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August 11, 2007

Evolution of a Goblin

"Goblins are nasty, grotesque creatures which resemble lage toads. In place of teeth, they must use pieces of shattered glass or small, jagged rocks. They are fond of eating house pets."

This from co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Tony DiTerlizzi's Imaginoplis Blog

It was the first image completed (and is one of the designs I am most proud of) in Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide - and it was brought to life by the magic team of movie FX wizards at Phil Tippett's studio - the Spiderwick goblins. Or Diabolus vulgaris from the family Adentidae, as Arthur identified them in his Guide to the fantastical world.

But how did I arrive at a new design for a creature that has been rendered countless times in books, movies, games and toys?

I'd like to share some of the thinking that went into it as it exemplifies the philosophy I used when designing many of the creatures in the world of The Spiderwick Chronicles. My hope is only to inspire others to think out-of-the-box in keeping fantasy alive, fresh, and evolving through exciting design.

Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 1)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 2)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 3)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (conclusion)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (epilogue)

TONY D's Bio Acclaimed children’s book creator, Tony DiTerlizzi was born into an artistic household on September 6, 1969. Being the first of three visually adept children, it didn’t take long for his family and friends to realize that he was one talented kid. At an early age Tony began embracing the whimsical, the wondrous, and the fantastic, all of which sparked his wild imagination.

Young Tony grew up in South Florida amid palm trees and year-round sunshine. While he enjoyed being outdoors and nature, he also loved to draw, write, and create his own little books. During his childhood he was introduced to the work of Norman Rockwell, Arthur Rackham, Dr. Suess, Roald Dahl, and Jim Henson, all of whom inspired him and became major creative influences. With the support of family and teachers, Tony was able to cultivate his natural artistic talents. In college, he honed these talents at the Florida School of the Arts and later, at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he earned a degree in Graphic Design in 1992.

After art school, the young artist began a freelance illustration career, working for TSR's Dungeons & Dragons role–playing game. He continued to illustrate in the gaming field for most of the 1990s, working on games such as Planescape, Changeling, and the trading card phenomenon, Magic the Gathering, thus forging a place for himself in the field of fantasy art.

After seven years of successful work as a gaming and fantasy artist, Tony delved into the field of creating children’s picture books. With the publication in 2000 of Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), he fulfilled a childhood dream of writing and illustrating his own book. Jimmy Zangwow, which was lauded by critics, was followed the next year by Ted (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), which also received high praise, including the 2002 Zena Sutherland Award. It was followed with his spooky picture book of Mary Howitt’s classic poem The Spider and the Fly (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002) garnering him the 2003 Caldecott Honor and the moniker of New York Times best-seller.

In an effort to bring fantasy to younger readers, Tony created the The Spiderwick Chronicles with friend and author, Holly Black. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing launched the series in 2003 where it was met with immediate success. Children and adults alike loved the adventures of Simon, Jared, and Mallory Grace in a world of faeries, trolls and goblins. Since then, Spiderwick has been published all over the world and translated in over 30 languages.

2005 saw the publication of Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You – a project Tony had been working on for years in an effort to bring highly detailed, naturalistic fantasy to children’s publishing. In 2008, Paramount Pictures will release a live-action movie adaptation of the series starring Freddie Highmore, Mary Louise-Parker, Nick Nolte and David Strathairn. And the Spiderwick Chronicles adventures will continue in the fall of 2007 with a sequel series, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, set to take place in Tony’s home state of Florida.

Tony lives and works in western Massachusetts with his wife (and manager) Angela, and their daughter. His latest picture book, G is for One Gzonk! (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006), is not only a nonsense alphabet book, but an homage to the late Dr. Seuss–who inspired a young boy from Florida with dreams of one day becoming a children’s book creator.


Posted by dschnee at August 11, 2007 11:04 AM