El Tigre! The Adventures Of Manny Rivera

-A while back, my good friends, Jorge Gutierrez, and Sandra Equihua asked me to help them develop the look and color styling of their new t.v. show idea, "El Tigre". Working under the guidance of Jorge, and art director, Roman Laney. I started with rough sketches of the various locations that would be used in the pilot episode.

Above: A few early exploratory sketches from "El Tigre!"

Most of my early sketches were close in value, with little or no black in the backgrounds. There was a lot of black on the characters, and I wanted them to read well. But this gave a sort of calm feeling, and Jorge wanted everything in the show to be "Super Macho!"... having more contrast, more texture, more of everything. It made designing a bit more difficult, but also gave the intensity Jorge wanted. A lot of the art styling was worked out in the pilot by Roman. By the time "El Tigre" had been picked up as a series... the look had been fully established.

Above: Art director, Roman Laney, and his team took a lot of the development art, and created a beautiful, and unique look for "El Tigre". Check out Roman's website to see more amazing art from the show.

Above: A visual structure chart for one of the episodes.

I was working overseas, away from the rest of the team, so it was essential that I knew what Jorge, Roman, and Director Dave Thomas wanted for each episode. We were under such tight deadlines that there really wasn't much wiggle room for exploration. You will notice, that all the art follows the story Arc in the visual structure. We set up themes early in the show... and then generally kept them throughout all the episodes. For example, high contrast for exciting segments, low contrast for duller moments. We also used color themes throughout the show. Evil was often symbolized by using black and red, (or the main color of the villian) and El Tigre with green.With so many episodes going on at the same time... it was important that everyone was on the same page.

Above: A small sampling of my color scripts from the show.

My pal, Dave Thomas' storyboards were the blueprint for everything I did. Dave is a real master of timing, and staging. He and Jorge had worked everything out to make the rest of the teams work as easy as possible. I would usually do a first pass on the color script based on Dave's beat boards, and sometimes keys from Roman. Then Roman, Jorge and I would talk about it... after which I would make my adjustments. From the color scripts, the rest of the team would have a feel for lighting, mood, color.

A fan video... cut together from various episodes.

As in most of the projects I am involved with, "El Tigre" was a collaboration of friends, who also happen to be some of the most talented people I know. I was saddened when I learned that "El Tigre" had been canceled. Not only is it one of the best projects I have ever worked on... it is one of my favorite shows to watch.

Thank you Sandra, and Jorge for making a place for me. -tod


  1. Hello Todd,
    it's great to finally see some video of your "El Tigre"
    It's a little "hello" from Reunion Island !

  2. Wow, I've never seen a "visual structure chart" for color before! I'm going to steal it... :)

  3. (please read with a heavy Mexican accent)
    Tod, mi amigo, it was MY honor to have your amazing talent explode all over our humble little show. I will forever owe you. Gracias.