Sneak Preview of Horton artwork

Posted on Sunday 1 March 2009

I have been procrastinating over uploading my concept work for Horton. The movie didn’t get as much attention as last year’s brilliant films like Wall E and Kung Fu Panda… so it has been forgotten pretty quickly but I tell you how all the incredible artwork was created by some of the best talents in the business such as Sang Jun Lee, Bob MacKenzie, Master Jie, Kyle McNaughton, and Vincent Nguyen. As some of you know I don’t hesitate to voice my frustration for Fox not interested in doing art of books for Blue Sky movies!

Anyhow, I still wanna organize and upload all my Horton work eventually. And there, I’ll show and explain what exactly are the difference between visual development, colorscript, color keys.(even at places at Pixar, these are often confusing and mixed up but they are done for all very different purposes)

This is one of the early early concept illustrations I did. Back then, I was the only artist working with the directors.

Any early visual development work is always fun but at same time, very challenging. You really have to provide many different options to the directors. The most challenging part of it was to figure out the way to translate the wonders of Seuss world into CG animation.


This particular concept painting was done a little later when we had a little more idea of what we wanted the film to look like. You can see the evolution of it from the two above. This is over Kyle McNaughton’s layout. In my opinion, he is really the guy who figured out the 3D interpretation of Dr. Seuss style.

Ok… that’s it for now but I hope I can show the rest some time soon!

27 Comments for 'Sneak Preview of Horton artwork'

    March 1, 2009 | 5:52 pm

    I don’t comment often, but I just wanted to say that Horton really was forgotten way too soon. When I saw the movie, I was really hoping to see an art of book for Horton, but sadly there isn’t one.

    So congratulations to you and your co-workers for making Horton one of the best looking CG animated films to date! I’ll definitely be back to see the rest of your Horton work. Muchos saludos and cheers.

    March 1, 2009 | 9:59 pm

    I can’t wait to see all the concept work. Beautiful as usual and an indication of all the goodness to come. Cheers Dice!

    March 2, 2009 | 3:33 am

    Oh My Goood. Really beautiful work Dice ! Still the Master of light. I wish Bluesky could show your magic, the bacskstages and full artistic process in some artbooks like Pixar does.

    March 2, 2009 | 11:00 am

    Thank you Dice for showing us these beautiful artworks. Isn

    March 2, 2009 | 9:48 pm

    Dice, as always beautiful work. I like seeing the progression of images, very interesting. I can’t wait to see more.

    March 3, 2009 | 10:43 am

    Thank you so much for the beautiful images. Horton was one of my fav animation films in 2008, I’m just waiting for the blu-ray price on Amazon to drop so that I can watch it again in all its colorful brilliance !

    March 3, 2009 | 3:24 pm

    I’m especially drawn to the early development piece in the middle. love the elegance of the composition and colours. It’s all beautiful, of course.

    March 3, 2009 | 4:55 pm

    that jungle came out really great. its crazy how warm the undersides of foliage gets. you captured it brilliantly. Hope youre well Dice-

    March 4, 2009 | 10:03 pm


    First, I think that “Horton Hears a Who” was the most underrated animation film of 2008. I think that it did well the box office but did not get enough credit at the Oscar or Annies.

    Secondly, I think that you and your team did a masterful job of working in light/shadows into the story telling starting out in open vistas in the jungle with a lot of warm light, escaped into the jungle which was in the shadows conveying dread and stress, impending doom in the overcast/fog signifying possible “death”. I am most impressed in the shadows of piece 2 and 3. (Yes, if you ever been in a jungle, it is dark)

    Looking forward in your continued discussion of Horton. Cudos to the Blue Sky gang who are not only super talented but also very friendly when I met them at Comic Con.


    March 6, 2009 | 8:17 pm

    thanks for showing those beautiful concept work~~ I wish Blue Sky can have an art book for Horton….or maybe I miss it?
    I still can’t believe Horton wasn’t at the Oscar and Annie with Wall E and Panda…….that’s so wrong!!!

    March 8, 2009 | 9:16 pm

    Hey Dice,

    These are awesome, the colors and the composition are fantastic. I have always admired your work , especially your drawings and paintings you have been a great inspiration during my time at SVA. Thanks

    March 13, 2009 | 6:40 am

    They are gorgeous, congratulations :0)

    March 13, 2009 | 6:41 am

    These are gorgeous, congratulations!

    March 14, 2009 | 11:49 pm

    Hi Dice!

    Its good to hear from you!
    I love the Wall-E paintings you’ve posted.
    Hope to catch up sometime soon after I graduate.


    Antoine Blandin
    March 15, 2009 | 8:58 am

    Always impressed by your work, it’s a great source of inspiration, a bowl of air, I can just encourage you to continue to make of so beautiful images. +

    March 16, 2009 | 6:34 pm

    Thanks for posting these Dice,

    I’d love to hear about the difference between color keys, visual development, and the like (but not same). I cannot wait to see more of your work. ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Adam Tamte Volker

    March 17, 2009 | 5:11 pm

    awesome as always

    March 23, 2009 | 9:04 pm

    Hi Dice,

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this post for a while, but I just wanted to say that these images are incredibly inspiring! As you say, it’s too bad that Blue Sky has no interest in producing “Art-Of” books!

    March 24, 2009 | 12:45 pm

    Fantastic artworks, I wish I could understand and draw lights , colors , and composition this way…. Congratulations!

    March 27, 2009 | 5:21 pm

    Beautiful. Luminous. Moody. Wonderful color. Thanks for sharing.

    March 29, 2009 | 2:01 pm

    ITs good to see these again! I remember seeing them on the wall at Bluesky!
    Thanks for sharing. Hope all is well with you.

    March 29, 2009 | 4:09 pm

    Man, your concept artworks are just amazing! Very inspiring work! Can’t wait to see more of it! Cheers!

    March 29, 2009 | 10:23 pm

    Muchas Gracias. Rare visitors area always welcome! Thanks again for commenting!

    Thanks man. I’ve been keeping my eye closely on your sketch blog. keep it up!

    merci!! Always appreciate your faithful support!

    Thanks so much Mattias! Your word is very encouraging.
    I really hope Fox gets their act together. ๐Ÿ™‚
    And I hope to do another OOP but unfortunately, OOP 2 has not been selling so well and we most likely won’t get another gig like that. but don’t worry! We have a new plan from the same label coming next year!

    Thank you Nathalia!

    Thanks for your generous words on Horton. I enjoy your articles on your blog. you got some cool stuff.

    Thanks man. And congrats on your Spectrum page! Is that a Totoro piece?

    Thanks Ian. It was great seeing you back in Jan. Hope you come visit us in SF soon.

    Thanks Charles.
    While I am grateful for your encouraging words on Horton, I really don’t think it deserved to be nominated for Annie or Oscar. I don’t mean to denounce the movie at all. It is a fun movie and I”m proud of being a part of it. It’s just that not next to films like Wall E or Kung Fu Panda. It certainly looked beautiful which is never a problem coming from Blue Sky.

    Hi Irene,
    How have you been? Hope you are doing well!
    Just like I said above, I think everyone at blue sky felt those nominated films deserves to be so.

    Thanks RIcard. A praise from my fellow SVA graduates! Thank you! Your sketches are really cool too!


    Thanks a lot!

    Hey man! Thanks a lot. I can’t wait to see where you end up after you graduate! Hopefully you are back in Emeryville!

    You did indeed encourage me with your comments. I’ll try my best!

    I will in the next few posts. It is a sort of important to explain especially for students. Terms are a bit ambiguous or vague even at Pixar. It is really confusing.

    Thanks man. keep up your life studies too. Really nice costume studies.

    Holy Cow, your fat cat is soooo appealing!! Great sense of character!

    Thank you so much! Are you really in Casablanca? Really nice to hear from someone from Casablanca! Yay!

    Coming from you means more than anything in the world Bill! I study your work almost everyday!

    Thanks man. Yeah, that’s right. it’s been a while, huh?
    How have you been? keep in touch, yeah?

    J’aime votre blog aussi. (surtout tout le tour des dessins de caract

    April 4, 2009 | 11:21 am

    Hello! I was just surfing art blogs and founded yours. I do a little drawing and collage and I watch every animation I can.I saw Wall e,and Panda and Horton in the same week, maybe two months ago.I know that most media did not wrote much about Horton here in Portugal too, but I think the movie is wonderfull for children.Also for adults! But,I mean, so many times we see movies that are not aimed for children, they seem to be made by adults that are in love with animation and want to please them first.Horton is very well done and I loved the story and the colours and everything else.I saw it with my nephew who is 6 years old and probably I will see it again.But I am the one who also prefered Panda to Wall e…so…I do not know if you will take me serioulsly.You do amazing work.:)

    April 4, 2009 | 11:24 am

    Ah,if you can find a minute to visit me and my little paper cut characters…I would be thrilled!!!

    April 30, 2009 | 12:10 am

    Horton was an amazingly beautiful movie. Maybe the fact that it wasn’t a fresh idea to film was part of the dismissal? Who knows. As a big fan of Panda and the first half of Wall-E, I commend all the artist on Horton for translating that world and those characters so well to film. A major fete! Congrats.

    August 3, 2010 | 7:44 pm

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