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Creating Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon 2 with Production Designer Pierre-Olivier Vincent

We attended the interview as a guest of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

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Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

The highly-anticipated film “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is flying into theaters on Friday, June 13th. Earlier in the month, we got an opportunity to talk with the Production Designer, Pierre-Olivier Vincent, on how they created the characters in the film.

Vincent was the art director for “How to Train Your Dragon,” so he had experience with working with the characters. His role as the Production Designer in “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is to create the sets, props and characters.

“We have never shared with anybody the real process of creating a character.” Pierre-Olivier Vincent

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

Vincent showed us the process of creating the character Hiccup in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” It was a long process, and they began working on Hiccup back in January of 2005. The writer of the original book, “How to Train Your Dragon” and illustrator played a role in the development of the character, “She offered to us her personal vision of Hiccup,” said Vincent.

They first started by sculpting the character out of clay. “The reason we do so many explorations is at this point, we don’t really know what the movie is going to be. It could be cartoony, comedic, funny or maybe a bit more naturalistic.” said Vincent.

“Very quickly, we realized that it was a growing up story.” Pierre-Olivier Vincent

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

Since the story was going to be focused on Hiccup growing-up, “We realized that the age of Hiccup was always an issue. He had to be more like a teen, and maybe not cute and small,” said Vincent.

Then they started the modeling process where they built a city model of him with software the studio uses called Maya. “We kept exploring, doing more of those models,” said Vincent. They would do sketches on paper, and on the computer to explore the character.

“We can really look at something almost becoming real.” Pierre-Olivier Vincent

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation

Some of the questions that they asked themselves when creating Hiccup were, “Can we relate to him easily? Does he look like a real kid you could see on the street? Can you relate to him?” They began to do a lot more drawings, “when you do that, when you continue this process, and there is a risk. And the risk is losing the appeal of a character,” said Vincent.

They kept drawing, and did the surfacing treatment, “And there he was, there he was,” said Vincent.

“It took four years, four years of a lot of worrying, not only on Hiccup, actually on all the characters.” Pierre-Olivier Vincent

Learn more about “How to Train Your Dragon 2” online, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest #HTTYD2.

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