Fantastic Beasts: Art Department
Warner Bros. Pictures
Collaborating with renowned production designer, Stuart Craig, Framestore's Art Department began a journey which spanned beyond a year on J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Led by head of the department, Martin Macrae, the team worked on a range of designs across the eclectic mix of creatures featured in JK.Rowling's original book, working in close collaboration with director David Yates to bring Rowling's vision to life.
The Art of the Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harper Collins) is out now and features a huge selection of Framestore's concept artwork. See a selection below:
'The Niffler is a British beast. Fluffy, black and long-snouted, this burrowing creature has a predilection for anything glittery. Nifflers are often kept by goblins to burrow deep into the earth for treasure. Though the Niffler is gentle and even affectionate, it can be destructive to belongings and should never be kept in a house.'
A look at the Niffler stashing gold in his pouch was an exploration in his coat, trying out downy hair in comparison to a feathered look.Adam Baines - Concept Artist
'The Demiguise is found in the Far East, though only with great difficulty, for this beast is able to make itself invisible when threatened and can be seen only by wizards skilled in its capture. The Demiguise is a peaceful herbivorous beast, something like a graceful ape in appearance, with large, black, doleful eyes more often than not hidden by its hair. The whole body is covered with long, fine, silky, silvery hair. Demiguise pelts are highly valued as the hair may be spun into Invisibility Cloaks.'
It was a tricky character to get right, with its long grey hair and wrinkly skin.The Demiguise could come across frail but it is more like a lemur, strong and dexterous when it needs to be.Sam Rowan - Concept Artist
'The thunderbird is a large, avian creature native to the arid Arizona climate in the United States. It is closely related to the phoenix. An Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry house was named after this creature. It can create storms as it flies, and can sense danger.'
The idea was in the name of the creature. This image depicts its thunderous state, reflecting stormy clouds, darkening the feathers as it releases its energy.Martin Macrae - Head of Art Department, Framestore
This concept was created to show the full effect of the Thunderbird in flight, as it flies through the sky, it generates a ferocious thunderstorm from its large wings.Dan Baker - Concept Artist
'The Nundu is a giant mammal similar to a leopard that is native to East Africa. It moves silently, despite its "gigantic" size, and is considered by some to be the most dangerous creature alive. The breath of the Nundu is toxic and filled with disease. This alone can wipe out entire villages of people. The Nundu is extremely hard to subdue, and has never been defeated by less than around one hundred wizards working together.'
The inflated image of the Nundu was inspired by the puffer fish.Sam Rowan - Concept Artist
'A Bowtruckle is a tree dwelling creature found in western England, southern Germany, and Scandinavian forests. They appear to be made of bark and twigs with two brown eyes which makes them hard to distinguish from the trees they inhabit.'
'A large, butterfly-like creature that emerges from a small object, possibly a cocoon.'
Working on Swooping Evil was a real joy. I was looking at various different butterfly species as I liked the idea of this juxtaposing with that terrifying animal-like skull!Dan Baker - Concept Artist
This was a really quick study that I did to get a feeling of how the Swooping Evil might open up after it is thrown into the air.Dan Baker - Concept Artist
'The Doxy, sometimes referred to as the Biting Fairy, is a small Fairy-like creature, sometimes mistaken for a Fairy. The Doxy is covered in coarse black hair, and has an additional set of arms and legs. Doxies have shiny beetle-like wings, and a double row of sharp venomous teeth.'
Here is a design where I tried to blend some characteristics of a tree frog with a moth. I loved the idea of the Doxy using its ears as wings; it added a nice bit of humour to the creature.Sam Rowan - Concept Artist
'The Occamy, a plumed, two-legged winged creature with a serpentine body, is aggressive to all who approach it, particularly in defence of its eggs, whose shells are made of the purest, softest silver.'
This was a hard creature to get right. She had to look elegant and mysterious, but also needed to show a strong maternal side when threatened.Martin Macrae - Head of Art Department (Framestore)
'The Erumpent is a huge African magical beast resembling a rhinoceros. It is a powerful creature, with a thick hide capable of repelling most curses and charms, a single long horn, and a thick tail. They are treated with great caution and respect by African wizards and witches.'
These were great fun, just trying to get a sense of how the Erumpent might move or interact with the film's characters.Dan Baker - Concept Artist
The Erumpent with its horn filled with explosive glowing liquid.Sam Rowan - Concept Artist
The art department were tasked with creating a look for the creeping menace of the Obscurus; something barely tangible, visible, yet oozing power and malevolence.
Here is an early character study showing the creeping menace of the Obscurus edging towards Credence, moments before it takes him over.Dan Baker - Concept Artists