Personally, I had no problem with the design of the Turtles in Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I enjoyed the detail and think the darker, more realistic look is what helped make them feel natural (or at least as natural as possible) in the New York City environment. The preliminary Turtle design that just surfaced, however? Now that’s the source of nightmares.
Conceptual illustrator Kelton Cram just revealed some of his early work for the film and it’s far grittier than what we got in the final cut. Hit the jump to check out that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles concept art as well as some early designs for Shredder as well.
“The process was very thought out and took about 6 months. I was fortunate enough to work with Liebesman very early on and help design the Turtles in 2D. Once the basic silhouettes and ideas were approved, we quickly moved into 3D, where we sculpted and re-sculpted the different Turtles multiple times. Liebesman loved being able to go into ZBrush with the artists and push and pull the anatomy. Ultimately he was able to achieve exactly what he wanted through this process.”
However, before nailing the look, this is what they had:
Perhaps it’s the color palette in this image more than anything, but this looks like it came straight out of a horror movie. Just look at that creepy grin on Michelangelo’s face!
The earlier Shredder designs, however, actually aren’t that bad. In fact, I might have been willing to swap the more iconic elements of the costume in exchange for one that would have allowed the character to be more mobile and feel like an actual person rather than something more akin to a Transformer.
Here’s what Cram had to say about coming up with Shredder’s look:
“Shredder had a lot of changes throughout the process. The script would have big rewrites, and we completely revisited Shredders look and function. I got to spend a lot of time making numerous versions for Shredder.”