Behind the Scenes Look at Designing Jurassic World Dinosaur Toys with Mattel’s Kristen Sanzari

Since their release in 2018 alongside Fallen Kingdom, Mattel’s Jurassic World line have taken over the toy aisle, and captured the attention of fans and collectors alike. Recently, we spoke to Kristen Sanzari – one of the designers on the Jurassic World toy line – about her work, and how she came to design dinosaurs for this continuously evolving range of action figures.

Kristen provided numerous design sheet images, that document part of the process that designing these toys undergo. In the images you can see reference photos, design change notes, and how things like action features are created.

Read on to learn about Kristen’s work directly from her, and of course, check out the images!

“I have been designing Jurassic World toys at Mattel for almost 3 years now, and people often ask how I got into toy design. So, I will give you a little background. I grew up with a love of drawing animals and my favorite animation characters. I loved my toys and loved animation. When it came time to go to college, I went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I studied graphic design and ran on the track team. I loved graphic design but knew I still wanted to study animation, so after graduating from Cal Poly, I moved to San Francisco, where I attended the Academy of Art University to get my master’s in visual development for animation.

After graduating, I got a job as a graphic designer/illustrator at a toy and publishing company called Artistic Studios (now Bendon Publishing). I worked on licensed craft sets and toys and loved it, but I was still mostly doing graphic design and package design, with only a little bit of illustration here and there. Wanting to do more concept art, I began applying to jobs at animation studios and toy companies in LA. I interviewed with Mattel for the Jurassic World product design position with a portfolio full of concept art for animation. Although similar in a lot of ways, I had no toy designs to show. So, after the interview I drew up some toy concepts focused on Jurassic, and luckily my now boss had faith I could design toys and I got the job.

Was I a dinosaur expert or a Jurassic park fanatic prior to getting the job? No, but I liked dinosaurs, I had seen some of the movies, and most of all I loved drawing and learning about animals. So, I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park franchise when I began working on the brand. I watched all the movies a bunch of times, took several paleontology courses online, listened to the Jurassic Outpost Podcast, bought and read multiple dinosaur books and made it a point to learn about and know every dinosaur we designed.

When designing our toys, we begin by brainstorming about what we want that toy to do. Is it a T. Rex that roars and has a massive chomp? Or is it a Pachycephalosaurus that rams its head? There are usually so many great and crazy ideas that come up in brainstorms, but we always do our best to make sure the function of our toys are realistic, on brand, and accentuate what the dinosaur would have done in real life. Something we also focus on is our scale, we do our best to make all our dinosaurs in scale to a 3¾” human action figure, which really allows you to imagine how massive some of these dinosaurs were in real life.

As you can see from many of these design sheets, we start off with an initial drawing of the dinosaur concept and what the feature will be. Sometimes these are based on assets from Universal, for dinosaurs from the films, and sometimes we are able to create the dinosaur designs ourselves. We spend a lot of time creating the patterns and textures, picking the colors of the dinos, and making sure they fit into the look and feel of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World. In the Carnotaurus example you can see that the drawing and the original sculpt are different from the final sculpt and product. This is because we often know what dinosaurs are going to be in the film before knowing exactly what the dinosaurs are going to look like in the film. The toy production timeline is longer than the time it takes to make a film and so often we need to begin our design process before we have all the information. We frequently have to figure out the feature of the toy prior to knowing exactly what the dinosaur will look like, and we just have to be nimble and adjust our designs to fit the look of the movie as soon as we do get the actual assets. Our partners at Universal always do their best to get us the assets and information we need as soon as they can.

Once we have a sculpt we are happy with, and the mechanism is figured out, we can make our first model. The first model is never perfect, but we use it to see if we need to change anything about the sculpt and details, the mechanism function, the articulation, and the color choices. We then take notes on any revisions and make adjustments to improve this model. After all the changes have been accounted for we make a new and improved model. During the entire process there are multiple check points with Universal to make sure they approve the look and function of the dinosaurs.

When the final model is approved we move on to make a “first shot,” which is the first run of the product in plastic. First shots are made in the factories with any leftover or extra plastic they have, so they usually are really crazy colors. For example, we could get a raptor first shot with a pink body, black left leg, blue right leg, green head, and neon yellow arms. We make comments on the first shot and make sure the toy can stand and that the detents and articulations function properly. Next we get our first painted plastic toy sample. At this point the toy is almost complete, but we make sure the plastic and paint colors match, we make sure the mechanism and any electronic features are functioning the way they should, and make sure all the packaging information is aligned with the product. After all these comments are captured we pass them along to make sure our final product is the best it can be. Then, finally we receive the final product!

As a whole the toy design process takes an entire team and I have to say that team Jurassic is made up of some of the most passionate and hard-working people I know. Our design team couldn’t make the toys we do without the enormous help of our awesome marketing team, packaging team, and engineering team. It is truly a team effort and an awesome brand to be a part of.”

Thanks so much to Kristen for taking the time out to speak with us, and to share many of these images! For more from Kristen, you can check out her website here and her Instagram here. With the 2020 Primal Attack line coming soon (which the Sarcosuchus belongs to) , there will surely be more toys to learn about in the future!

What toy do you like the most from Mattel’s line, and what would you like to see more of? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost!


John Hammond Was Killed by Velociraptors in These Newly Unearthed Jurassic Park Storyboards

Although Jurassic Park is now over 26 years old, new stories, art, and secrets continue to be unearthed by its incredibly dedicated and passionate fanbase. This Jurassic June, Jurassic Time has uncovered yet another long-forgotten storyboard from the original Jurassic Park film. It is part of what Jurassic Time dubs as “The Many Deaths Of John Hammond”.

In this newly revealed storyboard page, John Hammond is in Jurassic Park’s control room during the climax when the Raptors have broken out of their pen and have entered the Visitor Center. John Hammond, with an incubator of eggs he plans to take with him upon leaving the park to “save it”, hears Lex screaming downstairs. He opens the door to the control room to help, but is greeted by a Raptor. Hammond falls backward, crashing on a tabletop model of Jurassic Park that is on display in the control room (which was to be very similar to the one we see in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), as the Raptor digs its claws deep into his chest. The incubator shatters to the floor, breaking one of the eggs while another remains unharmed.

Later on, Grant finds Hammond in the control room, barely alive, as he tells Grant that he always knew the “first batch of DNA was too unstable” and that he was looking forward to working with him at the park. He then dies as the two men are framed by the destroyed model of Jurassic Park. Then, the one unharmed egg from before cracks open, revealing an infant Triceratops.

This was one of the many deaths originally planned for John Hammond. In the novel, John Hammond dies while falling down a hill then killed by Compies. In Michael Crichton’s first draft of the screenplay, Hammond is in the Visitor Center when he falls into the destroyed scaffolding after being startled by the twitching corpse of a Raptor. Then, he is finished off by Compies like in the novel. Jurassic Time showed an illustration from this depiction some time ago.

This was then followed by Crichton’s final draft, which featured Hammond being killed by a Raptor while the “Welcome Video” of him is being played behind him, stuttering in an eerie effect as he is being attacked. The next version of his death is the one just described with the tabletop model; originating from a script revision actually tackled by someone else no one has ever known to have penned. But that is another story that will be told another time.

The other versions of his death are of Hammond simply being left behind on the island, either by his choice or by accident. Some art and storyboards of this idea were done by Art Director John Bell, with a version of this scripted in Malia Scotch Marmo’s screenplay that followed both Crichton’s and the one the tabletop Raptor death was from.

However, once David Koepp entered into the picture, it was decided Hammond no longer needed to die. Whether it was because Richard Attenborough was cast or the filmmakers decided it didn’t fit their ever-evolving take on the character remains to be seen. It seems to be a good choice for the version of the character they ended up crafting, but it will always be interesting to see just how his many deaths were once going to be played out.

You can find more rare art and storyboards from Jurassic Park at Jurassic Time, along with an audio memoir of John Hammond read by Richard Attenborough that was adapted from the Lost World game Trespasser. It includes a video version with art by Felipe Humboldt, as pictured above, who also has been uncovering many lost relics of the Jurassic Park films via Behind The Gates.

Huge thanks to to Derrick Davis for providing this article and his great work at Jurassic Time!


Never Before Seen Art Surfaces from Cancelled ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ Animated Series!

We were planning on holding this one off until Jurassic June, but much like the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar, we simply couldn’t contain it. While you no doubt know there was an unreleased Jurassic Park animated series in the early 90’s, you probably did not know there was another in development alongside The Lost World. This attempt at bringing Jurassic Park into the animated front was kept under lock and key, without any substantial evidence of existence… until now.

Check out our video below, where dive into the art and story revealed from this elusive, never before seen unreleased Jurassic Park tie-in!

The Lost World’s animated series was commissioned by Steven Spielberg himself, and developed by DreamWorks Animation under the supervision of Steve Lyons. The artwork on display comes from Phillip J. Felix, who also contributed to the story of this ill-fated cartoon venture. Not much is known about the plot, outside of the fact that it would have introduced hybrid dinosaurs to the Jurassic Park franchise for the first time. While the cartoon was eventually shelved due to a variety of internal conflicts, many ideas were adopted by Kenner with the Jurassic Park Chaos Effect toy line (which was also to have a animated series that fell through).

The video above walks you through all the art available, what we know about the story and its titular DOOMSDAY REX, and how the idea of hybrids evolved forward into Jurassic World. Be sure to check it out!

While the art from Phillip may be our only real look at the series, it’s believed these Kenner Jurassic Park Chaos Effect precursor concepts were tied directly to it. Most noticeably, the mech suit is very similar to that of Phillips artwork:

And of course, check out all the art from Phillip below!

The idea of a Jurassic Park primetime animated series was attempted many times over the years, but all became extinct before they were ever even truly alive. While some of the art for the hybrids in this series was a bridge too far for canon, in that era, transmedia story expansions were hardly ever held to continuity, and I would have enjoyed it as its own thing. That said, in today’s world of mega-franchises with expansive expanded universes and spin-offs, I think an animated series would need to stick closer to the source materials content.

While you’re here, check out our exclusive look at the original animated series attempt, ‘Escape from Jurassic Park’, featuring the entire season 1 story treatment! It features an unfinished script, and completely outlines the arc, episode-to-episode – its story goes much further into new territory than the beautiful artwork from William Stout had led us believe!

What do you think of the franchises first real attempts to bring hybrids into the story, prior to Chaos Effect, the Indominus Rex of Jurassic World, and Indoraptor of Fallen Kingdom? What would you have liked to see from this cartoon, and do you think we will ever get a proper Jurassic animated series? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost!

Source: Phillip J Felix


‘Jurassic World’ Animation Supervisor Glen McIntosh Holding Lecture This Saturday at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology!

If you’re anywhere near the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada, you’re in luck! ‘Jurassic World’ Animation Supervisor, Glen McIntosh, is giving a lecture this Saturday May 4th! The lecture will take place on May 4th at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium, where Glen will talk about realistic creature design and animation.

As a bonus, Glen will be signing original artwork (limited supplies) in the museum lobby after the talk, which is not to be missed!

The lecture is free with admission, so if you’re an artist of any kind, or just a movie or dinosaur fan, it’s something you don’t want to miss! Glen has worked on numerous Jurassic projects, including Jurassic Park 3, World, and Fallen Kingdom, and has worked with both the designs, art, and of course, the animation of the dinosaurs.

Will you be attending? Be sure to share your comments and photos online so!

New Concept Art Shows Alternative Opening, Second Indoraptor, the Spinosaurus, and Early Designs in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this article will one of our most dense to date. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom has released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital and with that has come a new wave of artwork from making the film. While the retail releases of the movie were quite light on making of content, and didn’t include any deleted scenes, the artwork from various artist who worked on the film have revealed quite a few alternative sequences that didn’t make the final cut.

Take a look at the concept art from the latest Jurassic Park sequel below – whether or not it’s from a cut scene, or art you’ll see reflected in the movie, it’s all sure to please.

Christopher Brändström

The artwork from Christopher Brändström focuses on early passes of the Indoraptor, where the initial plan was to show off a few experiments gone wrong in the development process of the new breed of dinosaurs. Further, it showcases an alternate opening of Fallen Kingdom, serving to introduce the Mosasaurus in the open ocean attacking a whaling vessel.

Jama Jurabaev

Jama’s artwork served as the basis for many keyframes, final approved dinosaur designs, and more. Some of the most striking pieces of art reveal that there were originally meant to be two Indoraptors who would eventually fight, leaving the one we know from the film victorious. Also notable is his early 3D model of the Allosaurus which looks more like the real animal, and the fact the Sinoceratops was to be called Pachyrhinosaurus with no design differences.

Further, his art explored an alternate more intense version of the stampede and raging wildfires, which was later replaced with a more lighthearted adventure action sequence. Finally, two pieces of art also showcase the Spinosaurus, which would have been killed by the T. rex instead of the Carnotaurus.

As time goes on, more artwork will surely be released for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. While there are currently no plans for an artbook, and thus no commentary for how the art led to the final designs and story, these images can still be both insightful and captivating as making of content.

Sound off and let us know what your favorite piece is, and if you would eventually like to see art books for various Jurassic Park films!

Source: jamajurabaev, chrisbrandart