Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Taking a break: Gnarl - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7

Still taking a little break on the blog since I am a little overwhelmed elsewhere. In my absence, here is some stuff I have never shared from my days in the Makeup FX industry! Today... today I have the Gnarl Demon...

The Gnarl Demon was a big deal... it was for a Joss Whedon episode and needed to have a lot of character and have a lot of screen time and all they had to work on the designs... was me. This was one of the first things I needed to design when I started on the show and I was out of my depth looking back. I made it through and the creature got design, created, and was a huge hit. Sometimes you can be in WAY over your head and still managed to make it through in one piece. ...more or less.

There was a lot of rabbit holes that we went down design wise with this creature before production kinda gave us a direction. At one point our instruction from Joss was, and I quote, "Give him a wicked sausage of a nose." Yeah... that is when my blood ran cold and I knew I was in the deep end of the pool. If I heard that now I would have a big laugh and get to work... then... it was panic time.

For full disclosure, I pretty much was only involved with the design of this demon. The rest of highly skilled artists at the shop too care of the sculpture, molding, casting, and paint for Gnarl. I most likely did little things along the way, but I fully claim (reluctantly) all the design stuff on this one and everybody else carried it over the finish line.

Enough talk, here is Gnarl...

RAWR! It's a monster! The EXTREMELY talented Camden Toy portrayed Gnarl. This was the very first time that I got to work with Camden, and thankfully not the last! He is a GREAT monster! ...and a master of the balloon animal.

UHG... the very first Gnarl design. Did not have a real direction yet. In house we were throwing around a protruding gum and teeth ... then we learned that he had a TON of dialogue and needed a wicked sausage of a nose.   ...wicked sausage.

 OUCH... this is just bad... bad bad bad... A bad design and a bad drawing... what was I thinking?! Oh yeah... I was told to elongate everything "for effect" ... but I don't think I did it right. Also, there is no way to have made anything practical that would or could look like this. The sculptures looked down their noses at me and sneered. One actually took this design and threw it on the ground telling me to, "Get that out of here." True story...

Getting warmer... feedback was coming in and things are getting "better".

Warmer still... Still not wicked or sausage enough, but we were moving in the right direction.
Also... let me just say, I am incredibly embarrassed with just how HUGE my signatures are in all of these. Looking back at it now, this looks very unprofessional on my part, very amateurish, and a bit insecure. ...oh wait.

Gnarl needed some crazy nails to slice up Willow and eat the tasty flesh bits. Maybe if I had concentrated on a good drawing of a hand and less of squiggly details these would have turned out better.

Okay... that actually is looking like a Gnarl demon... but even with a ton of reference and good direction I still ended up with a clunky drawing in many spots. Oh well... this WAS 12 years ago...

The shop gears up! Here is the Gnarl sculpture on the body cast of the actor. Nice looking sculpt.

A maquette of the proposed makeup as we nailed down the last details.

Gnarl in the makeup trailer before going to set. The body suit, cowl, and face piece were foam latex while the nose and chin were gelatin. They made for a nice look and some issues with heat, melting, and adhesive longevity.

Looks like Gnarl has had himself (itself?) a little snack! NOMS!

Want to sit on Gnarl's knee and tell him how your day went?

From head to toe, and fine demon was made... except for that ankle seam... ouch... Most likely was never seen on camera.

Gnarl had a busy busy day of filming and went through at least two noses.

Gnarl on set! RAWR! I'M BLURRY!

Need some nightmare fuel? They didn't know if Gnarl was going to get white or black contacts... the white ones won out... but the mix is nice too.

...and another.

Last, but not least... I found this one in all the Gnarl images... it is my evil twin from 12 years ago that was 75+ pounds heavier and blonde. He appears to be working on a crappy drawing... and completely ignoring that anatomy reference...

After a good long look at the above image of my evil twin I could not help but remember some other crappy concepts that I did very early on in the design phase of Gnarl. You can see this drawings on top of my computer in the background. This image was not in my digital archives... but since they were ink drawing... as quick look in my flat files turned up these beauties... A quick scan later and I can now share them with you! WOW... those are bad! RAWR!

All work © Almost Human

 That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

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