"Art Department" Featurette


Art styles vary greatly from movie to movie. Even within animated movies, the art looks incredibly different. Though audiences don’t normally dwell on it, a lot of extremely hard work goes into making animated movies. There is a lot of forethought and development that goes into scenes, characters, and art direction. This is especially true with Minions.


Minions - Art Department


Because the minions were not a previously existing creature, the art department had a special challenge in creating the characters and their world. Our Minions behind-the- scenes video gives you an exclusive look into the process, and insight that you might have never considered without watching the “Art Department” featurette.


The development of the minion as seen on-screen was a long and multi-step process. When Despicable Me came out, the art department struggled to create the image of the minion. In our Minions featurette, Eric Guillon, the character designer, describes the metamorphosis of this creature. 


Minions - Eric Guillon


The instruction at first was simply to create a security team for Gru, the supervillain main character of Despicable Me. The team began by making a small, human-inspired posse for Gru, that ultimately didn’t seem right. Then the character morphed into more of a robot than a person, but that proved to be too impersonal and cold for the movie. Finally, after playing and developing the character with combinations of robot and human traits, the minion as we know it was born.


According to the Minions behind-the-scenes interviews, there is a significant challenge in differentiating one minion from another. Though many of the minions are simply background characters, several have distinct personalities. No matter how prevalent they are, it’s important to create variation in these characters so that audiences don’t see them as a robotic monolith. This is why the minions vary in height, stature, weight, etc. They also have varying types of hair (or lack thereof), and some minions have two eyes while others have only one. These variations may seem small, but they helped the art department create individuality between each of the minions in the crowd of yellow beans.


This Minions featurette also discuss the challenges of creating the backgrounds in the Minions movie. The movie takes place in several locations around the world, and each location requires a lot of time and attention. A lot of the locations are busy, intricate, or both, and the art department had to work hard to create backdrops that were authentic and convincing, while remaining within the style of the movie. The art department’s first step when designing the minion characters was to sketch out the elements. Once the director had agreed on a design, the department made a 3D model of the sketch that would eventually move on to be animated.


The 1960s were a fun time period for the team to research. From the style to the fashion, to the attitudes, everything about the 60s was cool. You can see Scarlet Overkill’s style for the film had a retro inspiration, with her little red dress and skinny black heels. Herb also has a retro vibe, inspired by the French personality called Serge Gainsbourg.


Minions is an incredibly special movie with heart, fun, and a lot of silliness that the whole family can enjoy. Audiences across the world have been captivated by these little yellow creatures, whose simplicity and childlike wonder provide wonderful movie material. However, there is a lot more to these movies than meets the eye. For access to more exclusive Minions extras, purchase the movie on 4k Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM, DVD, or Digital.*


*Bonus features are only available at select digital retailers. Check the retailer for details.


Like this article? Read more about the making of Minions here: