Disney’s ‘Pixie Hollow Games’ Visual Development Painting: Rumble

This was the first Visual Development painting that I did for ‘Pixie Hollow Games’ (line art by Ritsuko Notani; art direction by Fred Warter).

This is an early piece of “Rumble” concept art. Rumble is Glimmer‘s partner on the storm team and the antagonist of the story.  He’s not really a villain but it was fun to be able to play with some classic “Disney Villain” qualities while designing this character.

Our original vision for Rumble was sort of a Disney Fairies version of John Travolta’s “Danny Zuko” from Grease.  He evolved into a more athletic, David Beckham type by the final film, but I’m still a fan of this original version.

Read on for more insights and detail images…

Here’s a frame from ‘Pixie Hollow Games’ that shows the final versions of Rumble and Glimmer together:

Screen shot of Rumble and Glimmer from Disney's 'Pixie Hollow Games'

Ultimately, the character looked too villainous. I think it might have been our director Brad Raymond who said that he didn’t want the character design to telegraph “BAD GUY” too strongly. And that’s a really tough call to make. Something I’ve learned from watching our directors is how not to settle for “good enough” and to always remain open to a better solution.

…in this case, “better” was “more true to the character” and “more honest” and “more believable.”  That’s something you learn with persistence, years of experience and by surrounding yourself with great collaborators.

Close-Up of an Early Visual Development Painting of Rumble from Disney's 'Pixie Hollow Games' by Chris Oatley

Something I forgot to mention in my post about Rumble’s team mate Glimmer is that their “Storm Team” costumes are made of black and white irises. A lot of the Fairies characters have costumes that are made of flower petals but this is the first time we’ve ever done a costume with an iridescent effect.

That was insanity. I became an expert on the black iris – how it changes appearance depending on the angle at which you are viewing the petals. There is always a ton of brush mileage involved in the VisDev paintings I do for DTS, but this one has more than usual.

Once I committed to that transient, speckled texture, I realized that I couldn’t get away with any significant use of the scatter brush because it just didn’t follow the forms accurately enough.  And when I tried to use the Warp tool in Photoshop, it warped the individual speckles as well. Ugh. I basically became a pointillist for a week.

I’ll be posting more ‘Pixie Hollow Games’ development art here in the near future.  Stay tuned!

Extreme Close-Up of an Early Visual Development Painting of Rumble from Disney's 'Pixie Hollow Games' by Chris Oatley

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Wiser

I like both versions for different reasons. The final version definitely seems more athletic and tough. As for the painting….I really like the texture you created on the shoulderpads!


Meredith Randazzo


It was great to meet you at CTN! Thanks for the helpful comments on my portfolio too. I was pleasantly surprised at how the finished cartoon (which I saw at CTN) turned out. It was a nice girl-power story, which I didn’t expect. Thanks for your incredibly encouraging blog posts, and I hope to see you again next year!

-Meredith Randazzo



Likewise! And, yes, I love Pixie Hollow Games. I think it’s really strong.



Hey Dude,

Just a thought. Unrelated as always. I think it would be great to hear your thoughts on multitasking. In general and on your computer. I know mono-tasking is the best way to ensure efficiency, but I also know you multitask like a champ.

I was working on my computer yesterday, rendering a 3D model in the background and sketching in Sketchbook Pro. My computer got really sad and started messing up my sketch. Bummed.

How to do handle multitasking in real life and on your computer? Do you have any systems to increase productivity if you are running a processor heavy piece of software?

You’re the man,




“How to do handle multitasking in real life and on your computer?”

*How do you… etc.



Word up. I will definitely be addressing this soon.



Reading about these more refined pixie hollow pieces I was wondering if you could talk at some point about your thought process when you take a piece from a concept style painting with loose brushwork to something as refined and finished.

I find sometimes I have difficulty at that refining stage of painting, and my efforts to “finish” something translate into misdirected noodling and blending that leave a piece overworked and lifeless.



That’s a great question, Matthew! I’ll be sure to answer this in a future post!


Merry Calliope

I really like your design! I’m surprised they thought he looked too much like a baddie. Okay, so maybe this dates me and I simply outdate today’s audiences but he reminds me of Fonzie from Happy Days. Tough guy but underneath, you know the fella’s got a heart. Man, if you coulda got in him tights that emulated pegged jeans that would have been just spot on. 😀


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