Art & Design
4:46 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Pixar Artist Picks Up His 'Heroic' New Year's Resolution

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to a heroic kind of New Year's resolution.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EVERETT DOWNING: My goal was to create 365, draw a super every day.

CORNISH: That's Everett Downing, a story artist at Pixar Animation Studios. He's worked on some of their best-known films, including "Wall-E," "Up," and "Toy Story 3." Three years ago, as a side project, Downing challenged himself to draw a superhero of his own making for every day of the year.

DOWNING: And I figured, eh, it'd be easy to belt out 365 supers, I think I have that many in my brain.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Well, like many New Year's resolutions, the effort started out well enough...

DOWNING: And then it was really, really hard.

(LAUGHTER)

SIEGEL: Downing stopped that first super-resolution around his 210th superhero. That's not bad. But as we recently read on the website of Wired, this year he's made a vow to finish what he started. Among Downing's creations so far...

CORNISH: Silent Knight. That's Knight with a K.

SIEGEL: Cable Guy.

CORNISH: X-O Skeleton.

SIEGEL: Shoulder Blades.

DOWNING: Death Ray, Cataclysm, Whipper Snapper - that's a duo, by the way - Fancy Pants, Super Freak, the Silencer, Kung Fu Hustler. You've got Quick Show Gun, Ball and Chain - that's another duo.

SIEGEL: A married duo: Ball is a cannonball who propels himself at his enemies. His wife, Chain, frequently lashes out against her foes with mystical chains.

CORNISH: There's also Emoticon.

DOWNING: I think I wrote that he's, like, a disgruntled public worker.

CORNISH: A man more villain than superhero who leaves a trail of destruction and a winking smiley face.

SIEGEL: And another team of two: Dober-Man and the Pincer.

DOWNING: So the idea behind this guy is that he's actually, like, this exotic veterinarian who got bitten by a genetically altered Doberman, so he has Doberman-like powers. So he can run about as fast as a Doberman pincher and...

(LAUGHTER)

DOWNING: He can bite really hard.

SIEGEL: We presume the dog, on the other hand, inherited a mild disposition and lots of student loans.

CORNISH: As for the origin story behind Downing's love of superheroes...

DOWNING: You know, whenever we're faced with something that's kind of overwhelming, all of us wishes that we could have something that could make us larger than life that could make a lot of the problems go away.

CORNISH: Even after three years and hundreds of sketches, for artist Everett Downing superheroes will always have a special kind of draw. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.