Sunday, May 17, 2009

The All New Futureboy

From 1998 to 2001 I worked at a small animation company. While there I created a character I called Futureboy. In my outline, Futureboy was a silent little astronaut who worked in a bustling spaceport. He was always on the verge of being fired by his nervous boss, who would stick him in different jobs each week, hoping to find one he could do without getting into trouble.

My plan was for Futureboy to star in a series of animated shorts, 7 to 8 minutes in length. These shorts would play in movie theaters before the main feature, just like the old Warner Bros. cartoons did back in the 1930s through 1960s. That plan was probably a little too ambitious.

Unfortunately before any of this got off the ground, Fox came out with "Futurama" and did the whole future shtick way better than I ever could. After that there didn't seem to be much point in going forward with Futureboy (Get it? Forward? Future? I got a million of 'em!).

My original Futureboy design was stiff, complicated and hard to draw. I decided to dust him off and simplify/redesign him.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the very rough sketch of the newly redesigned Futureboy.

I dug up an image of the original Futureboy. As I said earlier, he was stiff, complicated and hard to draw. Look at all those fussy little details on his spacesuit. There's way more stuff there than there needs to be. And his stubby little legs might look cute here, but it was next to impossible to draw or animate him in a walk cycle.

He was one of those characters that only looked good in one pose-- this one. As soon as you tried to turn him or have him move in any way, it was nearly impossible to draw him. He was due for a good overhaul.

This was most likely drawn in Flash, then imported into Photoshop where color was added. Yikes, would you look at that horrible line work! Every single line is the exact same weight. It makes me cringe just looking at it.


  1. Seeing those buildings in the background reminds me of the Squid secret hideout building here in Evansville. You should post a picture of that.

  2. I took some photos of that building a long time ago. I'll have to see if I can find them. It's been so long that I can't remember if they were digital or film.

  3. they were digital. you sent them to me.

  4. Bob, I love this little guy!!! And, I think you were right in re-designing him and simplifying him a tad. The v.2 is better! Just really cool


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