(UnHeavenly Hosts Development Journal 3)
Previously, I introduced the concept of UnHeavenly Hosts, and talked a little bit more about Monstra. This time, it’s time to talk a little (very little, really) about two members of this little crew of weirdos—Saddo the Clown and Lizarro!
About Saddo & Lizzaro
This is a little tricky. Obviously one of the reasons for doing this development journal is to get people excited for the project, whatever form it ultimately takes. So, I always have to balance giving enough info to try to express the fun of the concept without giving too much away so you can discover it with the actual story. So, this will be a little brief. Saddo is a mime clown. He’s also the host of a children’s program at a local TV station. Now, hosting anything might seem tricky when you don’t talk, but that’s why Lizarro is here! He’s the feisty puppet sidekick who does most of the talking.
Of course, in actuality, Lizarro isn’t a puppet but a castaway from another dimension where tiny lizards rule the Earth. So he’s just doing what he can in a strange world to get by. There’s even more to this twosome than meets the eye, but we’ll save that for the story. You might also be asking yourself “Hey, wait, didn’t you say all of the members were former horror TV show hosts?” and yes, I did. I lied. Well, not lied so much as tried to simplify the concept into an easily digestible form. My previous efforts to describe this project to people, in alignment with my usual desire to be as specific and clear as possible, were bungled when I said something like “they’re all horror hosts—except these two who are more children’s presenters.” Most of them are or were horror TV hosts. So eventually I decided simplicity was better.
Developing Saddo & Lizzo
These two pretty much sprang out of my head full formed onto the page. Their look and colors were pretty clear in my head to begin with. Although, I wasn’t sure what sort of lizard Lizarro should be. When I found a picture of a blue lizard with these big eyes and blue/pink coloring I knew I had a winner! The idea is that he’d wear different Hawaiian shirts in different appearances.
The first sketch had a VERY skinny Saddo. For the new illustration above I tried bulking him up a bit, just to make him a little more physically imposing. I’m not sure which I prefer, yet. Saddo and Lizarro are homages to Happy and Froggie from Happy’s Place. This was a kid’s show that aired on WFFT in Fort Wayne, Indiana and was syndicated. The show was performed live and not recorded, though a few have made it to YouTube. Froggie had a sort of mini-show of his own and presented cartoons like ThunderCats and Silverhawks. Of course, I changed it up quite a bit. For one thing, I wanted to move Saddo away from the “hobo” aesthetic for various reasons. And, as you can see from the video below, Happy was not a mime at all. In my head Lizarro does have Froggie’s rough voice. Although I imagine him being more like George Burns in speech and manner—but a little more blue collar.
The Art Process
For this particular piece, I drew Saddo & Lizzaro in my more usual “style.” This tends to have more detail, and be less stylized than the Monstra picture I posted last time. I used the same technique of laying down the tones with grays, but this time I used colorization on the grays to give them a different look. There are things I like about this approach. The colors are lighter and less heavy/saturated. They also don’t feel as muddy without the actual gray tones there. It’s all awfully bright, though, and although UnHeavenly Hosts is comedic, it’s also horror. So I’m not sure how well this would gel with the feel of the overall book. What do you think?