The Command Zone - Blingmas
The Command Zone, a podcast about all things Commander (a multiplayer Magic: The Gathering format) produced a Christmas special with three segments. I was largely responsible for the "Jimothy" segment in which one of their hosts, Jimmy Wong, is transformed into a split pin puppet and defeats the Sphynx.
Some initial concepts of what Jimothy would look like were sent on over. They sent several pieces of references as well as some head shots of Jimmy. The two keywords I had to work with were "split-pin puppet" and "Over the Garden Wall."
Once they were happy with a face, I went directly into some character emotion sheets and played around with some outfits.
Once Jimothy's design was selected, I was responsible for making Jimothy able to be animated. Each body part was on a separate layer and the pivoting point was placed on the pin. This made it easy for Jimothy to be moved in the style of a split-pin puppet.
Jimothy encounters a Sphynx among his travels which is a representation of one of the new "Bling" cards. Other than "Over the Garden Wall," there was truly no direction other than "Sphynx."
I first began with a more feminine Sphynx in the style of Cleopatra. After my first submission, they decided they wanted a more masculine Sphynx which led to the next style sheet of various Sphynx heads. Much of my references came from Samurai Jack, She-Ra, Thundercats, Adventure Time, and Steven Universe. Eventually the final design was created and layered with the ability to be animated by each designated pin.
From that point, we needed a background for the characters to interact in. We needed an extended path that could be looped for little Jimothy to travel on. This required the trees to be on various layers for a paralaxing effect.
In addition, we needed a stage platform with a simple wooden floor as well as some children captured in ice.
Here's the particular clip from the episode animated by Guarav Gilati. The full episode featured Arin Hanson from Game Grumps. It can be found here: Blingmas Battle!