EXCLUSIVE: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Concept Art By Kelton Cram

Conceptual illustrator, Kelton Cram ("Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"), has provided us with an exclusive interview and concept art regarding Jonathan Liebesman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Hit the jump to check it out.

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By nailbiter111 - 8/11/2014
Update: The concept art was removed per request of the studio.

CBM: Each Turtle has their own accessories to differentiate themselves. Could you walk us through that design process?

Kelton Cram: Jonathan Liebesman had a lot of the ideas in his head about the different personalities of each Turtle, and how that would determine the size, costume, and accessories. It was all based on the original TMNT, but with a more cinematic approach. Donnie, the brain with the gadgets, Mikey the surfer, Leo the traditional one, and of course Raph the rebel.

The process was very thought out and took about 6 months. I was fortunate enough to work with Liebesman very early on and help design the Turtles in 2D. once the basic silouettes and ideas were approved, we quickly moved into 3D, where we sculpted and resculpted the different Turtles multiple times. Liebesman loved being able to go into Zbrush with the artists and push and pull the anatomy. Ultimately he was able to achieve exactly what he wanted through this process.
 

CBM: Was the size of the Turtles something that was decided early?

Kelton Cram: They wanted all the Turtles to be unique in shape and size. Tall and skinny to short and stalky to even more brutish.

 

CBM: How did you approach Shredder?

Kelton Cram: Shredder had a lot of changes throughout the process. The script would have big rewrites, and we completely revisited Shredders look and function. I got to spend a lot of time making numerous versions for Shredder.

 

CBM: When you were asked to design the Turtles did they already have a certain look in mind?

Kelton Cram: I think the director had a vision that we were able to achieve over a 6 month period. They definitely wanted it to feel gritty and real world.

 

CBM: Did you look at any of the previous source material for inspiration?

Kelton Cram: Oh yes, tons. Probably every TMNT image on the net was at some point viewed, or mentioned hehe. Originally we worked with concept designer Jerad Marantz. His work was very inspiring and helped influence the overall feel of the characters.

 

CBM: What was the biggest challenge you faced on this project?

Kelton Cram: Because everything was tackled very early on in 3D, there was a lot of work for each change being made that would have to effect all the models and illustrations. Also,: the attachment of the shell, and trying to keep the turtles looking strong but able to move and fight at the same time was a bit tricky

 

CBM: Knowing that the Turtles would be motion-capture instead of a man-in-a-suit, must've given you more freedom, right?

Kelton Cram: Yes. I think it gives you a break at times knowing the animators and VFX artists would have to resolve things that were out of our control.

 

CBM: How difficult is it to balance the cartoon-look of the Turtles with some of their realistic elements?

Kelton Cram: It was also a bit of a challenge. as you know die-hard fans don't like it when you re-design their childhood heroes. so we did try to stick to the spirit of the cartoons as much as possible. 
 

CBM: Any final thoughts?

Kelton Cram: Myself and a crew of two other artists, Jerad Kerchevsky and Cameron Ward, were lucky enough to get to tackle the four Turtles and most the side characters. It was a dream job to say the least. Mostly because we all grew up in the 80's, and knew the TMNT franchise to the last detail. Which was very helpful to the director.

 
You Can View More of Kelton Cram's Artwork at ArtStation & Facebook
The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES directed by Jonathan Liebesman ("Wrath of the Titans"), and produced by Michael Bay ("The Rock"). The script was written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec, based on characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The cast includes: Megan Fox as April O'Neil, Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo, Danny Woodburn as Splinter, Jeremy Howard as Donatello, Pete Ploszek as Leonardo, Will Arnett as Vernon and William Fichtner as Shredder. It lands in theaters August 8, 2014.
Source: Kelton Cram
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43 Comments
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Pasto - 8/11/2014, 7:44 AM
I want to know what Nail thought about the film.
CookieKid247 - 8/11/2014, 7:46 AM
Good designs. I could watch a sequel, the movie wasn't horrendous.
MrNiklander - 8/11/2014, 7:46 AM
Some very good looking designs damn I cant believe I have to wait a month to see this movie
ComicsBornAndBred - 8/11/2014, 7:51 AM
Great designs. Should used these for the film instead of making the turtles look massive and like body builders.
xStarLordx - 8/11/2014, 7:53 AM
The movie was not good. But it wasnt as bad as everyone said because it had its noments.
SuperCat - 8/11/2014, 7:54 AM
Nice!

JackRyan9859 - 8/11/2014, 7:55 AM
Those look great...whatever that thing that is supposed to be Shredder looks stupid
0megaDaGod - 8/11/2014, 7:56 AM
Damn, those look great

So who was responsible for giving them steroids?
ibravosp5 - 8/11/2014, 7:56 AM
Oh crap I'm kinda glad they didn't go with that first design
CPBuff22 - 8/11/2014, 7:58 AM
You know those times where you're like, "MAN, that movie really sucked! The concept art is sooooo much better!"? This isn't one of those times...

But this movie still sucked.

FRICK YOU MICHAEL BAY!
Nick56 - 8/11/2014, 8:03 AM
As a ninja turtles fan I loved the movie.
GL - 8/11/2014, 8:11 AM
I wish they would have had less stuff all over their bodies, but I like the new designs. The movie was pretty good for a TMNT movie although it had some plot holes.
GL - 8/11/2014, 8:13 AM
Does anyone remember the song Mikey was singing to April right at the very end of the movie?
ManofSteel23 - 8/11/2014, 8:13 AM
didnt like this film, dont get me wrong, it was a good turtles film for a first film but as a film as a whole it was pretty terrible, crap plot, rushed characters, I watched it online and it was only on an hour and a half, disney films for kids are that long
GirlRage - 8/11/2014, 8:18 AM
These art pieces have the Turtles a lot less bulked out in muscle mass. I wonder why they went bigger? Maybe the smaller ones looked too 'alien' on screen or something.
rabid - 8/11/2014, 8:21 AM
@GL
So Happy Together by the Turtles
GirlRage - 8/11/2014, 8:24 AM
Raph got his head wrap design from this show I guess.


I liked this show though!
kalelhawj - 8/11/2014, 8:25 AM
Amazing concept to a good movie... Cannot wait for the sequel...
GL - 8/11/2014, 8:26 AM
@rabid, thank you so much!!
grif - 8/11/2014, 8:26 AM
mikey has a gut and shredder looks like a deep sea diver. kill me
GL - 8/11/2014, 8:29 AM
Anyone else bummed our there was no mention of Hamato Yoshi?
BlackWarrior - 8/11/2014, 8:34 AM
Yeah, the should of went to the smaller ones. Glad we didn't get couch potato mikey...
omnipotent18 - 8/11/2014, 8:35 AM
Pretty cool
Superior - 8/11/2014, 8:36 AM
Great artist.
Superior - 8/11/2014, 8:37 AM
I saw the movie, it wasn't as bad as people hype it up to be, but it was not good either. I agree with efcamachopmp's review.
Klone - 8/11/2014, 8:55 AM
Significantly less horrifying than what they looked like in the trailers.
Klone - 8/11/2014, 8:56 AM
Although it is a pretty lame stereotype that the stupidest and joker one has to be short and fat and the aggressive one has to be the big and muscular one.
Snotzo - 8/11/2014, 9:02 AM
This movie could have been so much worse, and that's sad and frightening.
WruceBayne - 8/11/2014, 9:15 AM
Since this wasn't a marvel movie everybody is going to say it sucked. HA!
I watched it and I liked it.
comics4life - 8/11/2014, 9:30 AM
Willing to bet money..everyone who disliked...this..good movie..I feel it was anyway...liked that god awful dance movie gotg...lol.....I guarantee...it...smh...including everyone on this thread..who says it was bad..but looked over the silly plot...and cheesy..jokes..o and the pathetic dance scenes...in gotg...smh
campblood - 8/11/2014, 9:33 AM
could have been better but also could have been A LOT worse, a solid 6.5 - 7 out of 10 film
campblood - 8/11/2014, 9:35 AM
also i liked GOTG cant people like both that and tmnt why does it have to be one or the other
rsavaiano - 8/11/2014, 9:44 AM
These concepts look 1000% better than what we actually got. They look more like teenagers and don't look like they weigh 500 lbs each. Don't know how they can be super stealthy when they are the size of the Hulk.
NeoBaggins - 8/11/2014, 9:52 AM
They look like Zombies.
Pasto - 8/11/2014, 10:12 AM
@6bal
Dude....not cool.
comics4life - 8/11/2014, 10:27 AM
@tankd.....nah just know...that ur one of the ones who just sucks up to marvel...and all other comic films..are no good...gotg...was too far off...hell I didn't even mention..the fact that they left out starlords origin...smh...wut I'm saying is if tmnt sucked...gotg...mos def..did
silverhawk - 8/11/2014, 10:29 AM
@6ball Hey prick...

gtfo animated GIF
comics4life - 8/11/2014, 10:29 AM
@tankd....did u also c the..new step up movie?...lol
MrFrostxxx - 8/11/2014, 12:08 PM
nice
thewolfx - 8/11/2014, 1:04 PM
So it was a long hard 6 month process to make the turles look like giant mini hulk homeless guys






...nice. -_-
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