Interview with Wes Louie
(September 2019)

Wes Louie is an accomplished Concept Illustrator who has worked on many films and shows, and here we discuss his work on the second and third seasons of DAREDEVIL and what was involved in creating scenes in the show.

Kuljit Mithra: I was looking at some of your past work and I didn't realize you worked on many of the Marvel Netflix shows. One thing I noticed is that you didn't work on all the episodes like I first thought... is that a common thing for Concept Illustrators to be hired for scenes per episode instead of the whole season? Am I confusing it with someone who oversees the look of the show?

Wes Louie: Yes, I've worked on most of the Marvel/Netflix shows- Luke Cage season 1, Daredevil seasons 2 and 3, Iron Fist, The Defenders, The Punisher season 1, Jessica Jones seasons 2 and 3. As far as a television series or a streaming series like the Marvel/Netflix shows were, I was usually hired to help develop specific sets and set the visual look of the show or certain parts of the show. Let's use Daredevil season 3 as an example. Specifically the season 3 intro. The concept illustrations I did were very useful in showing other people like Erik (the show runner), Jeph (Head of Marvel tv), VFX, cinematography, stunts, etc. the lighting, mood, camera blocking, which sequences needed VFX, etc. We needed to know how we were going to do this camera move, what lighting, VFX, was Charlie going to have to be in water, location and on and on.

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#tbt Daredevil season 2 concept art- sarcophagus. Elektra was resurrected in it after some sleepy time. #marvel #mcu #tv #netflix #throwbackthursday #film #nyc #ny #madeinnyc #setlife #conceptart #art #artist #instagood #instaart #design #artwork #artistsoninstagram #artistsofinstagram #newyork #newyorkcity #comics #charliecox #illustration #bts #behindthescenes

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Mithra: For DAREDEVIL, you worked on an episode for S2 ("Seven Minutes in Heaven") and three episodes for S3 ("Resurrection", "Please" and "No Good Deed"). Can you briefly talk about how you got involved with the show?

Louie: Basically what happened was that for Daredevil season 2, I had worked with somebody on a big film earlier that year and he texted me one day to see if I was busy when the time came around to Daredevil season 2 to work on the sarcophagus that Elektra was placed in after she seemingly died. As far as season 3 goes, I was called right after the production designer for season 3 got the job (I had worked with him before several years before) and he wanted me to start ASAP to work specifically on the Church Crypt and Orphanage Infirmary. Mainly because the Church Crypt was the key set and the Orphanage infirmary tied season 3 into the ending of The Defenders when we saw Matt, bloodied and bandaged on a bed, then a nun whispered "Get Maggie...." I really wanted to work on Kingpin's apartment because I knew what was going to happen in episode 13...."I BEAT YOU!!!!!!"

Mithra: At what point in the show's episode development do you get involved? Do you get the scripts, conceptualize what a room or scene would look like, present it and then onto the next... or are you more heavily involved with the many departments of the show, from how a scene would be filmed, or the locations that can be used to build the set, or is something even going to be filmable?

Louie: I usually get involved after the initial or several drafts of the script is written. Most of the time, scripts go through a lot of revisions and we'll have to work on the sets regardless of what is happening to the script. I do get the scripts and have to read them to be aware if there are any key scenes that need to be illustrated or a specific set that needs a very specific prop that'll be used during the show. A good example is the sarcophagus that Matt and Karen hid in to avoid being found by the FBI after their fight with Bullseye in the church. We had to place that in a very specific spot along the wall for it to work during filming because that was a key part in the script of that particular episode. Most of the time, I'll do an illustration and we show everybody to try to get a set approved because as you know, people have to build these sets in order to film a scene. If people don't like certain aspects, doesn't fit the script, the budget would be too much for everything in the set, then it has to be changed. Sometimes completely, sometimes just a little editing. For Daredevil season 3, after working on the intro with the director, Erik, Jeph, Christopher(cinematographer), VFX, stunts, the rest of the art department and whoever else was in there(there were a lot of people in that meeting), I was only involved with the art department. Sometimes on different shows, I'd have to be more involved with VFX, storyboarding and talking with the director about camera blocking, costumes, props, etc. We also do a lot of location scouting and we take photos of certain sections of where we think we'd be able to film/build a set and I'll do a concept illustration over the photo.

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#tbt Remember the time there was this show called Daredevil(season 3)that I did concept art for? #art #artist #artwork #illustration #illustrator #marvel #daredevil #conceptart #design #designer #instagood #ny #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #instaart #tv #instadaily #instagram #throwbackthursday #artistsoninstagram #artistsofinstagram #artistic #bts #mcu #netflix #comics #marvelcomics #instaart #disney

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Mithra: When designing the room in the church where Matt recovers from his injuries, or the FBI offices, Nelson's Meats... these are new designs... did you have to work on concepts for existing locations in the show? Like an addition to Matt's apartment, something like that. Do you find creating it from "scratch" more appealing?

Louie: I think for season 3, the only real place we saw a little bit of previously was the Orphanage Infirmary in The Defenders. We had to fully design that room because originally, the camera didn't have to look back to the entry doors and the hallway in The Defenders. It's always more fun to create something from scratch.

Mithra: I've seen some of your designs on Instagram, and it appears to be a mix of painted and computer graphics. How do you normally create your illustrations?

Louie: It really depends what I'm asked to do. For any set, we need ground plans drawn so people can build those sets. Somebody else usually does that and they hand that off to me to do a 3d model of the set. Sometimes, they also do the base model for me and I expand and add all kinds of what we call "set dressing". That's basically furniture and such to dress the set. After that, I take the model after I've lit the scene and set the camera angle and lens into Photoshop and create the illustration. Other things I sketch and illustrate in Photoshop or take a photo of a location we're thinking of shooting at and do the illustration over the top of that. For anything the requires an absolute scale that needs to be 100% accurate(like props or set dressing), then I'll usually model things in 3d, then work on it in Photoshop.

Mithra:Thanks for your time. Unfortunately we won't see any more of your work for the Marvel Netflix shows (you can work on DAREDEVIL wherever it comes back! #SaveDaredevil). I've seen you are working on the WU-TANG show, EL CAMINO and STUMPTOWN... how have those been so far, and what else can you talk about? Thanks again, I appreciate it.

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Daredevil fans....does this look familiar? Time for something that's much more exciting to look at(swipe left for more images) My first task working on Daredevil season 3 was to help design the intro for this season. It was extremely important just because we hadn't seen Matt Murdock in his own solo series for a few years. The last we saw of him, he was bloodied and bandaged on a bed after the Midland Circle explosion in The Defenders .....and here we are with season 3. These key frames are right after the explosion under Midland Circle and how Matt was able to survive the explosion. The director and director of photography already had the camera move planned out(how the camera is following Matt) and I had to design the rest around Matt. After a big meeting with the director, DP, @erik.oleson, producers, Marvel, VFX, @therealstanlee sending me telepathic messages, other members of the art department, stunts and I can't remember who else because there were so many people in the room, this is the end result from me. As you saw in Episode 1, it came out great! More DD season 3 concept art to come. < < < #art #artist #artwork #marvel #mcu #marvelcomics #daredevil #illustrator #illustrations #bts #instaart #instaartist #conceptart #drawing #drawings #design #designer #ny #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #instagood #instapic #instagram #instadaily #design #designer #netflix #artistsoninstagram #tv #digitalart #comics

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Louie: Yeah, unfortunately no more Marvel/Netflix. A few months ago, I was back at the old Marvel building that we used to have all of the crews and a lot of the sets. I was working on another show, but was surreal because there was nobody else there except for maybe 3-4 other cars. A ghost town-inside and outside. Back when all of the shows were alive, the lot would be completely filled in the morning, buzzing with activity from crew members, stunts were right next door to the Punisher/Daredevil office and you could hear those guys practicing. Now there are just remnants and some objects that make us reminisce about the time Marvel TV was there. As a kid growing up and reading comics all the time, I had a really fun time working on all of those shows. More amazing are the people that I've met on all of those shows and the experiences in making those shows. Hopefully we'll see some of these characters again in the future. If we don't, then we went out on Daredevil season 3 with the highest of highs. The BEST superhero show ever made and hey...we just recently won a Saturn Award for best streaming superhero show and all kinds of other awards. We're all very appreciative that the fans love it.

As far as newer shows I've worked on, Wu Tang: An American Saga came out a few weeks ago on Hulu and that was really fun to work on. I worked on that with my art department friends from Daredevil season 2 and The Punisher season 1! I helped develop a set and did some comic book pages.

Stumptown I worked on with another friend from my Marvel days and that was very fun. It premiers on Sept 25th in the US.

El Camino... well, what can I say about the upcoming Breaking Bad film? Probably the one project I've been asked, pestered, DM'd, emailed, called and texted about in my career. A film that was extremely fun to work on (You'll notice me saying this a lot because I do have fun on most of my jobs) I worked on that with another friend from my Marvel days and it's coming out on Oct 11th to Netflix and select theaters in the US! Netflix just released a full-length trailer this morning!

I've worked on 11 different shows this year and that's the most I've ever worked on out of any year so far. It's been a wide variety of shows, so it's been interesting. I can't really talk about those right now, but those will be coming out 2020-2021. I think that's it. Thanks for the interview and let's hope Disney picks up Daredevil again!

(c) 2019 Kuljit Mithra & Wes Louie
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear

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