Variety posted a fascinating and rare portrait of Annie Award winner Nicolas Marlet, who DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg approved as the single designer to create all the characters’ looks in the upcoming Kung Fu Panda. Nicolas explains among other things that his biggest challenge on the movie was the character of Viper, voiced by Lucy Liu. “What am I going to do with a snake? A snake is just a tube. There was a photograph of this girl, and her back was entirely covered in tattoos.” So he applied the idea to Viper, devising an intricate pattern for her back. “I love Chinese writing, so I thought it would be nice to have the symbols tell a poem.” Although the concept provided a welcome alternative to costuming the unwieldy character, abstract symbols eventually replaced the runes on Viper’s back. “I did many pages with her, and on one of them people could read the poetry,” Nicolas says. The concept did survive with Mantis, however, whose markings reveal the familiar Chinese sign for good luck. For more on Kung Fu Panda visit the film’s official website.