Concept Art for Tim's Frankenweenie

About 5 years ago, Don Hahn asked me if I would do some conceptual art for an idea he had to develop Tim Burton's 1980s live action short film "Frankenweenie" into a full length animated film. He was going to pitch the idea to Tim and wanted to know if I would come back to Disney  to do 2 months worth of development art for his pitch to Tim. I jumped at it because although I was doing freelance for Brenda Chapman Lima's The Bear and the Bow (Brave) at the time, I still had plenty of bandwidth to take on Frankenweenie too. Frankly, it was just great to do art again after so many years directing. And to work with good friends, all the better. Tim was one of my best friends when we both were starting out at Disney in the early 80s and I was, like everybody else, a huge fan of his style of art. I was excited to see if I could mimic the Tim Burtonesque look the final film would most definitely have. I was around for Tim's making of the original film, watching him draw away in his pad all the time, pinning up incredible originals in his office, and going over all his ideas as he planned out what he wanted to do. I always thought it was a genius idea and so how cool to be asked to be a part of the remake in animation form, albeit a mere two months of coolio. In those two months, I produced art that I am very proud of.  I was emboldened by Tim's insanely pushed, free form design sense and Ed Gorey's precision line look. It propelled me to go further in my usual design choices than I ever would have.

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There was an evil car salesman with a dumb henchman. 

There was an evil car salesman with a dumb henchman. 

I designed the evil car salesman as if he were a California Governor type.

I designed the evil car salesman as if he were a California Governor type.

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I thought it would be fun to have Sparky have to deal with a cat's leg sewn onto him.

I thought it would be fun to have Sparky have to deal with a cat's leg sewn onto him.

Sparky hates his cat leg

Sparky hates his cat leg

The only bone Sparky wants to bury is his cat leg bone.

The only bone Sparky wants to bury is his cat leg bone.

I thought it could be a running gag where he continues to tear off his leg and bury it no matter how many times it is sewn back on. 

I thought it could be a running gag where he continues to tear off his leg and bury it no matter how many times it is sewn back on. 

Caught! Victor once again has to resew the leg back onto Sparky. 

Caught! Victor once again has to resew the leg back onto Sparky. 

Early Victor design  

Early Victor design

 

I thought we needed a good reason for Victor to have to replace all of Sparky's limbs.

I thought we needed a good reason for Victor to have to replace all of Sparky's limbs.

Neighbor concept.

Neighbor concept.

Punishment for tearing off his leg again.

Punishment for tearing off his leg again.

Victor's devoted acolyte Edgar "E" Gore.

Victor's devoted acolyte Edgar "E" Gore.

Alt. Victor concept.

Alt. Victor concept.

Neighbor concept.

Neighbor concept.

One of my favorite drawings I have ever done. 

One of my favorite drawings I have ever done. 

My thinking was that people usually pick a costume that reflects their inner wish fulfillment.

My thinking was that people usually pick a costume that reflects their inner wish fulfillment.

I gave an option of an Indian teacher.. 

I gave an option of an Indian teacher.. 

Sparky's beloved.

Sparky's beloved.

Cleopatra complex. Her costume would reflect that. 

Cleopatra complex. Her costume would reflect that. 

I thought it would be fun if Sparky had a party favor for a tongue. Or maybe that was Don Hahn's idea, I forget.

I thought it would be fun if Sparky had a party favor for a tongue. Or maybe that was Don Hahn's idea, I forget.

Maybe Victor would have a rat to interact with in the cellar or the attic.

Maybe Victor would have a rat to interact with in the cellar or the attic.

It is impossible to  design as extremely or unexpectedly as Tim does but Lord knows I tried. 

It is impossible to  design as extremely or unexpectedly as Tim does but Lord knows I tried.