Adventures in Character Design - Curl Up & Dye

When I decided to make Curl Up & Dye into an animated short, I knew the first thing I had to do was create some character designs. I've always loved drawing, but I knew that I was rusty and I wanted this project to be professional. 

So, I started my quest for a professional character designer and quickly stumbled upon Tom Davis. His portfolio was impressive and I immediately knew that he'd be able to come up with a style that matched my taste. But would he want to work with me, a first-time filmmaker?

I reached out to Tom and he immediately wrote me back. He was super positive about the Curl Up & Dye concept and agreed to work on the project. I shared the script and character descriptions with Tom and he asked me a few questions about style. Then he started exploring silhouettes, body shapes, and colors concepts for Yettie, the main character. 

After we landed on a final style for Yettie, Tom moved on to exploring designs for Queenie. When I wrote the original script I imagined Queenie as the beautiful queen in Sleeping Beauty or Maleficent, but as soon as Tom shared his explorations, I realized how funny it would be if she were short, squat, and completely full of herself. Tom even had the idea that Queenie should keep her compact mirror, MirrorDeath, in her excessive cleavage for easy access. Brilliant!

Next, Tom designed concepts for Beatrice and MirrorDeath. In my mind, I had already cast Chris Bagley as the voice of MirrorDeath (even though I hadn't even mentioned the project to him). I knew that I wanted MirrorDeath to be this weird, rocker dude. As usual, Tom hit the ball out of the park!

As the final step, Tom created model turnarounds, facial expressions, and pose sheets for each character. He also created a character line-up.

It's amazing to see characters that only exist in your imagination come to life on the screen. Also, I feel super lucky to have found Tom. He's been a great mentor and friend during this incredible journey and I've learned so much from him about the animation process.

Stay tuned for more about the process of creating Curl Up & Dye! And if you haven't pledged or followed us on Seed&Spark, please do so now: We only need a few more pledges to the get the green light!