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Alice's Birthday: Designs from 2004 and 2005

Alice's Birthday: Designs from 2004 and 2005

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drawing, old man
In a February 18 interview, director Sergei Seryogin said that when they were just beginning to make their feature film, they posted their art designs on an "Alice Seleznyova" fan site.

"They caused a commotion. A lot of criticism came my way. [...] This project has been open from the outset; we read and listened with interest to what people thought about it. [...] After discussions about the sketches, changes were made to the appearance of at least one of the main characters. The arguments of our opponents were so convincing that I said to our artist Sergei Gavrilov, that I had nothing to add to them - Professor Rrr can not stay the way we drew him. He agreed, and something changed thanks solely to the online audience."

Those early discussions and concept art from 5 (!) years ago can still be found online over at Mielofon.ru and the accompanying forum. The main discussion (15 pages long) is here. There are also two "announcements from the director", on June 27, 2005 and September 18, 2005.

In case the website ever goes offline, I'm reposting the images here. They're all drawn by the film's art director Sergei Gavrilov. "Alice's Birthday" is his first credit in this role.

2004 concept art:

The original idea was to make heavy use of red outlines in the film.

This is Professor Rrr looking less like a one-eyed cat and more like a cat with two eyes who keeps one of them closed.

The eyes were changed to a light colour late in production, after much of the animation was already done, on the insistence of Kir Bulychyov's daughter.

Gromozeka, looking very different.

This design looks more like the final one.

2005 concept art:

Professor Rrr design changed to have one eye instead of two, but still looking pretty different from the final one.

Gomozeka's design was heavily altered at this point. I think it really doesn't work though. The final design's not brilliant, but better than this.

I quite like some of those 2004 concept sketches, particularly the one with the cats. They do look like Soviet children's book illustrations. Here's a poster of the final film:

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