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How to create the best villains: Guidelines by Andreas Deja

Published on July 15, 2016, by in Animation.

Character animator Andreas Deja has been responsible for a lot of memorable characters, from King Triton in The Little Mermaid to Lilo in Lilo & Stitch. But he is most remembered for his villains. Deja has to his credit three of the most popular animated villains of animation history – Gaston (Beauty & the Beast), Jafar (Aladdin), and Scar (The Lion King).

In this blog post, we take you through Deja’s process of work, and how he created these immortal characters.

Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)

As per Deja, Gaston remains his most difficult villain. The character was originally designed as a wig-wearing goof. But it was not realistic. Deja went back to the drawing board, and started drawing a human but a little cartoony. He soon discovered that this approach too was the wrong one. The team wanted the character to be handsome, in complete contrast to the Beast. Both the male characters were to prove that looks can be deceiving. These parallels had to be visually clear. This increased the challenge for Deja. However, he took up the task, and gave Gaston the most expressive face that any animated villain has ever had, being very careful not to overdo the caricature.

Jafar (Aladdin)

Easily one of the scariest villains in animated history, Jafar proved to be easy for Deja to animate after Gaston. Jafar was more in line with the classic definition of a villain; villains look like bad people, and Jafar fit the description. This character was evidently evil. Deja got rid of all the believability that he had used for Gaston and designed Jafar to be fun to draw & animate. He was given a very elongated face and a weird mouth. A lot more was possible to be done with the expressions that enhanced the whole drawing. There was additional help in the form of Jonathan Freeman, the voice of Jafar who helped Deja give the character the evil sorcerer character.

Scar (The Lion King)

This time was a little different than the previous two. Deja was dealing not with a human but with an animal. He had to make an anthromorphic lion. Surprisingly, Deja was initially not even interested in designing Scar, until he found out that Jeremy Irons was the voice of the character. Irons voice acting gave Deja the much-required inspiration to bring Scar to life. Scar offered a different challenge for Deja. The actions were actually rooted in the words, instead of the traditional method of action inspiring words. The character became even more fun because he enjoyed being evil and always had a great time.

Who amongst them is your favourite villain? Tell us in the comments below.

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