NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Lipscomb University professor and former Disney animator is using his skills to capture what has been a momentous journey for the Tennessee Titans.
The team hired Tom Bancroft to illustrate cartoons for its social media every week. His design "Titan Man" is the subject of each drawing going head-to-head with the rival team of the week.
"I'll create a new illustration of the Titans going up against whoever they're going up against," Bancroft told NewsChannel 5. "I'm re-energized every time because they're going up against a new challenge and team."
It can take anywhere between six to eight hours coming up with the concept to finalizing the product. The illustrations show the Titans in a fun, colorful and powerful stature while getting to poke fun at the other team's mascot.
Bancroft has completed 17 illustrations in the regular so far with the help of his student Hayley Mullins. She is one of nearly 70 students in Lipscomb University's animation program under the College of Entertainment and the Arts. Bancroft would come up with the sketch and "ink" the lines in using a program on a tablet and Mullins completes it by coloring it in in what is a complex process.
"Seeing their [Tennessee Titans] journey from the beginning of the season to where they are now, it's really fun to be a part of it for sure," Mullins said.
Mullins is able experience real-life deadlines while being mentored by Bancroft, who has worked on several Disney films including designing Mushu on Mulan. Typically, Bancroft has the creative liberty to come up with several concepts before the team chooses one and provides suggestions.
Even though he calls it his version of trash talk, Bancroft has to work around one specific stipulation imposed by the Titans owner since most of the mascots are animals.
"She made a mandate we never hurt the animals, so we never show that," he said. "So, we've been very careful about that."
NewsChannel 5 was with Bancroft as he was in the middle of illustrating a cartoon showing the Titan Man as a giant getting ready to step on Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
He admits he was not a sports fan but is growing to appreciate the Titans thanks to the job. Surprisingly, fans thought his work was bad luck since the team performed poorly in the beginning, but they have come around.
So far there are no plans by the Titans to sell the designs as prints, but Bancroft hopes to animate it for future games.