(Very) Special Art of the Day #265: Featured Artist, The Man Himself, Byron Howard

That Famous Pose by @ByronPHoward
Source [1]

You know this image; you’ve seen it on movie posters, DVD covers, and in countless works of fan art: Nick Wilde leaning his elbow on Judy Hopps’ head while she regards him with a mixture of amusement and insouciance.

And this is where it all began, the very first rendering of that iconic pose, created by Zootopia co-director Byron Howard in 2012.

And so today we proudly present a collection of Byron Howard’s Zootopia artwork. Included in this gallery are concept pieces, promotional artwork, and drawings sent as thanks and greetings to various people. Many of these images will be familiar to the reader, but some (we hope) will be works they haven’t seen before.

Enjoy. and don’t forget to show Byron some love by visiting his Twitter page.

(All comments in quotations and bold text are by B. H.)

Get your art after the break!

“One of my rough Zootopia beat-board drawings from 3 yrs ago.  Nick & Judy beat a hasty retreat.”
(This pic was posted on Twitter in 2015, so three years ago would have been 2012.)

Nick and Judy Beat a Hasty Retreat by @ByronPHoward
Source [2]
“Early mechanic character that didn’t stay in Zootopia.”
No, but Skye’s sure as heck popular with the fan artists.

First Look at Skye by @ByronPHoward
Source [3]
“Rough character concept art I did 2 years ago for Zootopia’s police force.”
(Two years ago = 2013)

ZPD Concept Art by @ByronPHoward
Source [4]
“Random herd of Zootopians”

Random Herd by @ByronPHoward
Source [5]
“Spent lots of time figuring out social dynamics in Zootopia.”
♪”Oh, I fight authority, authority always wins.”♫

John Cougar Mellencamp

Autority Issues by @ByronPHoward
Source [6]
The pic that answers the burning question:  Where did Judy Hopps’s wanting-to-be-a-bunny-cop kick come from in the first place?
“‘Humps&Spitz’ CamelCops from JudyHopps fave TV show growing up – FuzzyJustice.”

Humps and Spitz by @ByronPHoward
Source [7]
“Early Spy version of Zootopia with Fox & Bunny partners.”

Early Spy Version by @ByronPHoward
Source [8]
“Young Nick & his dad. Deleted flashback scene from 1.5 yrs ago.” (2013)
This pic is one of my personal favorites; it’s another one of those images that tells a story.  Look at the expression of wonder on little Nick’s face.  You can tell that this is his first time in the big city.  Now, look at the glasses and bow-tie his father is wearing; they give him a sober, almost scholarly appearance.  And the expression on his face leaves no doubt that he’s very proud of his son.

Young Nick and his Dad by @ByronPHoward
Source [9]
“That time when Judy used to work at the ZPD Call Center.” (2013)

Call Center Judy by @ByronPHoward
Source [10]
“Early development design I did for Finnick/Zootopia in 2013…he was a very different little guy then.”
No kidding, THIS is supposed to bite your face off?

Early Finnick by @ByronPHoward
Source [11]
“Beat board from 2013. Predator & Prey live side-by-side in Zootopia.”
Note the ear-tags on the two tigers.

Preds and Prey by @ByronPHoward
Source [12]
“Zootopia where u eat fast food in Little Rodentia. (Deleted scene.)”
 Chez Cheez was also featured in our Little Rodentia Collection.

Chez Cheese by @byronphoward
Source [13]
“Early Zootopia concept I did showing life in the big city.”
This is another pic I like; great use of shadow and perspective.

Wide Load by @ByronPHoward
Source [14]
“Early Zootopia beatboards 2012. Nick & Judy are popular w/bunnies & bats…”
No, I don’t see a bat in this picture, either. 

Popular with Bunnies by @ByronPHoward
Source [15]
Little bit of a reversal of the Rainforest cliffhanger scene.

Swing for your life by @ByronPHoward
Source [16]
“That time Nick & Judy were practicing combat techniques.  Old concept/story ideas that didn’t make it into Zootopia.”

Practicing Combat Techniques by @ByronPHoward
Source [17]
“That time 2yrs ago (2013) when Nick chased a shrew thru Lit’l Rodentia.”
This is another pic that was featured in the Little Rodentia Collection.

Shrew Chase (Concept Art) by @ByronPHoward
Source [18]
Pretty much self explanatory, this one.  It’s one of the most popular of B.H.’s post movie-release Zootopia pics

Have an amazing summer by @ByronPHoward
Source [19]
Byron Howard is great at this kind or artwork

Just for fun, #kawaii Nick & Judy by @ByronPHoward
Source [20]

signature cards I did for someone 🙂 by @ByronPHoward
Source [21]
“CONGRATS EVERYONE on an amazing Zootopia opening weekend!”
(From 2016)

Opening Weekend Congrats by @ByronPHoward
Source [22]
No, that doesn’t mean if you send him a drawing, you’ll get one back

A fan sent me a drawing, so I sent one back. by @ByronPHoward
Source [23]
“Piece I did for Disney storyartist Fawn Veerasunthorn.”
“(Her work: here,  )”

No Sweat by @ByronPHoward
Source [24]
“Couldn’t let my friend’s bday go by without a wish from Nick & Judy! Happy Birthday, Kido!”
I confess to having once rather shamelessly modified this picture to show Judy about to step on a banana peel. (Don’t hate me, I was on painkillers at the time.)

Happy Birthday by @ByronPHoward
Source [25]
“I did this special Zootopia Tangled Bolt thank you for my friend, LePrinceKido,
 who loves all the heroines :)”

Tangled Zootopia by @ByronPHoward
Source [26]
“A piece I did…to thank Korean movie-goers seeing Zootopia after 2 million viewers :)”

To Korea by @ByronPHoward
Source [27]
“The drawing I did for Shakira -She is a delight to work with, the perfect Gazelle”
I think this is the only Gazelle solo pic I’ve ever seen by Byron Howard.

Gazelle BH by @ByronPHoward
Source [28]
A pic Byron Howard did while on a promo tour of Japan, April 2016.

Happy Golden Week Japan by @ByronPHoward
Source [29]
“In honor of Zootopia in Japan: I was asked to Zootopify 2 of MezamashiTV’s stars!”

MezaMashi by @ByronPHoward
Source [30]
Love this one.
“Another piece they asked me to do for Zootopia in China. During Lantern Festivals, kids often carry rabbit lanterns.”

Lantern Festival – China by @ByronPHoward
Source [31]
“Early vis dev image exploring Zootopia families.”

Tiger Mom by @ByronPHoward
Source [32]
“The Zootopia/Baymax mashup piece I did for the China Zootopia campaign …made into a poster.”

China Zootopia mashup by @ByronPHoward
Source [33]
Poster Text: translated:
          Brought to you by the Oscar-Winning Producers of Big Hero 6
       A hug from Baymax can turn even natural enemies into partners!
(Left) Nick Wilde the fox 
(Right) Judy Hopps the bunny
   4th of March, 2016 (Friday)  In sync with North American theaters!
       Prepare to be overwhelmed by laughter in a cinema near you!
(Special thanks to the ZNN translation team.)

“Réalisateurs & toute l’équipe de Zootopie remercient beaucoup Annecy!”
(Directors & the whole team of Zootopie thank Annecy very much!)

Merci, Annecy by @ByronPHoward
Source [34]

“Early Zootopia beatboard…it’s almost like Nick is waiting for something…”

Nick is waiting by @ByronPHoward
Source [35]
“Zootopia at the Oscars. Pun Credit: Jared Bush.”
This is a good example of how much Mr. Howard’s Zootopia artworks has evolved from the early beatboard days.

#Zootopia at the #Oscars by @ByronPHoward
Source [36]

“Zootopia Story Dept had me do their shirt 2 show the enormous amount of work they do.”

197136 Story Panels by @ByronPHoward
Source [37]
“The Zootopia animation crew put my dailies drawings on their crew shirt… Flattered!”

Crew Shirt by @ByronPHoward
Source [38]

“1 of my early Nick & Judy sketches from (2012)…amazing 2 finally see movie materialize.”

Early Nick and Judy by @ByronPHoward
Source [39]

“A Zootopia thank you from Flash, to someone who helped me with my guitar :)”

Old Slow Paw by @ByronPHoward
Source [40]

“Piece I did a while back for Leah Latham, dear friend & voice of Fru Fru in Zootopia.”

FruStewardess by @ByronPHoward
Source [41]
“Another drawing I did for a meet-n-greet last week…”
(This was April 2017)

BH Nick by @ByronPHoward
Source [42]

“Friend request/present.”

BH Judy by @ByronPHoward
Source [43]

“Artwork I did for Shelby as a thank you for all her support of Zootopia. :)”

Peacenick and Judy by @ByronPHoward
Source [44]

“Honorary Zootopification. Thanks Elon, for sharing the Zootopia / Sloth photo.”

Elon Musk-Ox by @ByronPHoward
Source [45]
“In honor of the 2nd Anniversary of Zootopia’s U.S. release, posting this detail from a thank-you piece I did for Cat Stevens, who mentioned Judy’s speech on stage as a lead-in to Peace Train. Two years later, this quote seems more appropriate than ever.”

Two years later, this quote seems more appropriate than ever. by @ByronPHoward
Source [46]
Here is the performance of Peace Train Byron Howard was talking about.
Music and Lyrics by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens.)  

Until next time…


  1. Probably gonna have to come back to this page for references…that early version of Finnick is ADORABLE!
    *runs and hides before the little guy finds me for that comment*
    Also, the bat is pretty distinct in that one sketch; no rabbit has a nose flap like that (and no, it's not a side shot of glasses frames).

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