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Prague-based 3D artist Flip Hodas always loved cartoon characters, particularly those of the Ducktalian variety, and he always had a thing for skulls (because who doesn’t?) too, so it just made sense to combine the two. And the results, which you can see below in his latest series, Cartoon Fossils, are some of the most macabre and marvelous examples of fan art (aka art) we’ve ever laid orbits on.
“I absolutely am a cartoon fan! Especially Ducktales, Popeye and Looney Tunes were my faves when I was a kid. It was really cool to revisit them in this way — I was amazed by how little I remembered,” Hodas tells SYFY WIRE. “As for the skulls, I'm not sure why, but I always found them fascinating, so this series joined both of those worlds.”
Even with such longtime interests though, how does one get the idea to combine them into such surreal yet somehow realistic images, that look just like fossils displayed in history museums,? Albeit Goofy fossils, with loosely Latin names like “Canis Goofus,” “Anas Scroogius,” and “Homo Popoculis,” and the years of each character's original creation.
“It's hard to pinpoint exactly. I always enjoyed doing skulls and after my previous series I wanted to do something different, but with the cartoon theme,” says Hodas. “I also saw few artists doing realistic versions of cartoon characters over last few years, so I thought it would be fun to do realistic skulls and see where it goes.”
The previous series Hodas refers to, Pop Culture Dystopia, renders pop culture icons — SpongeBob SquarePants, Pac-Man, Hello Kitty, and more — in various states of post-apocalyptic decay. So he’s no stranger to combining the magical with the macabre.
To accomplish his masterpieces, Hodas works with a number of programs, including Cinema 4D, Zbrush, 3D Coat, Substance Painter, and Substance Designer (he shows some step-by-step processes on his Behance page). Which all sounds very complicated, but he does his best to simplify.
“All of the skulls are sculpted digitally and then textured to add all the small surface details. Then I light them and render them out as if I was taking a virtual photography,” says Hodas. “I think the most difficult ones were the birds. They have so many little bones and crevices it was quite difficult to sculpt correctly and I had to do a lot of guessing.”
Looks like he guessed right, right? If you’re in agreement, then go check out Hodas’ Instagram gallery, and like away.