Professor Caligari

This is a model of a super villain I designed: Professor Caligari. 

He is the mad scientist type who designs and constructs electrical weapons to aid in his twisted mission to spread terror across a late 1940s dystopian San Francisco. If the name sounds familiar, pat yourself on the back for your knowledge of influential movies; I pulled the name and much of the character's persona from the 1920 spooky German Expressionism film: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Steal like an artist

Aside from pulling the name from what already exists, I have really begun to see the value of the phrase/philosophy: "Steal like an artist." I pulled from several inspirations to create this character and the concept of the world he lives in; It’s nice to have all these sources to pull from and it makes for a solid excuse in being a movie buff and gamer. From head to toe: I used Doc Brown's hair from Back to the Future, the typical mad scientist goggles from Young Frankenstein ("…that's FrankenstEEn"), the wide pointed shoulders of the Joker from Batman: The Animated Series, the Tesla towers from my love of the movie The Prestige, the entirety of his backpack from everyday power transformers found along power lines, the jacket’s unique front panel from The Rocketeer, his power glove from the Lazarus device in the game Evolve, and the way the duster part of his jacket comes up in the front is from much of the costume design in Assassin’s Creed

I put together a book of this character similar to Disney’s “How to Draw [this princess]” type of books.



The dystopian version of San Francisco is strung with wires and hastily designed augmentations to the city with little regard for the iconic look we know San Francisco to have. Much of this was inspired by Tim Burton’s version of Gotham City from one of those terrible early Batman movies. I wanted to make a version of San Francisco that feels dangerous and unfriendly; For instance, I took one of the cities icons—the happy little trolley car—and made a scary “coffin-mobile” version of it keeping it’s centered headlight and upper arch to maintain some resemblance—heavily inspired by the vehicle design in Dishonored.


At the end of it all, Professor Caligari will take his place in the Academy of Art animation department’s shelves of maquettes. This class was difficult for me because character design is not where my passion lies—I’ve always been an environments guy—but I’m happy that I was still able to produce something substantial.