Cartoons played a massive role in shaping our awesome childhoods. And even though we’ve all grown up, it goes without saying that those Saturday-morning shows continue to have a special place in our hearts. Many of us, in fact, show our love by collecting as much merchandise of our favorite show or character as possible. But Filip Hodas, a 3D artist based in Czech has decided to pay tribute to the most iconic characters in a disturbingly cool way.
Hodas’ Cartoon Fossils series began in October 2019. His first entry, Canis Goofus – USA, 1932, has earned over 52.2K likes since. According to the artist, he came up with the concept shortly after he finished his 12-image Pop Culture Dystopia series. “I was quite burned out and wanted something different,” Hodas shared. So he decided to experiment with one of his favorite subjects: skulls. He decided to try and make realistic versions of classic characters after making some skull renders. “I mixed those ingredients and this is what came out of it.”
Filip Hodas renders 3D, anatomically-correct skulls of iconic characters from various cartoons
We totally understand Hodas’ fascination with skulls. The skull bears many symbolisms and can vary with everyone. Symbolically, the skull represents danger, spirituality, afterlife and of course, death. This was the reason why Alexander McQueen’s designs featured them brazenly. That’s why we see them on warning signs or bottles of poison. However, Hodas’ reason for being fascinated by skulls varies immensely from the fashion icon’s. In fact, he explained that his fascination with skulls stems all the way from childhood
“I was really into dinosaurs and their fossils as a little kid. When I got older, I thought skulls were very badass, so I would draw them often. Skulls were among the first things that I had at least some idea of how to sculpt. The first one I was proud of looks terrible in retrospect!”
Hodas’ Fossils collection is not fear-inducing. The clean execution of his fossilized characters like Popeye and SpongeBob SquarePants are rather intriguing to look at. His fossilized exhibits even feature creative ‘zoological’ names and the year they debuted.
The skulls inspired by classic characters feature incredible detail
These incredibly detailed skulls didn’t come out simply from Hodas’ imagination. Hodas did quite a bit of research from university documents and museum sites to learn all that he could. He did all this to gather as much accurate information as possible to stay true to his need for authenticity.
“The mouse skull and bird skull were especially difficult. They all had those little holes, crevices, and fine details and it’s very difficult to imagine their shape in 3D.”
However, despite his mission to stay as anatomically correct as possible, the creative depiction of the characters he’s fossilizing just won’t allow it. Minnie Mouse, Tweety and Goofy have caricature-like features. They have big eyes, big heads, and other exaggerations that have become associated with their identity. If Hodas decided to recreate a real mouse’s skull, then his series probably won’t genereate as much buzz it is now. “I had no choice but to guess a lot of it and make some creative decisions,” he explained.
These fossilized skulls ‘retained’ some of their most telling features
“Obviously a mouse skull wouldn’t have ears or that arching pointy part defining the eye shape, but without the ears or clearly defined eye shape it just didn’t look like the cartoon at all!”
Originally, Hodas wanted to style them like dinosaur fossils set up in a museum exhibit. But when he realized that sticking to realistic features won’t work. After all, real fossils in exhibits usually have broken parts or missing elements. Doing this would only make his work hard to recognize. So Hodas just went with a less damaged look and highlighted their features instead. And it totally works!
“The overall vibe I go for is to create a sense of nostalgia, recreate long-forgotten worlds and visions, and mix them up with the ideas from my mind as a kid.”
The fossilized characters have definitely sparked a conversation