I grew up in Syria so naturally I missed a lot of the classic American movies. I recently watched “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” for the first time. I immediately fell in love with the set design. All the whimsical machines, bright colors and of course the chocolate inspired me to make this animated illustration as fan art for the movie. In this blog post I’m going to talk about some of the thinking behind the artwork.
The First Step
After I watched the movie for the first time, I rewatched the parts that I wanted to include in the illustration. Most of the scenes were inside the chocolate factory. I knew when I was identifying these moments that the artwork would be in a 3D Isometric style. Isometric designs show an object as though it’s viewed from one corner and a bird’s eye angle. I thought the style would work really well with the movie since it’s playful, colorful and imaginative. I’ve used the style many times over the past 5 years.
An Idea That Didn’t Work
I initially thought that having the iconic clock tower and some buildings that represent the town would be cool. After I almost finished modeling the clock tower I realized that buildings would be a bit boring because I can’t animate them. I like to have everything moving when I’m doing this style to keep things interesting, so I decided to mostly stick with machines.
Abstraction is usually easy if I’m working on something from my imagination (like Voyage to the moon and back), but abstracting the Willy Wonka world was challenging. I had to simplify the elements to fit my style without sacrificing the ability to recognize them. Here are a couple of examples:
This is one of my favorite machines in the movie. Instead of broadcasting images from a screen, this invention broadcasts real life objects to a television set. Willy Wonka tests his invention by using oversized Wonka chocolate bars. The big bar turns into a small bar on the TV that can be picked up and eaten, of course, since it’s the magical world of Willy Wonka. For the illustration, I added the idea of making the Wonka bar on the TV moving into a production line.
At the end of the movie, Willy Wonka, Charlie and his grandpa Joe take the Wonkavator, which is an elevator that flies. As the Wonkavator gathers momentum, it shatters the glass ceiling to leave the building and flies over the town. It’s a very special moment in the movie so I wanted to include it in the illustration.
Thinking of solutions to make the Willy Wonka world fit into my illustrative style was really challenging and fun. The artwork took around 60 hours to finish. Most of that time was spent modeling and iterating on the models. Next up, I’m thinking about making a Wes Anderson-inspired illustration, so stay tuned!