As I’ve been planning and working on Watusi’s adventure in Oz, I wanted to not only include some of Baum’s characters, but have my original characters look like they belong in that world, too. Fortunately, original Oz illustrator W.W. Denslow had a lovely cartooniness to his illustrations that are easy for me to translate into my style. John R. Neill‘s designs from later books are a little more more lavish, but I can still simplify those characters to fit the needs of cartoon storytelling (versus storybook illustrations).
I plan for the Tin Woodman & Scarecrow to look pretty much like they originally appeared, but I think I’ll play with Jack a little more: not only will his intelligence be determined by the particular pumpkin atop his shoulders, but his personality, too. The head in this sketch is a hipster head, but he may have another one if the story dictates it by the time he appears…
I also wanted to update the look of the Munchkins, Hammerheads, and Winkies for a story set 100 years after Baum (although a more traditional Munchkin garb will appear, too). The bottom row are my main original characters for this story; not sure about the title for the “Governor” yet or the rhyming name of Itsch’s brother (Kitsch or Etsch). Any thoughts on which is the most appealing?
Look for the first of these characters in today’s Watusi the Talking Dog episode!
[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]