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Character Designs
How I got the job...




During the time I was working on Rock and Rule from Dec. 1980 through late 1982, I was supplementing my income by doing some freelance illustration work on a magazine called, Youth Profile.

In each issue was an insert that required about 15 cartoon illustrations. There was one constant character throughout the series named Herman. There were several supplemental characters that I designed as well.

The first piece that I did for this magazine was in the Asterix style. It was a very poor imitation. To make matters worse, I did the final art in pencil, which only made the printed version look really bad.

To this point, everything I had ever done was in pencil, that's just the way animation works. Pen and ink was totally alien to me. During this time I was watching some Roger Ramjet reruns. I remember seeing them as a kid during lunch when they first were shown in 1967. I loved the style, so I began drawing in that style. I also started finishing the drawings with a Pilot Fineliner, very shaky at first and lots of white-out for the mistakes.

I would pin the drawings up at my desk at Nelvana. I have to assume, in hindsight, that the owners of the studio would wander around late at night checking out everyones desks, because in Jan. of 1983 I was called in to work on the character designs for The Inspector Gadget Show. I guess that what I was doing caught their eyes and they felt that my drawings suited their needs for the new show.

The principle characters were already designed; Gadget, Quimby, Penny, Brain, The Claw, and M.A.D. Cat. My job was to initially come up with all the M.A.D. Agents throughout the series. I did up rotations for seven agents and then moved on to the first show called The Circus. I was lucky as the storyboards were already in production and the guy boarding that show had already come up with some preliminary sketches, so I just worked off of them.

I began to get scripts and would read through them to find out how many and what type of characters were required. I had about 3 days per show to design around 3 to 4 characters. I designed all the friends that Penny meets, the main M.A.D. Agent villian in each show, and any secondary characters. I was also responsible for the animals and every so often I would design some of the vehicles, like the big M.A.D. submarine or that type of thing.

Each character was drawn in a full rotation; front, 3/4 front, and 3/4 rear as well as a couple of expression poses to show character attitude. These were then passed on to the storyboard artists who were also responsible for coming up with the location designs and the odd prop design. This entire package was then sent over to the studio in the Orient that was producing the series. They had their own designers who would then draw the final model sheets for the animators.

In some cases, they stuck with the designs I had done, in others they simply redesigned the character. The drawings shown here are just a small sampling of the roughly 300 characters that I designed over those six months. I did the coloring for my own amusement and portfolio presentation.

It was alot of fun but it began to drag a bit after about 50 shows. There were 64 shows in the first series, I didn't work at all on the second series.

The design of Iji Waruda San and Syco was for an episode that featured an Oriental version of The Claw. I really liked the design but they decided not to use them in the final show.

I had decided that I had had enough on show 60 and I left for a vacation in California, leaving the remaining 6 shows to Drew Edwards who had started designing on about show 58. I was simply burnt out.

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