Monday, November 26, 2012


All films go through many ideas, designs, scripts, etc.  Lots of stuff gets discarded along the way, but it's always fun to go back through the digital piles of artwork that stacked up on the hard drive over the course of production and see what got left behind.
An early sketch of Santa.  I like to keep character's shapes simple.  Probably because they are just easier to draw when they are less complicated.  I wanted to incorporate the image of a Christmas tree in the design of his beard and mustache, so I just carried it up into at point on his Russian hat.  If you squint it makes sense...kind of.

At one point, Man in the Moon was actually in the story as a full fledged character.  This was my sketch for what it would be like for the Guardians if he had suddenly transported them up to the moon and they got a chance to see the world they protect from his vantage point.
An idea I had for the Tooth Fairy Palace, inspired by a temple in Asia that looked like it was made of teeth by the way the stone was used.  Seems like a bit of this shape language stuck in the film's design of her realm.

Pitch, aka the BoogeyMan's design was always a bit unclear as to what people really imagined such an iconic bad guy should look like.  Just a few sketches; the top one where I imagined him ingesting Dreamsand and pouring back out nightmares.  I liked the idea of having tubes/spikes jutting out from him, a bit like some sort of sea creature.  Not sure why...oh yeah, it's gross.
We also toyed with an idea for Jack's backstory; he and Pitch could have been like brothers.  Since Jack is winter, and winter kind of equates to death or hibernation that maybe Jack had been a bad guy but he and Pitch had a fight which cost Jack his memory. This would have given the Guardians reason to not trust him. Of course this was years before Megamind, and Wreck it Ralph covered the same story idea.
A black and white mood sketch for "evil" Jack.
"Evil" Jack riding out on a cloud of nightmares to confront Santa's sleigh.
Another quick mood sketch from the interior of the destroyed Tooth Fairy palace as the Guardians arrive too late to stop it's destruction.

Another idea I had was for Pitch to use his nightmares to impersonate the Guardians to make children not want to believe in them.  This of course would power Pitch to greater strength.
The now monumentally strong Pitch trying to engulf Santa.  (-Just realized...I come up with some bat-shit crazy ideas!?!)
On a slightly lighter note, Santa meeting Bunny's egg minions...unsuccessfully.

I LOVE Sandman and the idea that he can create anything from his Dreamsand.  Top image is Sandman conjuring an army of sand-snowmen.  The next image is Bunny riding a sandwhale, machine-gunning out Easter eggs. 
This is my favorite image that I created while working on Guardians.  Not really sure why. It was from a sequence I worked on when Sandman had an Island of Dreams that was destroyed by Pitch.  The other Guardians brought Jack along on their quest to save Sandman.  It served as a crazy intro for Jack to this fantasy world and the stakes to the characters he was just introduced to, if Pitch were to succeed.  For me, it's really one of those rare instances where the sketch actually came out exactly like I'd envisioned it.  It feels fantastical, actiony, and kind of sweet all at the same time. 


  1. I was wondering where the idea for having a tattooed santa came from? Looks super awesome in my opinion!

  2. Ignacio- The tats on Santa came long after I had left the project. I didn't even hear about them until I saw the teaser poster with them at work! Glad you liked it.

    Andreas- Thanks for having a look!!! Much appreciated.

  3. Amazing Ideas! The Santa Beard/tree idea is fantastic!