EXCLUSIVE: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Concept Art By Stéphane Levallois
Stéphane Levallois has been working as a concept artist at the London-based MPC (Moving Picture Company) for the past two and a half years. He has worked on over 26 blockbusters and for the creation studio then run by visual effects art director, Virginie Bourdin. Specifically, he designed concept art for: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & Part 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Man of Steel, Edge of Tomorrow, Prometheus and Guardians of the Galaxy.
We have exclusive X-Men: Days of Future Past concept art and an interview with conceptual illustrator, Stéphane Levallois ("Guardians of the Galaxy"). Check it out!
CBM: What was it like working on X-Men: Days of Future Past?
Stéphane Levallois: This was exciting and challenging work to do. I'm also a director of commercials and short films so I came forward with ideas to storyboard scenes - combat scenes most of the time.
CBM: What was most challenging?
Stéphane Levallois: The most challenging work I did was to having to come up with some innovative designs for the Sentinels.
CBM: What did you enjoy the most about the project?
Stéphane Levallois: The formidable energy Virginie Bourdin put into the film greatly stimulated my creativity. She would push me into new and unexpected directions and spur me to draw more dynamic images. For example: rotors had to be placed back into the Sentinels of the future to link them with those of the past. I then suggested that small metal shell rotors be placed on the sides and the backs of the Sentinels.
It is very important to bear in mind that working for studios means working as a team. You need to come up with a good idea to help get things going further. I express myself through traditional drawing and it always is a great satisfaction to see sketches I make turned into 3D images. Then I used Photoshop to touch up the proportions of the 3D-modeling work that had been done based on my drawings.
In order to work for the studios on all these great movies, you need to be creative, fast, respondent and humble. I have been designing video games and directing commercials for over ten years now and I guess this has taught me a lot
CBM: Could you tell us about that storyboard involving Wolverine and the Sentinel?
Stéphane Levallois: I first developed the idea that sentinels can regenerate thanks to moving scales. I had not read the script and, just to give it a try, I storyboarded the scene in which Wolverine tears up a sentinel that would form itself back together again at once.
I grew up with X-Men. I remember that as a small kid I used to ‘look’, I could not read yet, the STRANGE comics that had just been released in France. I had a lot of fun drawing Wolverine. He is one of my favorite superheroes, along with Diablo. I actually sketched him on one of the first drawings I did - I couldn't help it.
CBM: What source material did you use for the Sentinel designs?
Stéphane Levallois: I did not use much source material actually. I immersed myself in the early comic designs. I found a beautiful cover by Travis Charest, but it mostly came down to using my imagination. Sentinels were supposed to be very powerful and far bigger than regular human beings. They needed to have the ability to drill through very thick ice walls with arms with the ability to drill. They were also regenerative and have to have an military look.
Designing artwork is a slow and demanding process. Great care was given to it at every stage in the development of X-Men: Days of Future Past. I think that's what makes the designs so original and powerful.
CBM: Anything you'd like to add?
Stéphane Levallois: I would like to pay tribute to Virginie Bourdin. She has such a keen eye for image composition. I'd also like to thank Ravi Bansal for his support, and Richard Stammers who runs the special effects department at MPC to the highest level of excellence.
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past will be directed by Bryan Singer ("Usual Suspects"). The cast includes: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Daniel Cudmore, Booboo Stewart, Omar Sy, Fan Bingbing, Evan Jonigkeit, Adan Canto and Josh Helman. X-Men: Days Of Future Past is now playing at your local theater.
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