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Dune Cartoon Character Designs

Artist Matt Rhodes creating a compelling set of cartoon character designs for the legendary stories of the Dune series of books. 

In Matt's own word from his blog

"I finally gave in to the siren song of Dune and was dashed upon the rocks like so many concept artists before me [...] but I’m reasonably pleased with the linework, so here they are!

"Some context: I fell into a Dune-hole recently which started by stumbling across the INCREDIBLE art from what would have been Jodorowsky’s Dune film. That inspired me to re-watch the David Lynch movie again (one of my favorites). At that point, I had to read the book again. In the middle of my read-through, I watched a couple Tarsem Singh movies and my brain made a connection that I couldn’t shake loose:

"I want a 4 hour Dune movie designed by Tarsem Singh’s crew (production designer, art director, costume designer, cinematographer, etc…)

"So, in order to get that thought out of my brain, I took a clumsy swing at designing the cast of Dune through the lens of Tarsem Singh’s crew. To me, that meant making each character an operatic or theatrical expression of their role in the story. Visual storytelling cranked to eleven."

... at which point Matt goes through each of the characters left to right. 

Caladan – I thought the Atreides  on Caladan should look “water rich”. I wanted to design a visual language that looked like it was born out of generations of ruling a tropical paradise.

Dr. Yueh – The diamond mark of his conditioning becomes a mask, but it’s not %100 effective so it doesn’t cover one eye.

Thufir Hawat – The Juice of Sapho is held in a small vial near his mouth, always near him. He may once have fit his ceremonial armor better, but he’s no less dangerous.

Gurney Halleck – Patrick Stewart was perfect in this role, but in the book he’s described as being a pretty ugly guy. He has blades all over him, and his clothing is tied down tightly for sparring.

Paul – He wears the Atreides Hawke at his breast, with one “red wing” cape over his shoulder. He is dressed for life on his water-rich homeland.

Reverend Mother Helen Gaius Mohiam – She carries branching staff to represent diverging bloodlines.  Her collar echoes the Emperor’s own crest. I wanted to design a motif for the Bene Gesserit with several meanings. Her hair is tonsured like a monk’s, but they wear a braided mohawk like a horses mane to make reference to their ongoing breeding program. They also wear fine chains connected to piercings from their eyes, ears and mouths. This is a visual representation of their constant focus on observation, listening and influence through speech.

Duke Leto – He is described as having a face like a bird of prey, so I exaggerated that. He wears the Atreides Hawke on his chest, with two red wing capes behind him.

The Lady Jessica – She has the Bene Gesserit hair (tonsured with a horses mane mowhawk) and piercings (connecting eyes, hears and mouth). She has a modified version of the Atreides Hawk crest, forming a more elegant cape.

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Stay tuned to learn more about Dune!

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