Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Mel Zwyer

For the initial development phase of 'Dark Knight Returns Pt. 1,' I had the pleasure of attempting to figure out the design theories with Mel Zwyer. That's one of his early development goodness up top.
  Mel and I would take our licks from Bruce Timm while we tried to decide what 'Millerisms' to extrapolate. We needed to see which elements worked and didn't work for animation. We looked at Frank Miller's later work like 'Sin City' to draw inspiration from. We dug up some of the iconic post-DK pinup/splash page images to see how refined the style had gotten. Ultimately, we wanted to have it FEEL like Frank Miller without killing the overseas animators.
      It was a great experience to collaborate with such an inspired and professional artist for a number of reasons. Trust me when I say, it's a RARITY.  Many artists, in my experience, prefer to work in their little sandbox, shutting themselves off from the rest of the world. All fine and dandy when working on your own stuff, but it makes for a difficult production process when animation truly requires a collaborative team effort.
    It's pretty cool when people you work with are all on the same page. To compare notes, to see what does and doesn't work, to see cohesion.  I got a kick out of looking at one of our character lineups (before Mel left to be a fancy DIRECTOR on ' Young Justice') to see that all the characters looked like they belonged in the same universe.
     Anyway, hopefully Mel will post some of his DK development artwork on his site. He also boarded some scenes for part 1 and 2 and contributed a LOT to 'Justice League: Doom' from designs to layouts to storyboards. Be sure to check out his site!

© and TM WB Animation and DC Comics

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