My favorite part of Epic was working on the Wraithwood set with Arden Chan. Not only is he an amazing artist, he’s also a great guy. He pushed me to look at set designing in an entirely different way. I’m so happy and grateful I got to work with him! Arden was the head of layout at Disney before coming to Blue Sky. His film credits include Tarzan, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Rio and Ice Age 4.
The Wraithwood set is basically an old tree that is infested with Boggans. It is also Mandrake’s lair. There are so many awesome artists who worked on the look. Kyle McNaughton came up with the initial concept and cool shape language that felt like flames. Jake Panian came up with these beautiful patterns and shapes in the wood structure He also designed the area surrounding Wraithood on the outside. If you have the art of Epic book you can see some of this other work as well. A lot of it is not online yet. The idea is this rotted structure that is entirely organic. The center is hollowed out and the top opened to the night sky. Splinters and termite holes acted like bridges and secret passages allover. Corridors were filled with hanging bats and floors patterned by bark. Everything was dead or decaying inside which made for some great shape language.
Another fun part of Epic was coming up with a detailed look of Mandrake. Ron DeFelice had painted up a beautiful rough color concept earlier in production. When the 3D model was built, my art director Mike Knapp wanted a “tight” painting over a render to show how Mandrake would look once textured and lit. It was a challenge doing this with paint because the details had to be spot on. I don’t think I’ve ever painted something so tight! In the end, I was really proud of the result and the way he looked on the big screen.
Stay tuned for more Epic work! Thanks for all your support and sharing!