PixarShorts

Designing The Characters In Pixar’s ‘Lou’

Lou is the 14th Pixar film to receive an Academy Award nomination in the animated short category.

Dave Mullins.
Dave Mullins.

Directed by animator Dave Mullins, a Pixar veteran whose studio credits date back to 2001’s Monsters, Inc., Lou tells the story of a toy-stealing bully who learns a lesson from Lou, the anthropomorphic contents of the recess playground’s lost-and-found box.

Pixar hasn’t released much behind-the-scenes artwork from the short, which debuted in front of Cars 3, but the film’s director has been sharing bits and pieces from the film’s development process on his Instagram and Twitter.

We’ve collected the artwork below, along with comments by Mullins on how the film’s two main characters – Lou and the schoolyard bully, J.J. – were designed.

Lou development
Early Lou drawing by Dave Mullins for a development pitch.
Early Lou drawing by Dave Mullins for a development pitch.
Early photo-collage design of Lou by Dave Mullins. In the short's initial concept, Mullins says, a kid existed underneath the toys. This design reflects that original conception of the story.
Early photo-collage design of Lou by Dave Mullins. In the short’s initial concept, Mullins says, a kid existed underneath the toys. This design reflects that original conception of the story.
Lou maquette built by Lisa Mullins, the wife of the director. Says Dave Mullins, "This was a big step in the development of Lou!"
Lou maquette built by Lisa Mullins, the wife of the director. Says Dave Mullins, “This was a big step in the development of Lou!”
Early Lou exploration by Dave Mullins. Says Mullins, "I made the rule that as long as you see his eyes and mouth (baseball and hoodie) everything else can change but it will still look like Lou."
Early Lou exploration by Dave Mullins. Says Mullins, “I made the rule that as long as you see his eyes and mouth (baseball and hoodie) everything else can change but it will still look like Lou.”
Lou designs by Albert Lozano.
Lou designs by Albert Lozano.
J.J. development
Early design of J.J. by Dave Mullins. Says Mullins: " I drew him as a cross between Scut Farkus from 'A Christmas Story' and John Connor's buddy from 'Terminator 2.' He looked too tough though and didn't support the story."
Early design of J.J. by Dave Mullins. Says Mullins: ” I drew him as a cross between Scut Farkus from ‘A Christmas Story’ and John Connor’s buddy from ‘Terminator 2.’ He looked too tough though and didn’t support the story.”
Early design of J.J. by Dave Mullins.
Early design of J.J. by Dave Mullins.
Early design of J.J. by Dave Mullins.
Early design of J.J. by Dave Mullins.
Early concepts of J.J. by Tony Fucile.
Early concepts of J.J. by Tony Fucile.
Early concepts of J.J. by Tony Fucile. Color by Dave Mullins. Says Mullins, "I used this sketch to try different color variations under the bleachers. (JJ used to hang out under there)."
Early concepts of J.J. by Tony Fucile. Color by Dave Mullins. Says Mullins, “I used this sketch to try different color variations under the bleachers. (JJ used to hang out under there).”
"Lou" crew poster by Albert Lozano.
“Lou” crew poster by Albert Lozano.