WHAT IF...? Producer Reveals And Explains The Over 100 Year-Old Inspiration For The Show's Unique Art Style

WHAT IF...? Producer Reveals And Explains The Over 100 Year-Old Inspiration For The Show's Unique Art Style

There are many things to discuss when it comes to Marvel Studios' first animation, including the unique animation style, and Executive Producer Brad Winderbaum has now revealed its century-old inspiration.

Marvel Studios' first animated series, What If...?, has so many layers to it that there are numerous angles from which to dissect it. However, completely ignoring the insane plot and intriguing storylines throughout the episodes, the art style of the series itself is a talking point.

What If...? utilizes an animation style that doesn't quite parallel much of today's cartoons, setting it even further apart from the animated Marvel shows that don't take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Multiverse. It has now been revealed by the show's EP that the art style takes cues from J.C. Leyendecker, an illustrator from the early 1900s.

Speaking with D23, Executive Producer Brad Winderbaum said the following regarding the unique art of Marvel Studios' What If...?, and how they approached Leyendecker's style while imbuing the team's own techniques to achieve the 2D look.

“Both Bryan and Ryan were orbiting the style of J.C. Leyendecker, who was an American illustrator from about 100 years ago. It’s a very difficult style to achieve. It’s very painterly. The light spreads in a very unique way."

He continued, "We worked with that style while also creating our own technique because it requires a 3D technique to achieve that 2D look. [It] has influences from J.C. Leyendecker but is very much Ryan Meinerding. With the incredible background work of our production designer, it creates a very rich, photographic feel in a 2D, comic-like world.”

Expanding on the animation freedom further, Winderbaum said the following in a recent interview with ComicBook.com. 

"I mean, you're completely unbounded from any sort of rules, which is both the most exciting and the most daunting thing about it because then you have to create your own rules, But I mean, it really is, in many ways, the purest interpretation of the imagination of the people behind it.

iffybody

There's an element of chaos in all things. There's an element of chaos in animation. Certainly a major factor in live-action. Filmmaking is chaos. And how things don't go as planned and how you end up ultimately with a whole different set of tools than you thought you had going in. In an animation, kind of get to work with this infinite canvas where anything you want can be achieved. And if you can conceive it, you can do it. If you can dream it, you can do it."

What do you guys think about this art inspiration and the visuals in general in Marvel Studios' first animated MCU series? Would you prefer a different style in future animated outings for the extended universe?

Regardless, be sure to share your thoughts in the usual spot, and let us know which What If...? variant character you're most excited to see!


 

Enter the multiverse of unlimited possibilities. Marvel Studios' first animated series, What If...?, starts streaming August 11 with new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+. “What If… ?” features fan-favorite characters, including Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger, Thor and more. The new series, directed by Bryan Andrews with AC Bradley as head writer, features signature MCU action with a curious twist.


Marvel Studios' What If...? premieres new episodes each Wednesday, only on Disney+.

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