|Storyboard for Mocom 4|
Ace Wonder stands as the single biggest project I have ever worked on. When John Moore contacted me about the possibility in late 2009, I had no idea it would last until late 2012 or that I would help create over 200 finished works of art on the project.
Gator Moore stars in this fun and exciting tale of a young graphic novelist who solves a high stakes crime while on a family vacation. It's a live-action kids film, but includes seven semi-animated "motion comics" (or as we shortened it: "mocoms") to spice up the drama. I worked on the mocoms.
If you want to skip the rest of this post, you can see it all by streaming the movie online. Or you can order the DVD which comes out in August.
While my teams and I made over 200 finished works of art, a lot more was made or gathered in the course of telling this story. A lot more. Over 10,000 files more. Yeah, that's a lot. I have 500 GB saved of Ace Wonder stuff.
Here is some of the stuff that we made:
|Comic snippet for Mocom 1|
The script called for graphic novel sections of the film, but we didn't know what those would look like. To help us get closer to that finished product, I sketched out some comics. They helped us visualize the end product. I'm really happy how they came out.
|Concept for early Ace Wonder office|
The motion comics took place in a variety of locations and with a variety of different characters. Inspirational comic books take a little bit of work, so I made some average ordinary concept art to flesh out the unknowns.
|Alternative ending to Mocom 4 (the one in the movie is way better)|
Johnny Reighard made most of the storyboards for the motion comics, but I and a few interns worked on others. Nadine Voth interned with me in 2010 and some of her boarding is still in the film.
|Refined storyboard for Mocom 2|
We made a rough cut of the movie with some rough art. I translated most of the storyboards into semi-finished monochromatic paintings. They gave the film a more finished look, and allowed us to further define the composition and blocking of the finished motion comics.
|Diagram to show how the hall elements fit together in Mocom 6|
David Bowman, Evan Langley, and Josiah Einwechter at Effects Forge created the motion of the motion comics. But I did get in some early motion experimentation. None of my After Effects work made it in the film. But it was a good learning experience.
|The layers allow the effects artists to create depth and motion.|
This helped the illustrators understand how we were layering this image from Mocom 1.
We formed 3 teams of freelance artists (4 if you count the 2010 interns) over the course of the project, and they needed to know exactly what I needed from them. I created tutorials to detail the process for making consistent artwork that could be seamlessly blended together.
|Blueprint for an amazing steampunk shower|
Props for the live action film
Our hero drew graphic novels, so he needed to make artwork. I created art that he could "draw" in the movie. A few artists, including the Alaskan Albert Mauga, and I also created "blueprints" for inventions that are briefly shown in the movie.
|Old version of a semi-finished credits image|
An extreme honor, I enjoyed making the end credits artwork.
A lot of very talented artists helped me make the finished artwork. Here are some of the main artists and where you can see some of their work:
Jessica Ellen Lindsey - one of the first artists I dragged onto this project, she's always making something fun, including her new line of cute animal greeting cards!
Louis Roybal III - an illustrator and concept artist, he creates heroic, majestic artwork.
David Nielsen - with a great sense of style and strong work ethic, he’s since become more than a regular collaborator—he’s become a friend.
Ashley Parrow Letizia - a former schoolmate and intern who creates lovely artwork.
Breezy Brookshire - creator of whimsical children's books.
Here are a few of the other artists who helped out, a couple who were invaluable!
Kelly Reins - if you see any bricks or a fabulous empty cafe in early motion comics, you can thank her!
Victor Noordhoek - the doer of many little things that amounted to a great deal
In the coming weeks I'll release more concept art and BTS material here on the blog and on my Patreon page. The sketch that started my epic Ace Wonder journey is there, and many more will be posted in the next couple months.