Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland concept art: Executioner
This was another character that I was assigned to work on for Alice in Wonderland. For this concept, I wasn't given any direction or information on who or what this character should be like. So I decided to create something that I would like to see in a movie. A lot of Burton's characters seem to be similar from movie to movie . . . so, my hope was to come up with something different and not so "typical" of a Tim Burton film . . . but also something creepy and a bit humorous. I thought of the last person I'd want to see before losing my head. The idea of not covering all of his face, and leaving only his mouth exposed seemed interesting too. There's a creepy, suspenseful feeling in not knowing what the rest of his face looks like. I also liked the idea that he could either be a small guy next to a normal sized sword, or an average sized man, but with an enormous sword. This was one of my favorite pieces that I did even though it wasn't used in the film.
About a day or so of time spent on this concept.
-A small shout out to my friend Don Hill for giving me some great expressions to work off of.
I heard that Tim had another type of executioner in mind, so I received a small sketch that Tim Burton did. It made me laugh because it was "typical" to what I thought he would do, basically a grim reaper with a small axe. So, from his sketch I decided to have another go at the executioner . . . I still tried to bring something different to the character, while sticking to Burton's grim reaper sketch. I wanted to create a character that had a creepy and unsettling feeling, again, the last person you'd want to see before losing your head.
I'm not sure how it normally works working as a character designer for a film as this was my first experience? I wasn't told very much, wasn't given much of an idea or direction on where to go with the "feeling" of the characters. And I suppose that could be a good thing too, giving the artist free range to create whatever he/she wants to. I can see how that would be helpful for a director as well. But after seeing the film, I now realize the kind of movie Burton was going for. While working on the concepts, I was given the impression that it was going to be a very dark film, which it is to an extent, but no where near how I thought it would be.
All in all, it was a great experience, and a lot of fun, and very exciting to see characters I helped develop up on the big screen.
Detail. Again, I thought that rather than covering his whole face, I'd leave a bit exposed, leaving the viewers imagination free to roam.