit:
Materials produced at the Talent Development Summer Associate Program at Disney Animation 2010. Property of Walt Disney Animation Studios (“WDAS”). No use or reproduction without the prior written permission of WDAS. © Disney. All rights reserved.