Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"The Wuzzles... But They Are Dinosaurs!"

It all started innocently enough with a Twitter conversation that eventually wound up here:

(And if I did that right, you should be able to click on that and read the whole discussion.  I hope.  Otherwise, ugh...

By the way, we can get robots on Mars and the moon, but there's no way to edit Tweets?)

Here's the resulting fun exercise in character design that forced me to draw like myself (and also like an 80's Disney person), but think like an Eisner.

The first step was to get some decent screenshots of "The Wuzzles" cartoon, then try to think of a way to approach this idea.  I didn't want to go "realistic"; for one thing that seemed beyond the point and for another, I'm... kind of sick of drawing "realistic (enter franchise centered on some kind of weird imaginary animals)".  I also couldn't think of a crazier thing to do then "Insect + Vertebrate" so my Bumblion and Butterbear equivalents were going to stay part-bee and part-butterfly.

So now I just had to think of dinosaurs who were semi-equivocal to the animals who made up the original residents of the land of Wuz.  On that note, meet B. rex!

Right, here's something I didn't know about the designs of the original Wuzzles before I did this, since I wanted to use their color schemes (or close enough; watercolors, man): there is a LOT of pink in their color schemes.  A lot.  Except, fascinatingly, in the female Wuzzles, who are almost completely devoid of overtly pink-derived colors.

Now, I'm not saying that this -exactly this- is where "pink is a manly color for manly men, blue is for girls" thing ended but it's certainly odd.  I wonder if it was a conscious decision?  If the opportunity ever came up, I would ask one of the people who worked on the Wuzzles franchise about... well, by golly, I'd ask her what's up with those fairy wings first, but then about the pink thing.  Anyway, here's non-pink Brontomastax.

Now... she's part Brontomerus.  She could only be part Brontomerus (or, honestly, mostly Brontomerus; I wanted to stick with the same animal combination ratio [for want of a better word] as the original Wuzzles did, which worked out fine until I got to "basically just a hippo with rabbit ears").  As you may recall, one of the most soul-crushing aspects of my revisiting "The Wuzzles" this past summer was realizing as an adult how much of the humor was at the expense of Hoppo's weight.  Hell, I feel kind of gross having drawn this, so let's move on.  Oh, and she's also part Pegomastax because dang it, you think of a rabbit-like dinosaur.

I drew Stegomimus last of all, and... eh, I still feel like I could've done something funnier here.  Elaroo is honestly one of the strangest character concepts in a multimedia franchise full of weird character concepts because, let us just drop this right on the table, he is a male and he has a pouch.  If we knew more about sexual dimorphism in dinosaurs, I'd do something with that, but we don't, so moving right along...

Another thing about revisiting "The Wuzzles", but for different reasons, was seeing how Moosel, my favorite character as a kid and again I have no idea why, was just the diametric opposite to the very concept of appealing character designs.  For the dinosaur version, there were, as far as anyone knows, no seagoing dinosaurs -- except for sea birds.  So I suppose a penguin would be the dinosaur equivalent of a seal?  And hadrosaurs are large herbivores; Lambeosaurus in particular has that awesome crest that looks kind of like an antler so aaah!  AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!???!!!

Got nothing to add to Styracoraptor.  I personally can't look at him without laughing.  Oh, wow... I am a crazy person.

As for Ceratofly, I think she might actually be my favorite out of the whole gang.  Her design is ridiculous, but it isn't SO ridiculous that I can't see her working as a character.  She looks like she could guest-star in the most bonkers episode of "Dinosaur Train" ever made.

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