I recently came across one of my favorite childhood shows again, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Interested in the show’s character-driven plots and colorful animation, I wanted to look more into how the show’s creator developed the characters and decided on the art style to use.
Upon researching character designs, I was very surprised by many of the show’s initial character designs. Most notably, I was surprised by the design of Coco, an imaginary friend that is part bird, airplane, and palmtree. Initial sketches showed her to be more of a dinosaur-like character rather than the friendly, spacey character she is. The sketches also demonstrate how the show could’ve looked if they decided on a different artstyle. Looking at Coco’s hair, we see very raw-looking, organic green brushstrokes compared to filled-in shapes in previous renderings.
For Frankie’s character design, we see many of the previous drawings depicting her with a constantly angry teenager. The former designs do not depict the motherly disposition she possessed in the show. In the show, she materialized as a more two-dimensional character not defined by a single characteristic, but more so depicted as how as typical care-taker (with a short-temper) might react. I love seeing character designs of some of my favorite shows, because they make me think how great the show is and how that might have completely changed with a different artstyle.