Thursday, February 23, 2006


Jane was a tough one. All we knew at the beginning was, that we didn't wanted to do just another one of those Disney-high-school-chicks, like Arielle, a kind of behavoiur and speech that is, forgive me, very American. But we had no clear idea, what to replace it with, only thing we knew was : She should be very british. Kevin Lima had the rough suggestion to look at Julia Ormand in "Sabrina" as a guideline, but just for the character, not for the design.

My first step into the character, designwise, came from a nice, little movie, called "Picnic at Hanging Rock" by Peter Weir. I had always loved the contrast of these young girls in their white dresses and the hot, glowing sun. It immedeatly came to my mind, when I started with Jane. So, I used that as a door and I began with my sketches.

Jane's dress reminded me of Sluefoot Sue and that fantastic Milt Kahl -walk in "Pecoos Bill"
We wanted her dress, as she herself too, to adept very quickly to the jungle. Less and less Victorian, or is it Edwardian, in a short time.

Some very early sketches....

A big step forward occured, when a young and until then unknown actress appeared on the screen, Gwyneth Paltrow, in "Emma". Not only was the setting the correct one, but also the character was kind of spot on, at least, for the stage, that we were in.

Some sketches inspired by Gwyneth...
The directors liked the turned up nose very much and also the overbite. That was considered something new and refreshing.

Minnie Driver, - I had the pleasure to give her a studio-tour- , added a completly new attitude to Jane. She was very helpful and brought a lot of character to the ..... ahm, character. Just imagine an american actress doing a cockney impression instead,that would have been horrible !!!!

But the real breakthrough came with Jane Goodall and a lecture she was giving at the studio about her apes and their family life. What a charming, interesting, warm person. Not at all like in that Simpson-episode !!!! From that moment on, it was clear, that Jane had to be based on her, a young Jane Goodall, my God, even the name was right.

So I got myself a lot of National Geographic tapes and magazines and tried to find a mix of what we had till then and young Miss Goodall...

Kent Melton's fantastic Maquette. Can't praise him enough .

Heres the nose again.
Some pictures from the final film.


Boris Hiestand said...

I love your posts on the evolution of a character. Wonderful drawings!
But ehr.. even though she's getting closer, it looks like she's not quite near the final design yet. What happened? Are there more posts, or did other people take over at this point?

did you play drawing tennis with Ken Duncan?

Doron Meir said...

Great reading, thanks for posting!

HaraldSiepermann said...

At a certain point Ken Duncan took over and created his Jane from hundreds of sketches plussing it with his own talent.
You will find bits and pieces from all stages in the final design.

Bonnie Branson said...

I love these stories, thanks for sharing them.

Elliot Cowan said...

As an Australian I'd like to say how pleasing you used Picnic at Hanging Rock as reference.
It's a very peculiar film and wonderful.

Ben Balistreri said...

All your character posts are inspiring and very informative! These posts are true jewels among the blogosphere!

Jenny Lerew said...

Absolutely beautiful and alive work. Jane was my favorite thing in Tarzan, which of course has just loads of wonderful designs and animation. I'd seen some of these drawing before and not known they were yours--glad I do now!
Thanks for taking the time to chart the evolution of her look and manner--that's priceless stuff.

J said...

Really amazing stuff Harald. You're a real inspiration.

HaraldSiepermann said...

Hey Jenny,
guess we both made it to the "Frontpage" of the Cartoonbrew today , cheers !

A. Riabovitchev said...

Your stores about create charaters as always very interesting!Thank you!:o)

Shane White said...

Great dev work!
Nice to see the steps.


Mario Andrei said...

really awesome post, eLearinig :)

"What a charming, interesting, warm person. Not at all like in that Simpson-episode !!!!"

hahaha, i could agree more, I just want you to know, if you dont alrady know it, that episode its the worst simpsons episode ever, i'm not sayin it, every sipson fan know it...

Dave James said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your process. What a awsome insight to the process and your talents.

Anonymous said...

Great great sketches!


solo puedo mirar maravillado el trazo dejado por su lapiz.
hacia tiempo que no veia dibujos de este estilo felicitaciones

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