Monday, December 31, 2012


 I had the privilege of working on ParaNorman
with all the amazing and talented people at Laika!
I was the character designer for the film and I also did 
conceptual design as well.   In 2013 I won an Annie award for my
ParaNorman character designs.

Here is some of the work I did.

Norman Babcock

This is one of the first sketches I did
for Norman's character.  His
design was inspired by my former CalArts
instructor Norman Klein.

Norman in the woods.
(I did this one for fun.)
I did this drawing with charcoal and pastel.
It's supposed to be a generic zombie
with a generic Norman.  
It was used for one of the posters in
The Art and Making of ParaNorman.

Christmas morning,
a young Norman
with his zombie toy.

Costume designer Deborah Cook
let me draw the conceptual sketches
for the costumes.
Norman's sweater

Some sketches for Norman's backpack

Norman's jeans

Norman's shirt
Sketches for Norman's shoes.
Barf boy shoe
The shoe we ended up going with...
NOOOO!!  Shoe.
Norman's zombie slipper

Mr. Prenderghast

My inspiration for Mr. Prenderghast's
character was Tevye from the film
Fiddler on the Roof.
Here is my initial sketch for him.
Here is a finished drawing I made for
Mr. Prenderghast.  The medium I used was
charcoal and pastel.  When I was drawing this
I imagined him at night, standing in the dark,
only the cigar illuminating his face, I wanted
him to have a ghostly essence.

This was basically the final look for Mr. Prenderghast.
The directors wanted him to look like a hobo!
Mr. Prenderghast's costume

This beaver was used as the logo for Mr. Prenderghast's hat.

Concept sketches for Mr. Prenderghast's house

Aggie Prenderghast

Here are the concept sketches I made for Aggie's 
angry spirit.  The first sketch is basically 
what the directors ended up going with. 

I thought it would be interesting if Aggie's hair could be
a weapon, the hair becomes like zombie hands coming
from the grave.

Aggie Prenderghast's tree

This is an idea I had for Aggie's tree.  I wanted
the bark to resemble zombie hands.

Aggie Prenderghast's angry storm cloud

Here are the sketches I did for the witch's curse in the sky.

ParaNorman ghosts

Here are the sketches I made for the ghosts.

The Civil War soldier

The James Dean and Humphrey Bogart inspired ghost

The Hippie

Amelia Earhart

Cement shoes

Victorian lady

The Sea Captain

Smoking ghost
I thought it would have been interesting if one of the ghosts
could have been made up entirely of smoke from a pipe.
Ghost heads in the graveyard
Scared ghosts


Here are the sketches I made for Neil's 
ghost dog Bub.

More ideas for Bub, and for dogs in the town.

The evolution of the ParaNorman Puritan Zombies

Here are some of the early concept sketches
for the look of the puritans and the zombies.

Here are the sketches that were used for the more final
look of the puritans and zombies.
Judge Hopkins

Sketch of living Judge Hopkins in a cloak.

Judge Hopkins with cloak open

Judge Hopkins head sketch

costume sketches for Judge Hopkins

Judge Hopkins vest
Cloak from the back

Judge Hopkins Zombie

sketch for the townhall

Judge Hopkins Zombie coat

Judge Hopkins Zombie shirt
Judge Hopkins Zombie pants
Judge Hopkins Zombie stockings and shoes

From Puritans to Zombie Puritans


Phillip Light said...

Looooove your character sketches Heidi! Your line work and use of shapes is so inspiring! And what a great movie!!

Laura Dubuk said...

Not just beautiful drawings, but full of character too. Haven't seen the movie but I will once I get the chance! L

Lauren "Lo" Sassen said...

Smithy these are beautiful, you did such wonderful work on the film! I'm so glad you posted these! :) I especially like the angry clouds!

jordan bellamy said...

Fantastic work Heidi , cant wait to see more of your art From ParaNorman , especially more Norman :)

Bubix ( LAURENT Bruno ) said...

I love your work, and this film is a great succes at level of charadesign , thx

SantiagoVerdugo said...

It is worth waiting to see your posts!!!. A real touch of creativity, wonderful as always.
It's amazing how you can depict the most subtles details using black and white lines.

Thanks for your comment best of the lucks!!!!

Ronan McDermott said...

Wow, Just found your blog. You have some amazing stuff.

Francesca Natale said...

beautiful work Heidi

Rebus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebus said...

Loved the film and appreciate the drawings, most of which remind me of Edward Gorey's 'Gashlycrumb Tinies'

Jackson Dryden said...

It's so good to finally see these drawings. Awesome work!!

Maria Amorós López said...

Hy, I'm Mery Lopez, and i'm from Spain, sorry for my bad inglish, well i want to be in contact with you, i now that this is dificult, but, i'm lokking for someone, that can make me a doll of me, like in norman, you now, with real hair, real clothes... Please, answer me, because, I want it with all my heart, please answer:)
Thank you!, ah! and good work with Norman.

Josh Dotson said...

Man you really know how to update!
I'm like " Scrolling..Scrolling.. Scrolling... ok still scrolling-
haha.. Nice stuff Heidi!

philip vose said...

this is great great Heidi! hope we can work together in the future, outside of this monthly painting thing we're trying to keep up with haha. why can't there be more awesome animation studios here in the bay area??

jordan bellamy said...

Congratulations on your annie award heidi for ParaNorman character designs :)

Ean said...

It's so nice to see these all together Heidi. As a body of work, they really show just how much time and effort you put into ParaNorman. I hope there's more to come. Congratulations again on your Annie Award. You're an inspiration to us all.

mariano said...

Heidy! love your art and paranorman is a beautiful movie! congratulations! new character design in a movie?

Kirsten R. Sexton said...

In my animation class the other day, my professor asked us who some of our favorite character designers were. I told her your name and she brought up your blog on the projector for the whole class to see and I just ranted and raved about your artwork. You're someone I definitely look up to and I feel that your style is one that I really connect with. I can't wait to see more from you.

marco said...

very cool... your works are amazing...