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A dramatic ending to an incredibly dark season! I don't know whether to be happy or sad. Originally this episode was arranged as a two parter to end the season with but plans changed and thus, the purge episode was born. The first two concept sketches are for Squanchys world. I thought it would be fun if the architecture resembled a giant cat toy obstacle course style homes on the beach with colorful above water coral foliage. No one could believe the killing off of the beloved Birdperson, the wedding reception sketch staged his last breath framed by a phoenix symbol banner. Next is a bg paint of the exterior of the wedding reception with afterglow from a Gromflamite ship exhaust on top and finishing touches by Carol Wyatt. The next image is a concept sketch of the PlimPlom tavern exterior I did on top of a Bg that got cut from season one originally painted by Carol Wyatt. I wanted to add a weird membrane hanging from the ceiling that contained some alien jungle juice that transforms into different kinds of alcohol for its patrons in the interior sketch of PlimPlom that you can also see in the glass rooftop in the exterior. Next is a bg paint for the reentry of the Smith family to Earth which Carol took further in the final version and a rough concept sketch of Courier Flaps. After turning himself in, in order to protect his family, Rick is hauled off into a concept painting I did of the federation maximum security prison accompanied by the NIN song "Hurt". I can't believe they got the license to use it, but the song really brought that much more impact to the sequence. We had a few versions of how to play this, but Dan wanted the tone of it to be dire and hopeless. Next is a bg paint of the exterior of the federation prison with some finishing touches from Yaoyao Ma Van As. As difficult as this show was to manage, we really hit our stride this year and never have I been so fond of the material we worked on. In the fine words of MPB- "See you in a year and a half!"
Heres a few sketches for the purge episode, the top one is a first pass on the cat people. Justin wanted them to have a 1920's depression era vibe but still have sci-fi elements about their town. We spoke of changing the characters animal species type, but Arthrisha had to be cute in order for Morty to be attracted to her so we stuck with cat people. Next is the writer of "3 weeks Earlier", the lighthouse keeper who gets mauled by Morty after being bored to death by his long winded and poorly written screenplay. I loosely based him on Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnel, his resemblance to a turtle has always astounded me.
Jerry's quest to make everyone like him goes horribly wrong when faced with giving up his wiener in order to keep the most important being in the universe alive in an alien hospital. For the backgrounds we decided to give it a clean look, similar to an apple product. The first sketch is the St Gloopy Noops waiting room where Rick rigs an alien cable box to watch improvised commercials. The next one is the courtyard area where Jerrys press conference is staged. Last but not least is the old reptile played by Werner Herzog, his epic monologue about human culture revolving around the penis had the crew in stitches and disbelief that he decided to do the role.
Tiny Rick! This was one of the crews favorite episodes and most manageable production wise, and its always nice to see Jerry and Beth work out some of their troubled marriage and actually have a fond moment once in awhile even though Tiny Rick steals the show. The first character Glaxo Slimslom was played by Jim Rash, we wanted him to come off like a soothing host at first but give him enough facial space for big expressions when shit hits the fan, I love the simple nacho shaped head. Next is the coveted XenoBeth, this was a collaborative effort with Maximus Paulsen, Gerry Galang and myself. This was by far the most complex character of the season, and it took many rounds to simplify her enough to not be a complete nightmare to animate, Max and Gerry did a few versions and then I did these roughs to get her on track. Her mouth was probably the most complicated mouth we've done to date and still took some time to refine. Next are my takes on Worm Jerry, ewww. For both characters we tried to work their stock colors into their new half breed bodies. The Nuptia 4 world was inspired by a hotel in St Tropez that has bubble structures overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The mythologue therapy lab was a tricky one because it still needed to come off as a relaxing resort juxtaposed with making the most awful monster version of its guests. We played up the idea of their world being crystal powered and when everything goes dark the back up emergency lighted version of the crystals come on. Lastly is a first pass of the individual battle pits lined along the hall of mythologoues that the guests monster versions of themselves tear each other apart in, all of which was refined further by the BG and color team.
This episode took some planning in figuring out the confusion of what world belonged to whom, and what character designed the following universe based on their good or bad design aesthetics. The first sketch was my first take on Zeeps world that his character created for Kyle's people to produce Zeeps power. Justin wanted his world to reflect that of Frank Lloyd Wright, real pristine clean design where every detail works in harmony with the other. The next sketch is of Zeep and some of his expressions based on the storyboards, if you look at some of the Cromulon head rejects from my previous post you'll see where Zeep began. Everyone was super excited to have Stephen Colbert on board to do a voice. The last set of characters were all rejects for the primitive tree people that Morty gets mixed up with in Kyles Teenyverse. It helped to have the characters figured out ahead of time in order to figure out what their worlds consisted of, but believe it or not Kyle was the simplest design that took the longest to land on.
Time to get Schwifty in here! The first piece is a concept sketch of a flashy solar system set up as a Japanese game show with a disco ball sun and comets spotlighting recently removed planets as contestants with the intention of a giant plasma ray committing animated genocide on a cosmic scale if they don't perform a hit song stat. The next page is a variety of Cromulon head roughs, I started out with more of a deity take similar to the Rapa Nui heads but Justin wanted them to look bored in search of that sweet melody. Next is Birdworlds establishing exterior, I wanted to form the structures around the idea of swallows nests made of mud mixed with adobe style homes, and give off the sense of birdpeople being hunter gatherers. For the interiors I loved the idea of having the inside/outside feel of building his home around the trunk of a tree with bohemian/native american details, but my favorite detail is the scattered newspapers underneath his bed nest of twigs, even Tammy can't change old bird habits.
Total Rickall had a crazy amount of new one off characters and once again the board artists had a real challenge having to stage and track so many characters on screen together. For the true die hards, if you noticed the green rocks from episode 2 that Rick puts in the trunk of his ship you might have seen a couple pink eggs attached to the rocks, the same rocks Rick throws in the trash at the top of this episode. The first parasite, post transformation, is the only one with larvae growing off its back suggesting that others had been laid in the house. From the beginning Justin pictured these parasites with a beef jerky body and after much research of microscopic bacteria/parasites (which is absolutely terrifying by the way) I started some roughs. During that process I thought it needed a dramatic death mechanism by having its neck foreskin fold over its face ending with tendrils shooting out its mouth gasping its final breath to contrast the colorful over the top nature of the parasites pre-transformation. The first page above exhibits my initial roughs and the more refined color versions I tried, but the transformations proved to be a real challenge for animation so the color team had to really simplify the color which worked better in the long run. Next are some early sketches for Tinkles and friends, which were a lot of fun to be able to introduce another style to the show, the far right one is the final color version credit to the color team. Lastly Hamurai, I started with more of a cartoony take on him but Dan wanted to go with a more realistic look to him.
Here's some early concept sketches I did for the latest episode, first being Ricks subterranean layer where he chained up Blim Blam the Korblok. There were many iterations of Blim Blam before landing on the right hand side one and the color team took it further for the final broadcast version. Originally the six blue blob patterns I designed as six beak mouths above his red mandibles only to be used when he screamed but it got lost in translation so it remained a pattern instead. The following pieces conveyed the architecture of the planet I wanted to use, gave it more of what I imagined as a futuristic scientology style campus canvased with cultish looking church glass. The BG team ran with it and turned it into a unique metropolis and the painters simplified the glass color in a way that made this one of the prettiest RAM episodes despite its bleak ending.
This episode was so jam packed with really fun designs. The first two pieces are rough concept drawings I did of a shady space garage that Rick sells his anti-matter gun to Krombopulous Micheal. I wanted to give it a wet and steamy mood to it, and for the final version the color team took it another 10 steps and really made it look amazing. I did quite a few rounds on everyone's favorite assassin, K Micheal, who "just loves killin" played by Andy Daly. These were my favorite 5 out of like 40 before his color was finalized. The next two are roughs of a character that got scrapped from the episode, Krootch, an alien pimp that tries to trick out Jerry as he's walking around Asteroid City lost and confused trying to find his way back home. It was a funny bit but Harmon felt like the stakes needed to be higher and make the environment scarier and unpredictable to terrify Jerry more. Next, are some sketches for the Garble alien who was a throw away character I did as a redline from season one that Justin and I always loved and wanted to find a way to get him into the show for season two. I didn't realize how much it would get used this season, but it was awesome to see it make an appearance in our Simpsons couch gag and a version of them as handmade puppets for a live action promotional ad for the show. Next, is my second pass on the Jermaine Clements character, Fart of course. Loved the way it seeped in and out of tight spaces....brrrrrraap! Lastly, my first rough of Gear City focuses on Gearheads garage. Justin wanted to have a mix of bright plastics with greasy gears and I tried to give it many chasms below the surface level so there were a lot of options for the ship chase sequence to dip and weave in and out of levels of gears and piping.
We're back!!! Second season premiered last Sunday, so excited for the new season to finally air and for all the whining about the wait to be put to rest! The first episode probably had the least amount of designs to do out of the whole season but the storyboard team sure had their work cut out for them given that it was rewritten and re-boarded so many times in order to make the high concept script easier to track. The first image above is a rough concept of the void outside the garage with an infestation of Shrodingers cats falling into the abyss below with the first version of the time split efx. I did a few animated takes on the time split efx and a few rounds on the testicle time lord monster before we landed on the final look but after that there wasn't much for design to tackle. The next image is skateboard art I did for the season 2 premiere party gift to the crew. It highlights characters from an upcoming episode that should rival the interest of the meeseeks episode from season one. Everyone was really excited to get these as much as I was.
The wait is almost over for season 2 to come out and I swear it was worth the time. Adult Swim had made their choices for the billboard art this year, but I still wanted to make an original publicity piece that reflected how intense this season is, bar has been raised. This is a piece that started as a collaboration between our prop artist Brent Noll and myself, we discussed what the story to it should be. Brent did a sketch of everyone hovering around a Rick-made chemical invention in his garage. I wanted to raise the stakes and take it further by seeing some apocalyptic destructive Kaiju creatures outside demolishing civilization, and get some good ol' family fun by involving the whole family defending the house from invasion....and of course all roads of resentment leading to Jerry just for being such a, well,...Jerry. I thought it would be funny to put Jerry in this liquid tube that controls the gunnery contraption that Morty is in by tracking Jerrys arm movements, except he's afraid of everything and shoots up the garage 'accidentally'. Meanwhile Rick is completely engaged in watching cat videos on You Tube rather than save the world from chaos in an instant because..... it can wait. So I recomposed everything and made a quick rough color version of this and just took it the rest of the way with a little help from Jason Boesch on finishing color touches. Secondly, is a quick sketch I did of an Escher-esque Gromflamite compound as another possibilty for publicity art but didn't make the cut. Can't wait for the premiere of Season 2, July 26th!!!!!
Finally finished the other panels to my sons bedroom during some time off. He still reacts to the art and imitates whats going on in each picture which is a joy to watch. Unfortunately it will probably be replaced by TMNT in 2 years but I'm enjoying watching him have fun with the series.