Week 04 Art Direction

We’ve narrowed in on Scott Wills and Jamie Hewlett as artists that we would like to take inspiration from. We’re at first drawn to them just for the pure visual appeal. Their art is stunning and we want to get this level of appeal into 3D! This is a pin board of their art and influences.

I looked a little into their influences today to see where their art is coming from. In an interview on Consequence of Sound, Jamie Hewlett talks about being influenced from artists in Mad magazine – Brunel, Mort Drucker and Jack Davis, and also the satirical cartoonist Giles.



There’s a lot of caricatured anatomy and simplified comic shapes. Going from this, we shouldn’t be afraid to push our characters’ anatomy but we should also examine Hewlett’s work for how it creates appeal.



Jamie Hewlett

Looking into Scott Wills, this book has some useful information:

Makin’ Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies

Some parallels that are very obvious between Samurai Jack and our show, but didn’t hit me until I read about it,

The backgrounds were such a key point of Tartakovsky’s vision – after all, it’s about a guy who travels from place to place; in many ways, it’s all about the environment – that the art direction and painting were absolutely crucial.

Our show is very similar to Samurai Jack in that our three characters are travelling to new places every episode, so of course we need to make sure that the art direction for the environments is as beautiful as possible too!

I didn’t know that the artist Dan Krall contributed to a lot of the line work which Wills would paint, so both of them should technically be credited with the art direction on Samurai Jack. Wills loved the direction from Tartakovsky who would push him to be “much more inventive with color…be crazier”. He also cites the graphic designs of Charley Harper to be an influence.


Charley Harper

“…real isn’t necessarily better, he says: ‘I like design. I like reducing things to their essence and simplifying things – stylization and design'”

“I can paint totally realistically, like photo-graphically – and then, totally on the opposite side, is full blown UPA-type stylization. I try to combine everything that’s good about realistic painting and feature painting, and everything that’s good about stylization, and bring it together…..have cinematic lighting, with mood and depth, but at the same time have it feel stylized.” – Scott Wills

Wills was also influenced by Bill Wray who was a mentor to him while working on The Ren and Stimpy show and he also cites Hana-Barbera and Japanese prints as influence.


Backgrounds from Samurai Jack (2001 -2017)

Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy also incorporates the sharp line work that we like in Hewlett’s work. Alec shared this 3D model of Hellboy by Alexandre Collonge which I think has nicely translated the sharp line work into hard edged modeling of organic forms. The shading and texturing is great too. We’ll have to decide how much of the black ink we want to translate to 3D.


Images from Alexandre Collonge’s tutorial

Going on Yuan’s advice, we also need to consider how our style and story work together.

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