As a mom who struggles to come up with a new fairy tale and fascinating characters at bedtime, I have an appreciation for Zootopia’s Art Director of Characters, Cory Loftis. To have the inventiveness and artistic talent to create over 1,000 animals of Zootopia, is something this creativity lacking, storytelling mom dreams of. What I don’t lack in is sharing the awesomeness that is Zootopia Concept Art!
(Thank you to Disney/ABC/Marvel/LucasFilm for this opportunity.)
Not only am I sharing some sweet Zootopia Concept Art, I’m also taking you behind the scenes of Creating the Animals of Zootopia. After meeting with all the Head of Story, Animators and other members of the Zootopia team in January, we also got to sit down with Cory Loftis, Zootopia’s Art Director of Characters.
Lets talk about Judy Hopps for a moment, the main character in Zooptopia, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin To keep the bunny in Judy Hopps, the team on Zootopia visited a wildlife rescue center, as well has ad live bunnies at the studio. Racehorses and police dogs were looked at to help ensure Judy’s legs would be protected during her more athletic scenes. The research helped because I feel the bunny in Judy Hopps on screen and in this Zootopia Concept Art!
“Judy had to be everything a bunny means: soft, cute, adorable. But she also had to have an edge to her. She’s athletic and physical. We had to find the right balance between her athleticism and her softness.” – Cory Loftis
Judy Hopps wardrobe is military-inspired, and Navy SEALs and survivalist gear is referenced Navy SEALs. Another piece of her wardrobe, her fur and isn’t it gorgeous?! Cory Loftis and the team added some purples to her her to help bring out the spark in personality. That’s also what ultimately led to the violet eye color that Hopps sports.
Nick Wilde is another important character in Zootopia that Cory Loftis helped bring to life. Wilde is a con-artist and that career played into his overall look. The Zootopia Concept Art of Nick Wilde below, really shows his facial expressions.
“While Hopps’ fur is well maintained, we wanted to make Nick a little rough around the edges and raggedy—like maybe he doesn’t brush his fur very often. Then we dressed him in a Hawaiian shirt with slacks and a tie that we’re guessing he tied once and just slips it on and off.” – Cory Loftis
Bogo is one big, sorta scary looking guy who is the chief of police. A giant buffalo with a huge chest wearing clothes, can’t sport a buttoned collared shirt very well. To figure out Bogo’s wardrobe, the team researched bodybuilders that are also police officers (guessing there must be quite a few) to see what they wear. In case you were wondering why Bogo sports big oversized shirts and never buttons the top button. 😉 As far as Bogo’s look, a trip to Africa is what influenced that.
“The buffalo there are always covered in dirt. The dirt blends the horns with the skin on their heads, you can’t see where one stops and the other starts. We turned it into a bumpy, scaly hairstyle for Bogo.” – Cory Loftis
Cory Loftis has created some impressive characters for Zootopia and his work really does brings them to life. You can tell just by looking at the Zootopia Concept Art and in the trailers released so far. Shoot, if he can make a non-artistic girl like me draw a bunny that is recognizable, well he has mega talent. 😀
Fun Facts about Creating the Characters of Zootopia
- Mr Big was a fairly easy character to done. Cory Loftis did one drawing the morning that he was told about the character, and that was it. He has the same chair even, except instead of lion heads, he did little mouse heads.
- Bellwether was inspired by lambs in old Disney films “Make Mine Music” and “Melody Time.” Her whole outfit is made of wool and she has six different outfits including a houndstooth dress, blazer, and bell, and an orange dress with a scissor patter that represents shears.
- The Ottertons were actually really hard to draw. Their look had to be “friendly neighborish” and that was a hard one to pin down. Their wardrobe includes thick fisherman-knit sweaters and the knit itself has a fish motif on it.
- When it came to Yak the Yak they added to the character’s comedic qualities. His eyes are hidden behind long hair, he has a big Adam’s apple and he’s surrounded by flies to show his au-natural-ness. 😀
- Mayor Lionheart needed to be as heroic and aspirational as a lion could be. His design is like mifasa in that everyone wants to be him, with his hair in the wind.
- The artists began working on Zootopia by revisiting classic Disney films.
- Director Byron Howard is a huge fan of 2D films like ‘Robin Hood’. Cory looked for a way to take what Howard loves and put it into a 3D world, with real fur and animal characteristics.
“The characters of Zootopia are all playing their parts, behaving as the world expects them to behave. The big cape buffalo is the police chief, the lion is the mayor, the fox is a con artist. It only takes one bunny from Bunnyburrow to question the status quo and turn what is expected of them on its head. I think the audience will be surprised by the robustness of the world. There are characters from all parts of the world and all different shapes and sizes in Zootopia. We worked really hard to make it a world that you can get lost in, looking at all the details and uniqueness. I hope the audience enjoys the richness and diversity of these characters.” – Head of characters and technical animation Dave Komorowski.
I hope you enjoyed the Zootopia Concept Art! Now, catch Zootopia in theaters on March 4th!
Want more Zootopia? Check out these posts!