Flickr Images

Yzma's Lair

This one goes way back to 1996. (Yikes, a decade, it doesn’t seem that long ago.) I was asked by the director Roger Allers to do some development work on an epic Inca project he was developing at Disney. The working title for the project was, Children Of The Sun, which then was changed to Children In The Sun, Kingdom In The Sun, and lastly, The Emperor’s New Groove.

I worked on Children Of The Sun through its many reiterations, but after about a year of development the project was torn down and rebuilt with new directors and a new comedy direction. At which point I was no longer working on that project.

This was supposed to be Yzma’s lair! I based my imagedry on Inca architecture and sculpture. Through my research I had also learned that the Inca mummified their dead, but they didn’t have catacombs on the scale of Europeans. So I imagined a giant chasm of corpses as a dungeon for Supai (the imprisoned darkenss). I put it all together with the iron grate with an Inca design holding back the darkness. You can see the darkness creeping out of it's prison cell to snuff out a candle light. In this dark and forboding place, Yzma was to conspire with Supai against the Sun Kingdom.

The image was drawn with graphite on Ledger paper.


Noah Klocek said...

It's hard for most artists (including myself) to push environmental drawings. I always get bogged down in the perspective, composition and clarity. One of the thing I love most about all your work is that it maintains clarity and structure, but you are able to manipulate the perspective and value to enhance the composition and storytelling.

This pice is no exception, wonderful throughout. It really is an inspiration.

Marcelo Vignali said...

Noah, thanks for the compliments. The trick (if ithere is such a thing in drawing) is to subordinate your perspective to your composition, not the other way around.

Mark McDonnell said...

BEATIFUL work Marcelo. Nice use of directional aides, right down to the hits on some of the skulls to bring you back into the darkness' suduction.


cdeboda said...

Sounds like the original concept might have made for an interesting movie.

Really like this piece and its composition also.

Hans said...

Marcelo, do you have any bad drawings????? This one is truly amazing, as everything else you've posted. I love the whole feel of it and the design of "the darkness" is really cool. Although I actually like "The Emperors New Groove" I would've loved to see the more serious version finished. I've heard the grusom stories about the making and preproduction of this film, but have not yet seen Trudy's "SweatBox". Don't know if I ever will, they seem to hold on to it pretty tight!....I wonder why?!;)
I'd like to try out some more of your techniques if you don't mind:) So let's start with the graphite on ledger paper. Is there any special type or brand that you'd recommend? Why would you use that instead of prismacolor on vellum and how is the approach different working with ledger paper compared to vellum?

Thanks a lot for sharing. Thanks to you, I now have a much better and stronger portfolio!

Take care,


Cedric said...

Amazing work!

Marcelo Vignali said...

Hans, as for the differences between ledger paper and vellum. The main reason why I would choose one over the other is detail.

As you may have found out while working on vellum, it's hard to get a certain level of detail. Overall, vellum has a softer/difused look.

When I have been given an assignment, I start to formulate ideas and visions in my head. After I work out my thumbnail sketches, I consider the quality I want to achieve. If I want a softer bounce on the light and softer detail, I'll use vellum. If I want a little sharper contrast and sharper detail, I will use ledger and graphite.

Regardless, I usually work out my roughs in graphite for that reason. Most of the effects in vellum can be achieved in graphite, but not the other way around.

For those of you interested, the paper I use is Bienfang Ledger. I layout my drawings using an HB pencil, and then typically work back and forth between 4B and HB. However, depending upon the drawing, I may use a 2H or a 9B.

A. Riabovitchev said...

Amazing work!!:O)

Marcelo Vignali said...

Thanks everyone for the compliments.

Yes, Kingdom of the Sun was a very different's hard to say they were different versions of the same idea, only the setting is similar, the rest of it was totally different.

Lubomir said...

Maaan, the way you described the dungeon makes me want to see that version of the film (although I love the real version). Incas, Mayas, and Azteks fascinate me.

Great piece, very theatrical.

Marmax said...

I don't have much to say but: Amazing work!

Brandon said...

Hey Marcelo!!

I've followed your lead once again and started a blog. You have inspired me ever since we first met and contiune to amaze me with your talent, skill and willingness to help others.

I love the perspective and cast shadows in this drawing. It is just awsome.

Well, take care for now. I'll keep in touch.


Brandon said...

Hey Marcelo!!

I have followed your lead once again and started a blog. you have inspired me ever scince we met and continue to amaze me with your talent, skill and willingness to help others.

This drawing is awsome! Love the point of view and cast shadows.

Well, just wanted to say hello and I'll keep in touch.


Antonio Santamaria said...

Marcelo. It’s a fantastic work. It’s a pity that these kind of excellent art stayed hidden because some projects fall down... It’s a great luck for us that great artists like you want to show this works on web sites or blogs. I repeat, I feel affortunated for it. I like the film about the Emperor but seeing this eliminated work I think if it could finished still better. Congratulations and... thanks!

P.S. Excuse my poor english! :P

Philruto said...

you work is truly an inspiration. I have been continually checking your blog and looking at your amazing work. It really pushes me to get better.

I really love the mood you capture in this piece and all your work.

martin wittig said...

wow! What a fantastic idea! I love the piles of dead! Amazing as always!!! I can't wait for the next one:)

Henry Elmo Bawden said...

Awesome work Marcelo,

I hadn't seen this piece before. It is really neat. You do have some amazing compositions. I am really curious now about what was going on in the story that they left out. I had read about the emporors romance that was left out, but heard nothing about the darkness. After seeing this, I am extremely curious. Anyways, great work as always.


lorraine_alvarez said...

Simply amazing, the perspective, the rendering, everything comes to gether to make one hell of a drawing.

Jason Lethcoe said...

Hi Marco, great stuff as always!

UrbanBarbarian said...

I'd like to see that in 3D!!!

Well done and inspiring!

Marcelo Vignali said...

One of the ideas that was left out of The Emperor's New Groove" was the character Supai. Supai an evil darkness that was imprisoned in a dungeon inside the temple of the sun. Once released (with the help of Yzma), Supai enveloped the sun in an attempt to blot it out. Pacha, the peasant llama sheperd, rescues the sun by using a golden lasso to pull it out of the darkness.

Hans said...

Hey Marcelo,

The original idea sounds really different and very interesting. As far as I know there was also a girl that was suppose to be Cusko's love interest right? I remember there's a few storyboard panels in "Paper Dreams" from "Kingdom of the Sun" where he's playing around with this girl. Then of course also Stings "Someday she'll love me" from the soundtrack, which is completely out of place, but a very good song though.

Thanks for the great info on the ledger paper, I'll definitely try it out:)

Just posted my latest vellum piece on my blog with a few touch ups in PS. Do you ever manipulate or add effets to your drawings digitally after you're done with the pencil?

Take care,


Kaveh said...

I really love the way you mass your lights and darks. The composition is extremely strong! In all of your work I know exactly where I am supposed to be looking. Thanks for the inpsiration!

Alina Chau said...

WOW!! This is stunning!

Armand Serrano said...

Nicely done, my friend, very nicely done!

kcirbuk said...

Perspectiva guapa!!!

Bravo Marcelo!!

Paco K.

Michael said...

Marcelo. This is beautiful work!

I've just written a post in my blog:
about Colin Stimpson's new website.
As you may know, Colin was Art Director / Production Designer (Whatever the correct title is) for Emperor's New Groove, and quite a few other productions at Disney.
Hans, you will no doubt remember him from Balto in London.

He's moved back here to the UK a couple of years ago, and we are near neighbours.

Michael said...

Whoops! Sorry, Wrong Hans!
I meant Hans Bacher, not Ranum.