A few years ago I was working at Disney as an intern or apprentice or disciple or fellow or whatever thing they call it now. I'm pretty sure I spent most of my time there working on Prep and Landing, and I have a big fat pile of elf drawings to back up that assumption. I dug them up, dusted them off, and here they are!
One of the first cracks I took at designing for the project was this line-up of elves. I was really shooting to be a character designer back then, and when I look at these I remember why: that s#!% is FUN!
Unfortunately for me, I only have the print outs of these guys and not the actual files. Way to not plan ahead, me. I had to scan them and past them back together in p-shop, which is why their background is all funky. Ah well.
I have it on good authority that this line up is also in THIS book. I haven't yet seen it with my own eyes!
I took a crack at designing some of the main characters too. I think these little doodles of Magee are my favorite out of all of this work. Her design in the final was pretty close to this, except less angry, and they didn't use my idea to have her coffee cup say "SHUT UP", but it still makes me laugh anyway.
Typical of me, I got tea on one of my Magees. Oerps.
When this project started the things we were looking at for inspiration were old school stop-motion Christmas specials, you know the ones, Rudolph and such! Paul Coker Jr.! Which made me really excited because I LOVE that stuff! So my ideas leaned towards simplicity and cuteness, even when the project began to sway in a direction that was, to my mind, fairly bland.
The two main dudes were going to be very different. You know: a tall goof and a short serious.
The directors liked my little brown-haired elf girl from the line-up, and they thought she might make a good secretary for Santa. So did a few drawings of her looking secretarial:
I still think she's cute.
I don't honestly completely remember what the deal was with these guys. They are supposed to be mechanics or something. Mechanic elves.
This was my friend Erik's character styling suggestion:
Which I very much appreciated.
Also, I had to draw reindeer. As someone who has attempted animal drawing and found it to be excessively dull, this was a hard thing for me to tackle.
When I found these in my drawing pile, I wasn't even sure that these drawings were MINE. I had to look for telltale clues, like sloppy use of marker as underdrawing, to prove to myself that I ever drew this. I've gone in such a different direction since then that these feel totally alien.
The antlers were kinda fun.
Reindeers are like buff cows with big horns and skinny legs. You guys, I drew so many reindeers. This is really only the tip of the reindeer iceberg. But that iceberg is kinda boring. I got tired of scanning them.
Long story short: I bailed out of Disney loooooooooong before Prep and Landing was finished (bout a year and half or so?). I watched it, and I can still kinda see some how some of my design work had an effect on the final product, but I didn't get a credit or anything for it. Near the end my heart was so totally NOT in being there that I was just happy to not ever have to draw another elf or reindeer ever again for the rest of my life. And just not to have anyone tell me what, or how to draw at all.
I managed to have some fun though.
The only thing I miss about working in a studio environment is having my buddies around me all day long. It's pretty awesome when all your friends are super talented, and they like to come into your cube and interrupt your work flow by drawing you barfing into your own purse:
(I had very short hair back in the day!)
...or you as a child sitting on a giant dog and holding an avocado. I don't get any caricature drawings anymore. That makes me kinda sad. I have a whole chunk of my life that is undocumented by other people's drawings of me! I found LOTS of weirdy-weird drawings of me in that old Disney-drawing pile. Those are probably the best things I saved.