GrizzGruff is Born

I’m working on a new project using the same style of design work as when I was designing for Pinky Dinky Doo. This is a photo collage design for a fun client who definitely has a vision. I thought I’d show a bit of my process since this is so different from my typical stuff. Everyone, meet GrizzGruff. GrizzGruff is a misunderstood beast. He’s happy in his own little garden but tends to get pulled into rough and wild situations that are a bit out of hand or hoof. . . . So what’s a gigantic beast with horns, a ring in his nose and hoofs to do? Typically these moments of panic are when GrizzGruff does some of his best landscaping.

To reach a finished product like the one above I sat down with my client at a pretty low key diner in Brooklyn Heights and pulled out my sketchbook. GrizzGruff is just one of my new darlings . . . so we discussed the project in it’s entirety. I started fooling around with a few broad ideas for Grizzgruff. The client was set on horns and hoofs, but wanted him to be intimidating but comical as well. . . I suggested the nose ring. . . the sketching was fast and fun. I knew full well what the outcome of the product was going to be so that allowed me a lot of freedom to do very loose and fast, funny sketches. We fell in love with the one below.

However, while I was set on giving GrizzGruff a Teenage Mutant Ninja T-Shirt, the client wanted him to be built. Whatever. . . guys who wear TMNT shirts can be buff. . .

So after we agreed on a general idea and I was promised creative freedom as long as GrizzGruff wasn’t wearing a shirt and looked pretty much like the sketch above, I came home and began to gather my photographs. I knew I needed long haired dogs to create the textures I was going to need. Typically I use stock photos for this process but I had a few friends who wanted their fluffy pals to be part of the action. They took the three puppy photos below for me. The cow isn’t an acquaintance.
From here I just started to cut in Photoshop, pulling textures and colors from different places, brightening up or dulling different patches as I went along slowly building our lovely, misunderstood buddy from the ground up. You can see that the Shar Pei’s nose is GrizzGruff’s too and that his muscles are all Pomeranian. I really like this gig. From here these designs will be passed off to layout artists and from there they’ll get handed out to animators. I love designing for animation. It’s great to have something designed by me alone, distributed out to 60 animators and put together in an animated cartoon! Then I really get to see everything come to life and I can forget that it took tons of people to pull it together. It’s the best!

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