Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Me and Transformers : Prime

The internet can be a pain in the ass, let me clear up a few things.

These rough, thumbnail sketches, are purely an exercise for me, they are based ONLY on published images of Transformers : Prime, found on the Hubworld.com website, combined with G1 and Animated model sheets.  They are not based on any of my past work for Transformers : Prime, unfinished or new ideas or otherwise, which leads me to my second point;

I guess I needed to be more specific in my contributions to Transformers : Prime.  I was hired on contract, by Hasbro, Inc. to contribute concepts for visual inspiration on the new show, which were then passed along to the Hasbro Studio team, of whom I'm not a part of in any capacity, who are responsible for the actual production of the show.  I didn't realize that there was so great a distinction between the two at the early , blue sky stages of concept art...but it needs to be said.

And now, I've seen this non-story about these, again, NOT OFFICIAL IN ANY WAY, images spread like wildfire - like a game of Telephone, where there are some headlines, about how I work on the show, and am the character designer.  And that IS where a distinction must be made.  I contributed some ideas through Hasbro proper, I am NOT a part of the production of the show, I have no title related to the show - there is a staff in place working their asses off to get this show out, and I want to make sure everyone knows I have no involvement in the Production of Transformers : Prime.  There is an official Character Designer for the show, and his name is Jose Lopez, and he's awesome.

I know it can be a little confusing, I'll try to explain the process.  I, along with other artists, got asked by Hasbro to draw some ideas.  Those ideas all got thrown into a pot.  My involvement is now over.

Hasbro takes that pot across the hall to Hasbro Studios, and gives it to the studio guys, and says "take the best of this, and mix it with whatever you guys have on the stove."  They take what they want, and over the long development process, ideas are re-purposed, expanded on, or simply ignored.  That is the nature of the creation process.

Like everyone else, I had to wait until SDCC to see the clip of the show, the only final characters I've seen are on the Hub - I did my work and was done many months ago, and now I'm seeing the new and final character designs as you all are, when you are, with fresh eyes, and as a fan excited and inspired by the next evolution of Transformers.

I know I promised some mushy thumbnail drawings of some Decepticons, but I'm afraid I'll have to stop this right now; after seeing some posts to an initial, and somewhat misleading headline on TFW2005, about folks thinking that these sketches of Inferno, Bumblebee, or Jazz are/need to be in the show, or toyline...let me tell you right now, that won't happen.  Again, these are just exercises for me, doing them absolutely on my own, without an art director, written concepts, and team goals for each character, and most importantly WITHOUT Hasbro - all those factors are involved in creating official characters.

ENTIRELY UNOFFICIAL, on the level of Fan Art - based only on images that are publicly available - I can't seem to say that enough!

I appreciate all the comments, but despite my initial statement that these were merely studies for me based on available images on the the final, official styling of the TF:Prime characters, too much has been made of what amounts to fan art.  I know that news of me doing some ideas for Transformers : Prime in official capacity has been out for some time, (and again let me stress, the work was through Hasbro, NOT Hasbro Studios - there is a difference) so I made the preface that the images created on 8/22/10, and posted on 8/23/10 were in no way connected, just to avoid this the very event that has occurred.  But what happened is the exact opposite, folks saw TF:Prime Concept Artist, and Click Here For Image - everything else got ignored.

So even if I get lucky enough to create or update more Transformers, I can guarantee, you won't see an image on this blog in thumbnail form, final form, an idea if it has a shot in official capacity in any way, and absolutely not before a product launches.  So when I mention waiting for October, as far as I know, officially 10/10/10 is still listed as the premiere - if it changes, I wouldn't know until there's a press release, and find out when everyone else does.  And whatever I do show, has to got through a vetting process, to get cleared by Hasbro, as with anything I've published on my blog or site previously, the games, comic covers, etc...and always, post-product launch.

I apologize for any confusion, I certainly didn't think that my involvement in anything TF:Prime related was for the most part unknown, or my statement was some sort of a reveal, nor did I think some ENTIRELY UNOFFICIAL rough sketches would get more than a comment or two.

So let me end with this, in case it got missed.  Those images posted yesterday of Bumblebee, Jazz, and Inferno are in no way official, associated, future designs, past designs, partial designs from or for Hasbro, or Hasbro Studios, in regards to anything Transformers.  They were purely exercises for me to independently study the  forms of the new characters, based only on previously published material, found on the Hub website, G1 model sheets from the Ark, and model sheets from the Allspark Almanac.

At best, they can be described as Fan Art Only.  Nothing more...




R P Brunke said...

I think its funny how things can be blown out of control. Unlike a lot of people, I READ the post and very much enjoyed the work. *shrugs*

I like how you explained so much about the process that you went through. If I may ask, what sort of art direction, if any, were you given? Obviously, if are unable to, I understand, but I'm just curious what sort of information you get in such an early stage of work.

Ken Christiansen said...


No, I can't really comment on the process just yet - since now, as I've tried to hammer in - is not the time to talk about official work, since it's not yet aired, clearances haven't been made, etc., and also I normally describe the process as I post about the project. So, when I get cleared to show any images, that's when I'll discuss the details I'm able to, and that won't be until the show actually comes out.

R P Brunke said...

I figured as much, considering both the post itself and regular non disclosure agreements, but no harm in asking. I'm a huge fan of concept art as I love seeing all those creative juices working and seeing how things grow and develop into a single, unified idea!

Can't wait until October! Very excited to see your contributions.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could share your excitement Ken, if I didn't find all of Sony's past action animation efforts 'okay' at best.

Sony's great if you want something done that's serviceable, but don't expect anything better than that, I've found.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Boondocks, a show that's as much a failure of animation as it is a failure of comedy. And yes, I know I'm one of many ten people in the world that think that, but I don't care, that show was awful from start to finish.

akOne said...

I don’t post my thoughts very often but I feel compelled to do so here. Why can’t people read just a little before posting? My God it’s absolutely nauseating how it only takes a few numbskulls to ruin a good thing!! On a positive note: I think the concepts you shared with all of us lucky internet souls (of Bumblebee, Jazz, & Inferno) really are the best that I have seen in a long time. I think the fact that it “spread like wildfire” can be viewed considered proof positive that many other people feel the same way. I hope you realize how freaking awesome your designs/sketches truthfully are. I would have loved to see more in the near future but I can understand why you have to pull back the reigns. Thank you for taking on all of risk and aggravation to share some great artwork with fans. To be honest, I am an avid Transformers fan (ravenous is probably a better describer) and an amateur Penciler (love to draw; always have!). As I have never been to your blog or now seen your website, I truly appreciate the insight into a good artist’s process; there is some very good stuff at your website. Well, thanks again and I very much look forward to more transformers artwork from you in the future(hopefully not the far future though!).

Ken Christiansen said...

akOne, thanks a lot! But I honestly didn't think I was risking in anything, I can't believe how out of hand it got.

I'm glad you like the blog, you got the point exactly. I know a lot of artists don't like to show their failures, but I approach it from the standpoint from when I was a kid, who liked to draw - I always had the impression that you sat down with a single sheet of paper, and when you were done, you had a finished full color image in front of you.

It took me a looong time - nearly until I was out of college - to really get a development process down. And then wait for the technical talent to catch up!

I have a pretty big chip on my shoulder, and I feel I need to prove myself every day; I know I'm a good artist, but I know I'm not even close to being the best! I know that it seems I have such a great list of credits and associations, and I do appreciate every opportunity I've been given, but I use this blog to force myself to exceed my own expectations, to continue to grow as an artist through triumphs and failures, and hopefully inspire others along the way...