Fellow creative types and concept junkies, consider your addictions fed. Film Sketchr snagged a completely awesome interview with Man of Steel concept artist Peter Rubin, and the artist brought along some of us as-yet-unseen concept art for the huge summer blockbuster. Rubin has been a concept artist and illustrator for over two decades in Hollywood, and he had some pretty fascinating insights into the process of creating the final designs for Man of Steel.
I've shortened it quite a bit, so if you want to read the full interview, which is interesting but lengthy, you can read the full article here. Otherwise, here are the highlights.
What kind of things did you design for the film?
I conceptualized a lot of the Kryptonian tech in 3D, often in collaboration with other artists working in 2D. Most importantly to me, the "S" glyph, and The Starcraft, were entirely, or mostly, mine.
Plus whole lot of smaller stuff, like the control panels that Jor-El and Lara use. The stasis pods in the Scout Ship. The device that cradles Kal-El in his father's laboratory and absorbs the Codex, before he's put into the Starcraft. Those ubiquitous standing control panels. All of that came primarily from me, with guidance from Alex [McDowell].
I worked on the exterior of the Scout Ship. That was based on concept paintings by Jaime Jones, who is a phenomenon. I was responsible for moving it forward from the initial paintings, getting the proportions right, and then later helping to conceive the parts of the exterior that would be built into the sets in Vancouver.
The Black Zero Escape Pod, same story. H'Raka, Jor-El's warsteed,and the Council Chamber Thrones fall into the same category. The first paintings of those were by Christian Lorenz Scheurer. I've included one of them. Then there's the interior walls of the Black Zero, and the equipment in Jor-El's laboratory, which were in collaboration with Jaime. These were all on-camera props and set-pieces that were built in Vancouver by our stage crews based directly on my digital sculpts.
What was the process like designing the "S" Shield and what was the biggest challenge you overcome?
The bio-mechanical look of Krypton was based on Alex's idea of an alien design aesthetic, revolving around one of the key conceits of the script; that Kryptonians had perfected the ability to manipulate DNA. It's their primary tech. For thousands of years, they could build almost anything by biological means.
To get at this, we avoided referencing other bio-mechanical SF works like Giger's Aliens, and instead went back to nature. Our art department was full of scientific specimens, bones and bark and fungi and dried plants, and we pored over books of microphotography and biological systems.
Then from there, we went to Art Nouveau works of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, everything from architectural facades to bookplates to ladies' hairbrushes. Art Nouveau designers assumed that nothing could ever be as beautiful as what nature creates. We tried to be as true to that ideal as we could.
Where will we see your work next?
I spent some time on 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' for Marvel. Also, I'm collaborating with comics writer Mariah Huehner on a collectible figure based on her character The Empress of the Jellies. We are going to Kickstarter to make it available to fans.
And then, there's my own movie. I'm excited about that. It's called "Gage," and I wrote it while I was on Man of Steel. It's robot-themed, robots and kids - and a fun adventure. I've had lots of positive feedback about it, and there'll be some news later this year, I hope.
Again, you can catch the rest of the interview here, and head to your nearest big screen to see Man of Steel, in theaters now.
You can follow Alisha on the Twitter machine @alishagrauso.