Flickr Images

A Doodle...

I did a dry brush doodle, and thought this looked very 1970s fashion magazine-like. So, I dropped in some dated color, shapes and type.

Just experimenting.


Another Hotel Transylvania Interview

I did an interview for Animated News with Jérémie Noyer. It's a pretty indepth interview with several images from the Making-of Book.

Jérémie is an author, a journalist and a teacher, working and living in the region of Toulon, France. He's written the 20th anniversary book for Disneyland Paris too.

This image never made it to the movie. It was a shrine that Dracula had made to his late wife. We changed it so that this same scene could take place in Dracula's bedroom. I thought the bedroom was a much better choice. The original design had two stained glass windows on either side of the curtains, and only the curtain on the painting was used for the reveal.

It was later replaced with this image which took place in the dark, and Dracula was only using the candles like a flashlight to illuminate spots in the room. We were using both the light and the curtain on the painting as a reveal. You'll note that the painting in this frame was only a temporary painting while we were working on the original.


Mavis' Bedroom, Hotel Transylvania '08

This was a drawing I did for Hotel Transylvania. Back in 2008, I was given the task of designing Mavis' bedroom.

This was an illustration for an earlier version of the story with the highly respected director Jill Culton. In Jill's version of the story Dracula's daughter, Mavis, was half human -- only she (Mavis) didn't know it! Mavis wondered why she couldn't turn herself into a bat,  or when her fangs would finally grow-in. Dracula just explained to her that she was simply a late-bloomer -- concealing the fact that Mavis' mother was human.

In Jill's version of the story Dracula was still the over-bearing and controlling father as he is in the final version of the story that made it into theaters. But, in this version, Dracula had intimidated all the other monsters in the hotel to play along and convince Mavis she was simply a late bloomer. His fear was that would discover she was human, and leave the hotel.

When the Johnathan-character (love interest) arrives at the hotel, Mavis soon discovers that she isn't a monster, and that she's been lied to all this time. And, that is the moment I chose to illustrate in this drawing.

In this drawing, Mavis has discovered that by being human she no longer has to avoid the sun, and for the first time opens up the windows to her room and allows the sunlight to come in. Her father, in an attempt to explain things, is caught in an awkward position of having to have "the-talk" with her. Rather than about the birds-and-the-bees, it's about the history of vampires and humans.

I divided the composition between light and dark, Mavis in the light, and Dracula in the shadows. We see that Dracula is careful not to get his toes in the light as he attempts to bridge the gap between the two of them with his books and facts -- hence the reason the book is in both light and shadow.

But, the chasm is seemingly insurmountable: divided by light and shadow, youth and age, truth and lies, vampire and human, and ultimately daughter and father.

The design for Mavis was originally created by Annette Marnat, and the design for Dracula (in this particular drawing) was of my own creation.


Made in Hollywood episode with me

Made in Hollywood also did a segment on me! Check out this episode with me. You'll also see my office, and some of my hand-drawn/painted artwork -- along with some tips on how I work.

And, as an added bonus, a sneak peak into my sketchbook.


Made in Hollywood

Made In Hollywood did a segment on Hotel Transylvania. It has interviews with our director Genndy Tartakovsky, and various others. You can see me in a few of the clips. There will be a part two where I get my two cents in.

Video clip


Follow Me on Twitter

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I got myself a Twitter account, in hopes I can better communicate with everyone. I'm going to be at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra this weekend doing my book signing, and I'll be tweeting from there. I'll be heading over to see Hotel Transylvania immediately afterward. I want to see how the audience reacts.

And, later on this year, I'll be tweeting from the CTN Expo. Just to let you know, I'll be doing a lecture and a demo. More to come on that subject very soon.

Please follow me on Twitter at @Vignalistudio, or you can look me up by my name, Marcelo Vignali.

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Book Signing for Hotel Transylvania

The making-of book for Hotel Transylvania is coming soon, and I'll be signing copies of the book at Gallery Nucleus on September 29.

Admission is FREE, and there will be an artists panel discussion from noon - 1 pm. Followed by a Q & A till - 1:30. Then, from 1:30 - 3 pm there will be a book signing.

Don't miss this opportunity to get the inside scoop on this long awaited film, ask your questions, and get your book signed by several of the artists.

As the production designer for this film, I'll be discussing the early development of this film, and many of the design decisions that came about during the six years I worked on this picture.

Along with me the Hotel Transylvania panel will also feature:
Rebecca Sugar (Story Artist)
Andy Erekson (Story Artist)
Glenn Harmon (Story Artist)

Want 15% off this art-book? Share this event on Facebook or Twitter before September 20 and Gallery Nucleus will give you 15% off the art-of book when you purchase in-store.


Hawaiian Hula Girl

I just got back from a vacation trip to Hawaii with my family. No doubt it was the inspiration for this image. What a beautiful island paradise. The hula is an amazing dance: it really is hypnotic. The swaying of the grass skirts and fluid motions of the body look very much like the swaying palm trees and ocean waves. Really relaxing.

I had been to Kauai on a photo research trip many years ago, Disney sent a group of us doing visual development for Lilo & Stitch. But, this was the first time I was able to vacation in Hawaii.


"Girls and Flowers" Part II

Here's another sketch along the lines of  the last post.

Again, there is no reference used for these images, personally I think that's part of the charm. Sometimes too much reference adds too much information that becomes distracting. However, when we draw from our imaginations we only draw those things which are relevant to the mood or the point we wish to get across to the viewer.


"Girls and Flowers" Inspired Sketch

I just love tasteful fantasy illustrations, and my friend Craig Elliot and the Gallery Girls put together a life drawing event called "Girls and Flowers." Sadly, I wasn't able to attend, but it certainly inspired me to draw a  few sketches along those lines. Here is one I gave to my friend Omar Smith.

I drew this purely from my imagination (no reference) with Prismacolor Pencils on toned paper, and used whiteout for the whites on the flowers.


I have posted on Sketchclub!

Yesterday we got together for our weekly Sketchclub lunch. When we were all done eating, sketching and chatting, we spotted our mark getting ready to cross the street. Hopefully, we'll have several people draw the mark this time around so we can compare the details. Go and check us out at Sketchclub.


Yet Another Dry Brush Figure Sketch

This one was drawn during a figure drawing class. This was a five minute sketch, dry brush on newsprint. The textured paper was added digitally.


More Dry Brush

Here's another dry brush sketch.

The sole purpose of this exercise isn't to render a drawing in dry brush, but to draw it quickly -- forcing my mind to think quickly. In total, the sketch was drawn within five minutes.


Dry Brush

I could feel the rust growing!

Again, as we were coming down the finish line on Hotel Transylvania, I was working late and found myself incredibly busy at work. And, as such, I couldn't keep up on my practicing. I managed to keep our Sketchclub going, but I had stopped going to our figure drawing classes. It's been about six months since I was able to draw the figure.

I thought I would go ahead and start practicing my traditional skills again by doing some sketches. Here's a dry brush sketch I did just recently.


I've Posted On Sketchclub!

I've posted on the sketchclub blog! I know it's been a while, I've been swamped with work trying to finish up on Hotel Transylvania. Now that I've come up for air, I managed to get the memory sketch done for the week.

To view the entire image of FOUR CHARACTERS, go check out the blog.


I just did an interview with I'm not bad on a project I did TWENTY YEARS AGO -- and what seems like another lifetime ago.

In 1989 I was hired at Disney Imagineering, and a year later became the lead designer for the Roger Rabbit Car-Toon Spin Ride. (Yes, at one point in my career I was a theme park designer.) The interview covers my work on the ride, and how the Toontown project started.

The photo is of me the year the ride opened up to the public in 1994. Interesting to note, the ride was completed a few months after Toontown opened in 1993, but Disney marketing wanted to sit on the ride and open it up in 1994. It literally just sat there under lock and key. But, since I was a friend of Roger, I was able to get my picture with him. That's me on the left, sporting the Walt Disney 'stache.


Another Image from the Trailer...

Here's an image of Big Ben that was featured in the trailer for Hotel Transylvania.

In this sequence, monsters from all over the world are coming to the hotel. So, we needed to create images from various well-known international locations.

What's also exciting is that our director, Genndy Tartakovsky, made a trip last weekend to Cancun, Mexico, to present 17 minutes of footage to the international press. The more stuff continues to come out about our movie, the more I can show you all a bit more.


Hotel Transylvania Trailer!

Sony Pictures Animation is finally coming out with the long awaited Hotel Transylvania, and the first trailer has finally been posted! You can check it out at Hotel Transylvania Trailer.

I've been working on Hotel Transylvania throughout it's various iterations, a total of six years -- by far the longest I've ever worked on any one project. As the Production Designer for Hotel Transylvania, I'm really grateful to Sony Corporate for seeing the potential I saw in this project and didn't give up on it. It would have been very easy for the studio to simply say, "no, this is taking too long,"and simply pulled the plug. However, it took courage to get behind this film and complete it. And for that, I couldn't be more thankful.

I'm really looking forward to showing all the work I've done on this project throughout these past six years. But of course that will have to wait till after the film is released in September.

This particular image is posted on the trailer, and so I thought I would post the artwork that inspired the windmill image in the trailer.



My good friend and coworker Ron Lukas has ventured into the blog-sphere! He's so unbelievably talented, he's responsible for much of the amazing color on Surf's Up, and now Hotel Transylvania.

Ron studied under Sergei Bongart, the famed Russian painter. And, several years later Ron would have his own school in Washington State where he himself taught painting. But, fortunately for us, Ron transitioned into the world of animation -- lending his expert eye to help with color.

Ron's mastery (and I don't use that word lightly) of traditional painting has enabled him to become one of the top artists in animation today. But his talent and contributions don't stop there, his visual development and design drawings are simply amazing. His drawings and illustrations have that rare quality of that bygone era of Dulac, Bauer and Rackham.

Ron Lukas has set up a portfolio blog, and I'd like to invite all of you to come and take a look. Ron is perhaps one of the most accomplished artists in the animation industry today.


The Royal Treatment

There's a restaurant near the Sony studio called Royal T, and the waitresses there dress with these French maid-like uniforms. However, this time one of the waitresses was wearing these enormous boots! They were so big they looked like fishing waders, complimented of course with her demure good nature nature. But you know, they kinda worked!


Wimpy Boy (Sketchclub)

I think I'm the only one who did the "mark" for this past week.

It's been years since I've done straight watercolors, and it makes me wonder, why the heck did I stop, they're so much fun? Oh, that's right, I have kids!

Let's see if someone posts their version of this wimpy kid at, Sketchclub.


Sketchclub Sketches

I decided I would dust off the watercolors during our weekly Sketchclub gathering. I painted these during my lunch hour.

I really enjoy painting on these buckslips. The paper texture and weight on these buckslips is perfect.

In earlier days at Sony, the studio had these made for one of our directors -- complete with his name at the bottom of the buckslip. But, when he left the studio, he left behind a stack of these. They laid around the studio for a few years when I discovered them. I quickly grabbed them, took them to the paper cutter and cut the name off the bottom, and have been steadily working my way through the stack of buckslips. Gosh, I don't know what I'll do when I run out!



This poor girl was so skinny, she couldn't even fill out those Daisy-Duke shorts she was wearing. Hah, but she was working it, just ask that kid!



Happy new year everyone, lots of changes!

For starters, I lost my home office space to my daughter. Yes, my office has been boxed up and now resides in the confines of my garage, my former home office has been converted into a bedroom for my teenage daughter. I spent the last week scraping, sanding and painting, and it looks fantastic. She's really happy to finally have her own room.

But, since I've downsized my office, the consolation is that I now have a Cintiq! My office now consists of a small corner in my bedroom with a computer table. Unfortunately, I'm working with Photoshop 7 on a nine year old computer. I'll have to manage to make this work for now.

This is a test I made using my Cintiq.