Jerry Beck and Martin Goodman have published an interview with Craig McCracken, supervising director Dave Thomas, and art director Alex Kirwan. It focuses a lot on the technical, creative, and artistic process, which renders much of the content novel compared even despite several earlier interviews with the cast and creative team.
The above images are part of a board that serves as a quasi style guide for the artists. We also have a picture of the (almost) complete board.
Jerry Beck: Is this Flash animation? Someone said that it’s being done on computer, but obviously you’re drawing it.
Craig McCracken: It’s done in Toon Boom Harmony, a program almost like a mix between Flash and After Effects. With Flash you draw a character, clean it up, illustrate it and put it in the computer where you can slide it around like a toony virtual puppet. What they’ve done up at Mercury Filmworks is basically liquefy our toony drawing and sculpt it into any pose. So, if we send a special hand-drawn pose, and tell them this is what we want the character to look like, they will take the virtual 2D puppet and mold it to that drawing, or even redraw parts if they need to. It’s a weird mix between 2D and 3D. All the original pieces are based on drawings. With all these different planets and characters, it’s even more complicated because you’ve got to have new puppets for every single one. I really admire the “ink lines,” even though there’s no ink involved. It’s smooth, really great.
Then, of course Craig also discussed his artistic influences.
Jerry Beck: I really dig Lord Hater’s ship, it’s like something out of the seventies. There is a hippie feel, which I guess is what you were going for. It has the feeling of something out of Allegro non Tropo; that entire era.
Craig McCracken: There’s some rendering to it. It was based on Terry Gilliam’s animation, the look of Fantastic Planet.
Jerry Beck: It almost represents to me that period of limited animation, except that it’s fully animated.Craig McCracken: There is a sort of rigid meticulousness to Lord Hater, but we also thought it looked cool, and it’s a style that hasn’t been tapped into a lot. Another thing we looked to for art direction is that Croatian TV show from studio Zagreb, Professor Balthazar. Alex and I discovered that two years ago; it’s like Jay Ward meets Yellow Submarine.
They go on to discuss Disney TV’s cooperation with Mercury Filmworks and what makes them special compared to the infamous overseas animation sweatshops.
The management at Disney also appears to be a lot more “hands on.” Craig explains that he had to do a lot more detailed animatics to pitch scenes to them than at Cartoon Network: “Some of our animatics are almost the equivalent of final cartoons I delivered at Cartoon Network.”
Then Dave Thomas and Alex Kirwan add in their comments, and this is where it gets tricky, because these two had—to my knowledge—not been interviewed about Wander Over Yonder before, so that their answers are packed with insightful details—I’d have to quote almost everything.
Instead, just head over there and read the whole thing! I’ll leave you with one final quote, though.
Dave Thomas: That’s the fun of this show—we can go anywhere in this series without any limits, and Wander, Sylvia and Hater have such iconic personalities that we can literally drop them into any situation anywhere. We have a great episode coming up called “The Void,” because they go to a place where there’s nothing at all. It’s a surreal episode where they’re manifesting objects out of nowhere, and we break all the laws of physics.