Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Rebecca Bulko Illustration

Concept Art for a Film that Does Not Exist

Character Design
Concept Art
Game design

Thoughtful, well-researched art and design is an integral part of bringing a fictional world to life. In the genres of science fiction and fantasy, concept is everything; complex ideas must be refined and built up in order to weave a believable setting, story and characters. For my senior thesis project this spring, I will be using my artistic skills to breathe life into a fictional reality.

Two years ago, Jules Starn, a Pratt film major and personal friend of mine, invited me to collaborate with him on an idea for a feature-length film; a steampunk science fiction adventure that follows a scientist, his robot and his childhood friend on a journey of discovery that completely reshapes the way they look at the world in which they live. This world, as it was described to me, has a vivid history and a unique manner of functioning on which I, through my art, will be elaborating this semester. The ideas holding this film concept together are, at present, fairly loose and unconstrained; few details about the plot and the world it takes place in have been concretely established, and much of its structure and aesthetics have yet to be refined into a workable form. By making this film’s visual development into my senior thesis project, taking on the challenge of its lore, characters, creatures and world, I will bring this pipe dream of a film a step closer to becoming a reality.

For research purposes, I will look into Victorian clothing design and machinery, as well as mining the aesthetics of biopunk and cassette futurism to create unique and defining aesthetics for the two warring civilizations that exist in this film’s universe. I’ll be working alongside Mr. Starn, the future director of this film, to develop a cohesive image of the film’s major characters, creating detailed turnarounds for each of them. Along with this, I will be creating creature studies for the mutated wildlife of the world, distorting the forms of real-world animals to invent specific forms for each one.

By the end of the semester, I hope to have compiled and finalized all major character designs, and created a detailed series of reference sheets which shed a greater light on what this concept of a film will look like as a finished product. I want to have established aesthetics for both of the civilizations featured in the film, fixed designs for its major characters, and drawn examples of the creatures and people to be rendered on screen. My ultimate goal is to bring this fictional world one step closer to existing in the hearts and minds of all who come across it.