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Watership Down (Abandoned Project) 1/2

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I was planning to do a visual development project based offa Richard Adam's Watership Down this year, but life has been sucking ass lately and I realized between this and the last thing I pushed out I'm just not gonna be able to manage making everything I wanted to in a timely manner. There's always tomorrow I suppose.

I really enjoy the WSD franchise as a whole. I like the different adaptations as what they are, which I think is the only way you'll be able to get entertainment value out of them. That said, all of them have fallen short with regards to art direction. I'm not shitting on the people who worked on the various movies and TV series, mind you. I just don't know if any of the teams had the right resources or had few enough limitations set on them to achieve something that's either really polished or stylized in a way that works well for the source material. Even the 70s film had animation too clunky for me to call it "good". In an ideal world, I think a WSD adaptation for any sized screen would make the cast semi-realistic with some apparent stylization to them, which I chose to interpret via an oil-painted effect.

Some notes on the individual characters' designs:
- Fiver has minor piebaldism and ocular albinism. The white spots are just to make him stand out as a weirdo among his warrenmates and his eyes are purplish blue because he's a seer. I imagine that all seers, including Silverweed and Hyzenthlay, would have similar eyes.
- Hazel is pretty generic because I always feel like one character should serve as a reference point for the rest of the cast. He and Fiver have basically the same coat color/texture (sans the white spotting). He has a big wad of scar tissue on his haunch from where he was shot.
- Bigwig is super tall on his hind legs and very wide. He has ear tufts to go with his head tuft because I was inspired by the hairdos lonhead rabbits in real life have. He's got a buncha scars and he only gathers more over time, including the "mark" given to him in Efrafa.
- Kehaar is a black-headed seagull in his summer complexion. Despite having molted already, he has white patches on his head and face that never completely go away. He also has several tiny bb-gun scars to explain why he knows so much about "little black stones".
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CuttlefishDraws's avatar

DBYGBSUHSNUHNAYUBNNGUSBUHNAUHNAUHNSHNSHSHHYSHYSBYSHYSBSBSYBSYBSBSYBBSYBSYBSYBSYBSYBSYBSYBSYSHYSHYHSYSHYBS DONT ABANDON THIS PLEAAAAAAAAEE UR ART STYLE AND WATERSJIP DOWN IS PERFEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCCTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT AAAAAAAAAA

Wreckham's avatar

god bless lmao i'm sure at some point i'll upload the handful of other pieces i did for this project

CuttlefishDraws's avatar

That’ll do for me, man


keep up the good work!!

TelloSimian's avatar

Personally, I think the 2018 version was quite disappointing. It was too long, it was surprisingly boring & it makes much of the characters very unlikable ... For example, Bigwig manipulates Hazel into going to the farm almost getting him killed in the process & he never apologizes for it, Hawkbit spreads lies & rumors about Dandelion (his best friend may I remind you) to impress a female & Kehaar....oh God Kehaar.



Not to mention, it wasn't as artistically vivid/creative as the 1970's version & would have to rank it the lowest of the 3 adaptations. The 2018 version just reminds me of the saying "If you can't remake it better, don't remake it at all."

Wreckham's avatar

yeah it was a bit of a bummer. the writing shitted up most everything in the book that made the characters so powerful and the animation style and quality were... eh? i feel like they were trying to modernize it (don't bother doing that) and they wanted the animation to be realistic but they didn't have the budget for it (so they shoulda stylized it instead) and they just missed the mark all around


there's some really cool shit portrayed in some early concept art for the miniseries, and i appreciated the portrayal of fiver's visions, but The Graphix just didn't reach the heights necessary to pull them off to their fullest potential. ah well. i'm sure when there's another adaptation in 5-10 years it'll be better lol

R-FakonWolf's avatar

This is a very cool design!

I definitely feels like Fiver really should be this way from all his stressed, seeing scary visions of the future and having nightmares.

Wreckham's avatar

thank you! personally i appreciate fiver's character development in the book and how he grows into a more confident guy, but i wish ppl would make him more bedraggled. he's got SO many issues

AuraMajesty's avatar

Very cool! My mom corresponded with Richard Adams back in the day, and I always like seeing the rabbits.

Wreckham's avatar

thank you! i've never been more jealous of someone's mother lol

Hyzenthlay-Rose's avatar

I always adore seeing your fan art interpretations of things (like with Balto and TLK) and Watership Down is my favorite book so I was so excited to see these. I love your version of Fiver with the white patches and the purple eyes.

Wreckham's avatar

thank you! it's one of my faves too, i'm currently rereading it and rediscovering how great it is. glad you likie!

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