In For Sale By Superhero, Jim is an out-of-work dad, feeling lost in his life – until he discovers the secret headquarters of a dead superhero, the Grim Avenger. “That’s why when you look at how I’ve drawn Jim, you see a guy who’s kind of out of shape and looks a little weak and depressed,” says artist Brett Jubinville. “But when you look at the Grim Avenger you see someone who is the epitome of strength and courage.”
Jubinville been hired to create character designs for the Amazon Studios development slate project, after an open-door selection process that attracted hundreds of artists. Jubinville’s work will be made available for use by directors and storyboard artists applying for an upcoming For Sale By Superhero open directing assignment, to create an animatic test movie.
What was your approach to the assignment?
Jubinville: I spent time really studying the script and figuring out what kinds of people these characters are. The Grim Avenger, for example, is the simplest of all the characters. He’s fearless and very confident. He knows what his job is and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can do it. Jim, the main character, is the antithesis of this. …
Robin [Jim’s wife] has just been uprooted and moved away from her friends. She lives in a fairly hectic household, so I wanted to make sure she felt like she had some independence to her. That’s why she’s wearing some clothes that aren’t necessarily up-to-the-minute fashions.
How does you describe your style?
Jubinville: I don’t really have one particular style. I see a style more as a tool in the toolbox. Every project has a look that will work and won’t work for it, so when I’m looking at a new project, I go through what I’ve done in the past and try and find something that fits. And if nothing fits, I teach myself a new style that does fit. For Sale by Superhero is a good example of that. Before I started it, I was working in a more classic 1960’s UPA style, which was very flat, and very 2D. For a project like this however, I needed to do something that could potentially translate well into CG so I had to change it up.
What are your influences?
Jubinville: Right now the books that are on my desk are The Art of Making ParaNorman and the Charley Harper art book. In a couple of days it’ll probably be something different. I’m always looking for new sources of inspiration.
With For Sale by Superhero, I looked at artists like Bruce Timm for the Grim Avenger because I wanted him to have a classic superhero look to him. I also looked at movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Open Season because I wanted to make sure I designed in a way so we could do some really funny, goofy animation and those were movies where I feel they really succeeded in doing that.
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