Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Character Sketch III

My third in a series (I, II) of posts about Alice In Wonderland caterpillars highlights the most recent rendition by self-taught German artist, Michael Kutsche. His art was used to create the caterpillar in the 2010, 3-D version of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton and produced by Disney. Gone is any hint of the Tenniel original. The Kutsche caterpillar is a realistic caterpillar in exquisite biological detail.

The Kutsche caterpillar has biologically correct prolegs that are used in a way that a caterpillar might grip the surface of a mushroom. Bright orange spiracles line the segments of the abdomen. Realistic tubercles are on the pro-thorax. Kutsche has the caterpillar grasp the tube of the hookah with its tarsal claws. There is no human-like arm on this caterpillar. The major deviation from caterpillar biology is superimposing the face of Alan Rickman on the head of the caterpillar. The head is a hybrid that still contains a realistic caterpillar frons and caterpillar antennae although the spinneret is replaced by a goatee.

It is clear from the realistic details that Kutsche spent time studying the features of a caterpillar. Advances in animation techniques allow filmmakers to produce animated characters that are far more detailed than in the past. The new films can animate a realistic style of art that incorporates fine details of insects and nature. For most of the broad audience that does not study insects in detail, the “wonders” of nature, become wonders of animation when biologically realistic insect characters are presented with on the big screen.caterpillar_concept

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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2 Responses to Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Character Sketch III

  1. doriagrobes says:

    Great post, Jonathan! I did enjoy the Caterpillar character sketch series. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books of all time. My personal favorites are the Kutsche and the Tenniel one. While Mary Blair’s is all chilled out and kind of nice looking, Tenniel’s sketch offers a bit of mystery by hiding the face. Kutsche’s concept depicts the ‘wise beyond measure’ bit of the caterpillar. Thanks for sharing your posts!

  2. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Character Character Sketch IV | Living With Insects Blog

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