"I Love Drawing This Stuff": Phil Bourassa and Critical Role Create "The Legend of Vox Machina"
Today, in the latest installment of their digital series The legend of the legend of Vox Machina, the rocking dice rollers of Critical role revealed that the upcoming Amazon Prime Video animated series The legend of Vox Machina will brought the DC animation icon Phil Bourassa (Young Justice, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League) as the main character designer. The episode also revealed a first look at the new character designs for the latest incarnations of the popular questr.
The video, which you can watch below, features Bourassa and Critical Role stars / executive producers Laura Bailey (Vex'ahlia), Taliesin Jaffe (Percival de Rolo III), Ashley Johnson (Pike Trickfoot), Liam O'Brien (Vax 'ildan), Matthew Mercer (Game Master), Marisha Ray (Keyleth), Sam Riegel (Veth Brenatto) and Travis Willingham (Grog Strongjaw) and the principal creatives of the Emmy-winning studio Titmouse, which provides the animation.
“I met Travis before I met Critical Role; he was playing one of the big boys in a Batman movie that I did character design for, ”Bourassa reveals. The two met by chance years later on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. directed at Comic Con in New York City, and Willingham introduced the artist to the new show. Bourassa was immediately hooked: "I'm just shy for 20 years doing this and I've spent the last 11 consecutive years being superheroes ... but fantasy is my first love".
The Amazon Original series The legend of Vox Machina follows a group of second-rate adventurers on a quest to save the kingdom from terrifying monsters and dark magical forces. During the first season, our characters will face undead giants, defeat a sinister necromancer, and face a powerful curse that has taken root within their own group. Through it all, they learn to function as a team and discover that they are so much more: they are a family.
The first look delves into the process of Bourassa working with the star makers of Critical Role to capture the spirit of the characters.
“There was something about the project that spoke to me on a deeper personal level that I was willing to take the risk of working with an entirely new creative team,” shares Bourassa. “Critical Role offered this opportunity to be on the ground floor of something relatively new and fresh. And even though the lore is clearly well defined and the characters were well defined, there was so much to explore visually. Normally when I create a design, it comes from the written word or a comic or even just a writer's script. These characters come from the imagination, heart and soul of the voice actors, the cast members, who are the creators and founders, right? So they were very involved! "
“His design work is immaculate, his creativity is brilliant… He came to this with a vigor and excitement that we couldn't help but be thrilled along with this,” Mercer noted, with the rest of the cast who shares his enthusiasm.
The creatives of Cincia noted that the visual goal for The legend of Vox Machine was to create an animated series for adults that looked sophisticated and unique, with an artistic attention paid to the characters and backgrounds to create a gripping fantasy world. They also pointed out that both the studio and Bourassa draw influences from Japanese anime, making this a perfect creative partnership (Bourassa can be seen drawing on a tablet in front of Principessa Mononoke poster in the video.)
Art director Arthur Lofits, whose credits include the background artist on Voltron: Legendary Defender e Mao Mao: Pure hearted heroes as well as vizdev on Netflix's upcoming comic book adaptation of Pinoy trese, notes, "Phil is pretty much a legend in the animation industry out here, and the idea that he was coming to the project with us - I don't think I believed it even at first."
The episode also featured executive producer Brandon Auman (Star Wars: Resistance) and supervising director Sung Jin Ahn (Niko and the Sword of Light). Cincia found out that Chris Prynoski is also an executive producer on the series.