Art plays a key role in filmmaking, and concept artist/illustrator Austen Mengler helped bring Australian horror The Faceless Man to life.
After appearing on Supanova’s The Faceless Man panel earlier this month in Melbourne, Mengler shared some insight with us into his process. Check out the exclusive videos and commentary below.
“One of the first pencil concepts that I created for James Di Martino and Chapter 5 Studios’ team that really encapsulated The Faceless Man‘s creepy anatomical design. Taking influence from Pan’s Labyrinth, Stranger Things, Alien and other practical effects monsters, I kept experimenting in Photoshop with my Wacom tablet over my traditional pencil drawings with different variations on his design. This concept was also a great opportunity to showcase The Faceless Man’s long claws, which were a big part of his on-screen threat.”
“As with a lot of concept artwork, variations on a design are important even if you have a good idea of what you’ve got in mind. This page was great to experiment with different face designs, such as having his skin rotting off or teeth exposed. Even if these designs weren’t used in the final, they’re important in getting used to the character and one step closer to his final look.”
“This page I was experimenting with more body structures and variations on The Faceless Man’s final concept, including more masculine and feminine approaches. Although it’s important to keep the final application of the design in mind when drawing (whether 3D or practical effects) – the sketchbook and Photoshop concept stage is a great space to experiment with design and iron out the details and possibilities before going into the final makeup prosthetics production with the Chapter 5 Studios team.”
“This video is part of my Photoshop process, painting the final cinematic concept artwork of The Faceless Man, which helps show a concept of how the creature could look on film. Starting with a large A3 portrait pencil drawing, I then scanned it in Photoshop and continued fleshing the design out with my Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. Deciding to take the pose into a more landscape direction and have The Faceless Man leaning over, as if he is lurking through the darkness. This Photoshop cinematic concept was accompanied by a full-body creature design and layout head reference sheet I created which acted as a map for makeup artist Emma Rose and the Chapter 5 Studios team to create the horrific prosthetics special effects makeup that are seen in the final feature film.”
Check out Austen Mengler’s other work via his official website.
Lead image: The crew of ‘The Faceless Man’ on stage at Supanova 2020 – Melbourne. Photo by Emma Wilkinson.