lunes, 7 de mayo de 2018


Nemanja FILIPOVIC is a Slavic graphic artist who does Shakespeare retellings for a study site called NERDSTUDY. Her character and setting designs for Othello are pretty rad, even though they differ a little from what I had in mind, so

A variety of heads for Othello. We chose to completely avoid a gangster look, and visualized a more regal Moore.

Tight lines for Othello

Desdemona: we wanted a simple dress, and a pretty, but expressive face. She's a completely good character who gets falsely accused.

Oh yes, this Desdemona looks surprisingly like Belle. You know, the brainy brunette fiancée of the Beast.
There is so much canon about Desdemona's hair colour being officially golden or titian... seeing a nutbrown Des, I mean, I have nothing against it...

Emilia is Iago's wife, but as the story goes she asserts her will. She went with angular features and red hair to show her powerful presence.

A ginger Emilia kind of blew me off... I am so used to seeing her dark of features that portraying her as a ginger was like wham. Also, she's wearing quite a fine gown for a handmaid married to a non-commissioned-officer, right?
Catlike, angular... I think that aspect of the look is just right for her, isn't it, as opposed to a more waiflike Desdemona?
Well, I've already seen a ginger Emilia in New Boy, the Chevalier novel, and I think that making her fire-haired (though a fire-haired Bianca is for me more likely) conveys a lot about her personality. Also, those expressions. That pluck. The way she reacts when Iago stabs her in the back, through the spine and the heart, and she gasps at seeing the blade rising up from her chest.

Various heads for Iago. We were looking for a friendly, but somewhat sly demeanor; a face one could like, but simultaneously think is smug.
Discarded looks: Evil Gustavus Adolphus, Tywin Lannister, and this kind of Schwarzi/Wolfcastle.

Tight linework and expressions for Iago.

I mean... making Iago blond and Cassio raven-haired seems more influenced by the Branagh film, in which Kenny himself nailed the part of Iago. And indeed this Iago looks like Kenneth Branagh.
No visible battle scars, no missing eye (like in my dream poster) to illustrate his military experience. But still he appears to be Othello's age and a decade older than Cassio, right?
And not only have they made him a green-eyed blond to reference the green-eyed monster, but that colour scheme (golden hair, green eyes, fair skin) is rather Lannisterian, right? I mean, this Iago looks as Lannister-esque as Cassio below could pass for a Stark for the same reasons.

Discarded looks: resemble Grantaire, Marius, Renly, Jesus Superstar...
Various heads for Cassio. In the end, the facial hair was completely removed for a cleaner appearance.
(And more innocent, I would like to add)

The clean and trustworthy Cassio!

I kind of like this Derek-like Cassio ;) who could also pass for a male Snow White. Not titian-haired as he appeared in the poster in my dream, but still a scrumptious piece of ikemen... The part where he's seen drinking, or rather quaffing, at the bottommost right pic is lovely, and I think that throughout the SP saga, there never was a pic of Derek quaffing like that. Looks like Grantaire sans stubble. Not to mention those youthful, dutiful expressions: rule 63 Snow White (I once had a husbando in a visual novel who was rule 63 Snow White; ie Sean White)... yes, he looks more like Sean White than Derek :) Crossed over with a young Ferenc Liszt ;)

It appears that Bianca is the Éponine-esque girl (furthest to the right in top row, fourth person from the left in bottom row). I had always thought of Bianca as a performer, but the Éponine influence in Filipovic's design packs a lot of free spirit as well (although not in the same way).
I'm thinking of Mylène Farmer and her video clip Désenchantée, in which she totally nails it as the eldest Thénardier girl.

In my mind's eye, Roderigo is more the lanky kind of awkward, while Filipovic instead made him a butter-ball. Nothing personal against the change of physique, only that I preferred him to look like his namesake in Babes in Toyland, where Roderigo was the lanky/skinny henchman. Also, this fat Roddy looks far less than the kind of camp straight sissy fop I imagine the character as...

Different attire for the guys. I would have gone for the breastplate looks, which have a military feel to them and that of their rank in the hierarchy. Also, their civvies are pretty rad. Iago looks quite professionally casual in a skirt, Cassio looks nonchalantly casual (that gauchely buttoned shirt that looks like Iago's palm may slip onto it at any given moment!); the latter's scarlet ensemble looks like what he would wear in a tryst with Bianca ;)
And Othello's civvies have this pirate feel which would never have been out of place in his backstory: war orphan, child soldier... surely, a stint on the seven seas would also have been part of his youth, right?

As I have said before, Emilia looks pretty ostentatious in that dress for a non-com's wife. I prefer her with a bun to with her hair down... though it would be radass indeed for her to untie her bun and let that tangle of fiery locks down when she finally speaks the truth, as liberal as the north; that would definitely signal that she has nothing left to repress.
Desdemona wears more modest clothing in comparison, reflecting her personality. The Belle reference is not necessary to reiterate, but she looks adorable in white too; the dresses furthest to the left and right could make an impressive wedding gown and/or négligée, right?
Turns out Bianca was not the Éponine, but this Russian-looking Bond girl instead. Love her décolletage, far more outrageous than that of the other ladies, and her shocking pink gown, with a rose quartz choker to go along with it. Also, she looks as much like Odette as Cassio looks like Derek (any second guesses? ;) )
In my post on the dream poster ("DE GAUCHE À DROITE"), I made for once Bianca fair-haired, but a dark-skinned blonde (like in Branagh's film) instead (and a performer, something like an illusionist or acrobat). Looking less Slavic and more generally "Other" through European eyes. Mostly due to the reputation of the personality of girls with this colour scheme in anime. I thought, for my Bianca, mainly of that catgirl in SAO Alfheim... the cait sith (cat shee) leader...  Alicia Rue.
Still, the buxom Bond-shell also has her potential. Plus, she looks as much like Odette as Cassio looks like Derek (any second guesses? ;) )

Bianca is a fun and bubbly girl, as well as Cassio's real lover. The thick lips, blonde hair, thick lashes, and curves differentiate her from the more courtly women in the play.
Also, she has the Lannister phototype, like Iago... (not only do she and Cassio look like Derek and Odette, or Marius and Cosette for that matter)

Ludovico, Roderigo, the clown, and some more supporting characters.


Character Compilations for Nerdstudy's Othello

Rook Tower in Othello

Streets of Cyprus in Othello

Cyprus Castle Courtyard in Othello

Desdemona's Bedroom in Othello

Desdemona's Balcony in Othello

Cyprus Victory Celebration Scene in Othello

The characters were stylized for speed. I needed to create 100+ poses a week for the projects and managed to average 120. With that, the characters were done cartoony, and these backgrounds were done impressionistically.

For the record, all of these images were created in two weeks total time. Yes, some I painted straight from my head, but speed was of the essence so I mostly used matte painting techniques and 3D assets to speed up the process. Art for art's sake, or the gallery, are great, yet they are fundamentally different from art-for-production. That's a different beast altogether.

Othello Production Shots from Nerdstudy

A more Disney-like, animated style was used here. It is definitely an asset to have multiple 
styles in your repertoire.
No word of a lie, in one month I was able to produce over 500 full-colour poses while working for Nerdstudy, and I did this for six months. It would have been more, but I also had to compile them to create the scenes, and format everything properly so that my compositor could use them in After Effects. Naturally, I was also slowed by the fact that I had to follow my storyboards. Who knows what could have been done if the poses could be random, but that is not how art-for-production works.

My clients at Nerdstudy entrusted me with the whole Othello project. I created all the character art, backgrounds, props etc... currently, the extremely talented compositers are turning all my work into motion comics to help people learn Shakespeare.

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