MAN, what a week! I've got THREE THINGS to talk about, the first of which is that the illustrious Lauren Tom (the voice of Numbuh Three!) came and visited Sector CP today! Most of us hadn't met her before, so it was a real treat -- she's such a nice lady! And as you can see above, she was kind enough to pose for a photo op with her buddy Mr. Warburton!
Secondly, former KND head writer and award winning author Mo Willems has put together a super-big charity auction to benefit kids that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. You can see all the cool stuff that he's collected here -- there's even an awesome KND prize pack! The prices are kinda up there, but you can tell your parents it's for a good cause!
And thirdly, we have part two of our series on how a KND episode gets made! This week's topic: the design department!
The design process for an episode breaks down into three basic parts...
Part One: Preliminary Design
A few weeks after a story is pitched, design coordinator Santiago DaSilva is handed a final script for the show. At this point, the episode is nothing but words on paper -- it's the design departments' job to figure out what all this crazy stuff is actually going to look like!
First, Santiago reads over the script and highlights anything that will need to be designed. Everything you see on screen is broken down into five categories -- backgrounds, characters, props, effects and graphics. Sometimes we've already designed what the script calls for -- a returning character, a cloud of dust, a Texan treehouse -- but a lot of the time we have to start from scratch. As Santiago goes through the script he makes lists of what can be pulled from reuse and what needs to be created, and when he's finished that second list is handed over to our mega-talented five-man team of designers. Gideon Kendall and John Allemand pencil all the backgrounds, Rob "The Iguana" Smith inks them, Robert Kopecky creates the props (which includes all the awesome 2X4 technology!) and Tom Evans and Todd Myers draw the characters!
Sometimes Mr. Warburton has a clear mental image of what he wants a design to look like, but usually he prefers to step back and see what the designers come up with on their own. They're always having to draw new and crazy things, so they spend a lot of time looking for "reference" in books and on the internet to help them out. And although they're all drawing in the KND style they all have their own, unique way of doing things -- if you pay attention you can tell which one of them designed something just by looking at it!
There's a design meeting once a week, where Mr. Warburton goes through all the new artwork with his approval stamp in hand. If he wants changes made, it goes back to the designer for another round; if not it gets a big, red stamp in the corner that shows it's been approved!
Once all the preliminary designs are complete, they're organized into a design pack and handed over to the storyboard thumbnail artist for that episode. Which leads us to....
Part Two: Final Design
This step can be very easy or very difficult, depending on how much the storyboard artists has decided to add to the show. Though they may already have created a great big drawing of the inside of the gym, if the storyboard has a scene that takes place under the bleachers then a new background needs to be drawn. And while there's already be a design for Mushi Sanban, if she puts on a pirate hat halfway through the episode then that needs to be designed, too!
Finally, we have...
Part Three: Revision
After the storyboard's been thumbnailed it still has a lot of fine-tuning to go through. While this is happening, more problems may turn up. Does that chair get moved in scene 23? Then it needs to be made into a prop! Is that scribble you thought was a bush actually a crowd of hamsters? Time to design s'more characters!
The thing to keep in mind is that alllllll of these steps are going on at the same time! In any given week, the design department is usually working on SIX DIFFERENT EPISODES simultaneously! It's all pretty mind-boggling, if you ask me, but somehow they keep track of it all AND come up with super awesome artwork every day! It's wild, man....WILD.
Because I love you guys, I swiped some awesome pencil drawings from the design department so you can see what I'm talking about! There's a character design progression by Tom Evans, lemon grenade sketches from Robert Kopecky, Numbuh Three in disguise by Todd Myers and a background in progress from Gideon Kendall!