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All artwork and text is copyrighted by Frederick Gardner, unless otherwise attributed to the respective copyright owner, it is illegal to publish or print any such artwork or text without written permission by the artist or copyright owners.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot - Production Design

After my work on "The Iron Giant", I was hired to work on a new show at Sony Television, "Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot" (1999). To this day, it remains the most challenging and painstaking production I have worked on.

The show was based on the comic, "Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot" by Geoff Darrow. My job was to design the animated series to directly reflect the look and style of Geoff Darrow's incredible drawings from the comic series. I had been a fan of Darrows for years and was excited at the prospect of bringing this great comic to tv... WITHOUT watering it down!

As you can see from some of my designs, I was also heavily influenced by "Hard Boiled". I used elements of both in the show and lots of 1940s and 50s car parts. Each background designer on the show had to design and rough out his own background. After it was approved by me and the director, the designs were inked! This is a departure from Geoff Darrow's comics which are finished in a very soft pencil. Inking the designs allowed us to maintain a continuity in the overall look.

Sadly, the show was canceled before all 24 episodes were aired due to the extreme violence portrayed. Go figure?


  1. holy cow. look at all that detail and linework. Looks tedious.

  2. I hadn't seen any of these episodes so I went and watched a few on Youtube. Great production quality! I'm impressed at how faithful the designs (especially the environments) are to Darrow's work.

  3. Hi Fred, name's Danny Popovici. You came and did a little presentation at the art institute of Portland at Chris Sasaki's design class. I loved the work you brought in and shared with the students. You are an amazing talent that combines rich animation style and solid drawing skills.

  4. Stunning work, very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks Danny, you guys were great! I'm sorry I am not in Portland anymore, I was looking forward to doing more lectures with your class.

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