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Wizard of Oz - Wizard Head
I'm designing a Wizard of Oz head. Here's the first four initial concepts:
The first is based off a sketch I drew. The wizard head always reminded me of the magic mirror from Disney's Snow White, and since Oz is the all-powerful emperor, I thought of a Mandarin from Imperial China. I had to include your classic bulbous-headed 1939 Wizard, of course; next, what gallery of terrifying inscrutible faces would be complete without an Easter Island Maoi statue? The last one intrigued me most of all: the Wizard puppet from the musical, Wicked. It was originally designed as a cross between Frank L. Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz book illustration of the head and the 1939 Tin Man. While the production head itself is a fairly complex bit of engineering, I've seen clips of amateur productions that feature a blacksuited cast member and a giant cardboard mask with movable lower jaw - simple, yet very effective (especially with red LED eyes). I'll keep you posted on further developments.
So as you may know, I am partly obsessed with dinosaurs. Scratch that - there's a small lobe of my brain devoted to dinosaurs. I love em, God help me. I even have a super-double-plus-top-secret dinosaur comic maybe in the works...but you didn't hear it from me.
Part of my problem is in the reconstruction of said prehistoric beasties, namely those icons of American dino-obsession, Deinonychus (Velociraptor to you Jurassic Park aficionados...it's not just a Hollywood bastardization, there's a complicated story behind it which I covered in this old post). Now, we all know what Deinonychus looked like: wolf-size, sleek, toothsome head balanced by a long tail, grasping front claws and of course the eponymous "terrible claw" on its hind foot. The shape is burned into our collective unconscious; you could construct the most fantastic amalgam of different bits and pieces, but as long as you include the sickle-claw, you're golden.
I wanted to do a quick artist spotlight on Tom Eaton, best known for his work in Boy's Life Magazine.
I used to have a subscription to Boy's Life when I was a kid; unfortunately I didn't keep any of them, as they just weren't...I don't know, not really worth keeping. I just remember it as being 90% toy advertisements, some "how to get along with others" advice, the same camping article reprinted 20 million times, and some half-funny comics. As the years went on, the advertisements got bigger and louder, the articles became less interesting, and the comics section got shorter and shorter.
But there was one gem hidden in the midst of the mediocrity: artist Tom Eaton. He wrote and illustrated "The Wacky Adventures of Pedro" (BL's burro mascot), "Dink & Duff", and myriad other comics, crossword puzzles, games, and short pieces. He was the magazine's resident cartoonist, and about the only reason I actually read the magazine.