Monday, November 26, 2007

Bix Maquettes

When you are drawing and painting main characters you need really detailed miniatures for reference. It’s worth putting a little extra time to sculpting these “hero maquettes” until they look just the way you want them.


As reference model for the Protoceratops Bix, I sculpted the maquette above. I made this one out of Sculpey and painted it with acrylics. The head is a separate piece and attaches it with a swivel joint so that it can be set to any angle.

My favorite Bix maquette is this one (above), sculpted by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. It’s about 36 inches long (about half the size of a real Protoceratops), cast in resin from a clay original.

It has wonderfully expressive glass eyes. The Henson sculptors are masters at capturing a creature’s charm and personality.

The Henson shop also created the hatchling character “26” for the Hallmark miniseries, which was done as a remotely controlled animatronic puppet. It weighed about as much as a watermelon. They handed it to me on the set at Pinewood Studios in London, and all at once it started wiggling its feet, blinking its eyes, and moving its jaws. I almost thought it was alive until I saw two or three guys in the shadows with radio control sets.

9 comments:

Murat Kayi said...

well, that has to be the strangest and funniest thing:
to suddenly hold a fantasy character you came up with and painted and told stories about in your arms which moves about... :D

Matthew Barbot said...

If only copies of those maquettes could be made available to fans...oh, the joy!

Why did Jim Henson's creature shop make a Bix? Were earlier versions of the miniseries based on the books?

James H. Fullmer said...

I echo Matthew's question. How did you get Jim Henson's creature shop involved and how did you end up with the maquette?

How did it feel to be holding an animatronic puppet that cost $100,000?! Yikes!

I have a publishing question. Andrews McMeel published your most recent book. Can you talk about why you switched publishers from your earlier books and how you settled on them?

SHANE PRIGMORE said...

You make the coolest living in the world. We can't wait to see you at Dreamworks.

james gurney said...

Matthew, the Henson shop made a few proof-of-concept models of Bix when Imageworks was developing Dinotopia as a live action feature in the mid-90s under director Ken Ralston. Hallmark bought the rights when it went into turnaround.

James: Andrews McMeel is the best home for Dinotopia. They were the distributor for the original book when it was published by Turner Publishing in 1992. Turner was liquidated in the Time/Warner merger around 1996.

Matthew Barbot said...

Ah, so that's the same movie that the concept art on the old official website was from? Is there any more information on that abandoned project? Or any still existing art?

Maybe in a few years that can still become a reality...sigh...

Michael said...

That is an awesome model of Bix! Jim Henson's company had such a talent for making creatures with personality! Too bad Bix wasn't in the Mini-series. That would have been awesome!

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Wow fabulous sculptures !!

Michael Bech said...

Is it a coincidence that Bix looks a lot like the old Dino Riders Protoceratops in the first book? http://www.toyarchive.com/STAForSale/NEW2001+/DinoRiders/ProtoceratopsDino1a.jpg