05 Designing environments



Pasadena rocks. It’s my favorite town in LA. That’s one of the reasons I lived there for two years or so.  It’s great, and I love visiting it.  One of the things I like about Pasadena is that it has some of the prettiest places hidden away in it. When I decided to take photos to use as reference for the background of my cartoon, Pasadena was, almost, the only place on my list to go to.

So I decided to go and take photos of places I remembered, that I thought would help me flesh out my backgrounds.  The first was a place on Lake Ave. near the Borders book store.  I thought I might be able to use the architecture here as well as get an idea of what an enclosed space might look like.  At this point I was planning to make the fight happen in a place similar to this, only without the ceiling and a bit less narrow. I took a few pictures but I’m only putting up one:

Pasadena 01

On the way to the destination above, I caught a glimpse of a place I might have wanted to take a look at next on Green St. I stopped by there and took a look around.  It fit the idea I was going for a bit better even though it was still a bit too small an area.  It also had a fountain and I thought was a nice touch I might want to put in. Below is one of the many pictures I took.

Pasadena 02

As I was looking for parking to take photos of the the place above, another place caught my eye. A place I had never seen before, even though I’ve driven by it tons of times. This was also on Lake Ave. near Green St. I decided to investigate.

Low and behold, I found the place my story was going to take place in.  It was perfect. With a few modifications (like cobble stone floors and no buildings behind the main buildings) it would be exactly what I wanted.  It was a small plaza with enough space for a fight but with enough obstacles to make it entertaining and fun to destroy. I didn’t even know that place was there.

Pasadena 03

Pasadena 04

Pasadena 05

Once I had my photos, I began my sketching. This is some of what I did using the photos as reference:


One of the changes I’m making to the reference material is putting in the fountain from the other photo.  You can see it in the floor plan view above.

After doing those sketches, I decided to continue making up some thumbnail roughs for a more finished picture. Ironically the placement of the figures are such that you don’t even see the background all that much. Still, it makes me feel more comfortable knowing there is a rough design of the background.


I’m still not sure if I’m going to use any of these shots.  I kinda want some full figures as well as some background showing. Now that I have a better idea of what everyone and everything roughly looks like, I really need to finalize the look of the cartoon.

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