Pinocchio Re-Imagined

Pinocchio Re-Imagined

Jessica Chen
by jessdoesdrawing on 1 Jun 2023

This project imagines the story of Pinocchio told in a steam-punk/fantasy universe. Pinocchio must harness the power of Truth to liberate his city from the clutches of his father Geppetto. Geppetto, in his thirst for power, is constructing a robot army and spreading an obedience-inducing virus to the masses.

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The eponymous hero of my retelling of this classic fairy tale. In this story, Pinocchio is a Truth-teller who seeks to liberate the city from his father Geppetto and his army of puppet automatons, who are artificially infected with a virus that breeds obedience to Geppetto. The townspeople are also catching the virus--Pinocchio and his gang must stop Geppetto and cure everyone of the virus before it is too late.

A character line-up to show the relative heights of the characters in one place.

The good guys. Lampwick (Pinocchio's friend and ally), the Blue Fairy, and Pinocchio.

The bad guys. Geppetto, his step-son Orion, and a rich industrialist/venture capitalist who funds Geppetto's military experiments in creating virus-infused automatons.

Enemy characters. Viral RNA-infused automaton-beings created by Geppetto for the purpose of safeguarding and expanding his power.

Environment Drawings

A view of the town plaza. I blocked out some simple shapes in Blender that I then drew over.

A factory assembly line showing the production of Geppetto's automaton minions for the consolidation of his power. Blender -> 2D workflow.

Pinocchio's room, which also features a similar workflow of blocking in simple shapes and then drawing on top of them.

Environment Paintings

A tavern environment, meant to be the meetup spot of Pinocchio's rebel gang against Geppetto's forces. I wanted to create an environment that felt inviting and down-to-earth, which is why I did not end up going with the green lighting render (second row, middle image) to paint on top of. For this project, I modeled everything from scratch in Blender.

Geppetto's study. I wanted to create a sense of luxury in his space.

This was my first project where I used Blender for a concept painting. I ended up needing to try harder on the painting side to compensate for certain lighting and modeling decisions I made (several assets I imported from online). The model strayed from the sketch because I ended up wanting to pursue a non-symmetrical design.

I started with some chicken scratch sketches to get some ideas for how to layout the scene, but ultimately felt more satisfied figuring out the layout in 3D.

The image with the pink lighting shows a WIP lighting/layout setup that I ultimately moved away from. I added additional breathing room within the space, toned down the intensity of the colored lighting to retain more color variation and depth, and used lighting to silhouette the minions and add more drama to the scene.

Thank you!

This project has been part of my year-long thesis for the completion of my MFA in digital arts. It has been an amazing learning experience that has been great fun to put together. Thank you to my friends, family, and all of the wonderful faculty at DigiPen who have supported me in pursuing my dreams. Special thanks to John Thacker, my advisor, who has helped me develop enormously as an artist throughout the past few years of mentorship.

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