Today is the day! It’s the release day of Big Hero 6: Baymax Returns. It’s also time for me to cover the 6th and final member of the Big Hero 6 team. Last, but not least, I have chosen to feature concept art of Hiro, the leader of the team and protagonist of the film. Like Hiro, the artist of this particular piece of character design art, Lorelay Bove, played an important role in the development of the film. Bove was a visual development artist for the film, but most of her art work seemed to have focused very specifically on the characters. She created multiple pieces of concept art for every major character in the film, and did plenty of work on Hiro. Many of her co-workers credit her with creating distinct yet unified outfit designs for all 6 members of the super hero team.
When I look at Lorelay Bove’s concept art for the film, more than anything I think about costume. Bove seems to have an innate sense of how a character’s clothing style and even the coours they wear help define their personality to the audience. Some of her concept art shows a broader variety of possible outfits, and thus possible personalities, for each character. These sets of drawings would show the character with very different hairstyles, completely different outfit styles, and in the earlier stages of the film, even different faces. Other’s are more like this concept art of Hiro, focusing on the very fine details of what a character would wear. While all three of these possible outfits for Hiro remain in the same sloppy teenage-boy vein, each little tweak highlights a slightly different kind of personality. Although the decision over whether Hiro should wear a hoodie or flannel shirt and sweatpants or shorts may seem simple, Bove’s art shows how the film’s production team put thought into every little detail of their characters. Notice also how Bove uses this piece of concept art to experiment with which colours would work best for Hiro’s clothing. Choosing character colour schemes was another important task she fulfilled on the film. She is credited for coming up with the final colour scheme of every team member’s super-suit. She choose bright, vibrant colors that best expressed each character’s individual personality, and yet managed to compliment each other in an interesting yet unexpected way.
As sloppy and casual as Hiro’s final design looks, a lot of effort went into designing a authentic looking fourteen year-old boy. In many ways, Hiro was very unfamiliar territory for Disney. For starters, he’s the companies first mixed-race protagonist. The film’s production team chose to make Hiro half Japanese, half white to fully embody the overarching east-meets-west design concept they had been shooting for in the film’s art. It also allowed many of members of the film’s team to use Hiro to reflect their own experiences growing up as Asian-Americans. Disney animation also does not often feature teenage boys as their main characters, and thus Hiro presented a challenge for many of the film’s character designers, story-artists, and animators. They had to make him look appealing to audiences, without falling into the trap of making him look too cutesy. They spent time observing real teenage boys in their lives, like their sons and younger brothers, and also actual gifted teenage boys. They found that many gifted kids often look extremely disheveled as they were too focused on their activities to worry about combing their hair or putting together matching outfits. So they did the same with Hiro, putting him in slightly mismatched clothing that mostly consisted of t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, cargo shorts, and sneakers. They also gave him unkempt hair that proved a real challenge for their hair simulation programs in it’s random looseness. In the end Lorelay Bove and the rest of the film’s crew came up with a rather authentic looking depiction of a teenage boy and science prodigy in Hiro.
There you have it, the last in my series of Masterpiece Monday posts featuring members of the super heroes of Big Hero 6. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Big Hero 6: Baymax Returns premieres tonight on Disney Channel and Disney XD and serves as the pilot for Big Hero 6: The Series. I am so excited to watch it and spend even more time with these fantastic characters.
Image Credit: The Art of Big Hero 6