Creator Rick Suvalle shares exclusive concept art and talks about the new season of his 3DCG preschool series about a tiny fairy family of ‘Dew Drops’ turning everyday challenges into extraordinary adventures; 12 all-new episodes debut today, December 4, on Netflix.
Since the Season 1 release of Dew Drop Diaries, creator Rick Suvalle has received numerous videos from parents of their children building their own tony fairy houses, hoping to entice any Dew Drops passing by to take up residence on their patio, porch, or windowsill. And adoration for the show’s first 28 episodes has fueled Suvalle’s excitement for his show’s Season 2 release of 12 all-new episodes today, Monday, December 4, on Netflix.
“It warms my heart,” admits Suvalle, referring to the fan mail he’s received for the show. “My daughters, who were very young when I first started this journey, are much older now, but also appreciate it. Even my 15-year-old, who tends to grumble and go into her room and put on her headphones, will put on Netflix, and let it run on autoplay in her room so that the show gets more views.”
Suvalle’s DreamWorks Animation series, about a trio of three fairies called “Dew Drops,” who look after their human families with stealth and secrecy, enters its second season with new characters, new powers, and new adventures. Amidst their efforts to help perfect a magic show for the kids, find all the ingredients for a special recipe, or locate a missing toy, the tiny but mighty Dew Drops – Eden (Scarlett Estevez), Athena (ViviAnn Yee), and Phoebe (Sydney Mikayla) – are visited by their “Glitter Guide” Willow (Brec Bassinger) and get one step closer to a new level of Dew Drop: "Floaters," graduating to a brand new level of fairy-bility!
“It’s hard to do an official arc for this age group of viewers, but we set up that these three main fairies are in training in Season 1 and couldn't use their wings before, other than to flutter for brief periods,” explains Suvalle. “So, their previous category was ‘flutters,’ now, in this new season, they become ‘floaters.’ One day, if we get another season, they'll become ‘fliers,’ and maybe we'll get to explore more locations, see what the Dew Drops would be like inside a mall or a school, and maybe we can get a glimpse of the fairy world.”
He continues, “But, for now, the Dew Drops are enjoying new perspectives in these upcoming episodes as they explore this new power with trial and error.”
Though the Dew Drop trio’s Glitter Guide Willow was introduced in the first season, the new episodes usher in plenty of other fresh fairy faces, including the first dude Dew Drop, Reed Basil (Aryan Simhadri).
“Reed turns out to be Athena's cousin, and he’s very silly and spry,” says Suvalle. “He hasn't been assigned a family yet, and he's always getting in trouble. His fairy ability is that he has a “super sniffer” and is often distracted by sweet smells of ice cream or any dessert going by. But of course, like the other Dew Drops, he has the best of intentions. And, because he hasn’t been assigned a family, he brings in a different perspective on things, which has been fun to explore.”
With Reed's character, Suvalle and his team are exploring new styles of animation, giving Reed more “jerky” movements to coincide with his exuberant personality. Reed’s hairstyle is also branching into new territory for the show’s color usage. Not unlike his cousin Athena, an audience favorite, Reed’s hair is a colorful feast for the eyes. But, instead of the colors being separated out into sections, Reed’s colorful coiffure is a seamless blend of blue and green.
It was one of the many triumphs of French animation studio TeamTO’s work on Dew Drop Diaries.
“I am so impressed with what TeamTO has done for us with this show,” says Suvalle. “Once we decided in the beginning that the Dew Drops would have different skin colors, we decided to give each character their own color palettes to distinguish them from each other. We wanted to highlight the unique gifts and personality of each Dew Drop, but then their palettes became the palettes of the world itself. TeamTO were fantastic partners in this process, and Aliki Theofilopoulos, who came in as an executive producer on the art side of things, really helped hone the looks and develop the final style.”
This is one of the reasons the aesthetics of the American apartments in the series is an unusual bubble gum wonderland of color, which, while notably popular with other DreamWorks kids’ series, isn’t exactly a commonplace look for apartments stateside. But it is in France.
“There’s a lot of French influence in the look of the entire show, but there's a very Parisian look to the city, especially,” notes Suvalle. “I originally based it on Boston because that’s where I’m from and I remember the first time we saw the design of the apartments; the refrigerator was as tall as my now 15-year-old to match what refrigerators are like in France. We changed that, of course. But we kept a lot of the other influences.”
Dew Drops’ style was inspired by more than just European architecture and vibrant decor. It was also molded out of the ideas presented to Suvalle by the initial artists recruited by DreamWorks to present ideas for what the characters and their world would look like.
“DreamWorks brought in a ton of people,” says Suvalle. “We had one artist figuring things out for the apartment balcony, another one for the fairy house, one for this fairy, another one for that fairy. And all the ideas they came up with were so different. It’s wild to see where we started and where we ended up, and how we somehow still managed to keep the spirit of each of those designs in the final product.”
Suvalle recalls actually presenting the different phases of the animation and design process to his oldest daughter’s high school animation class before the show came out.
“My oldest is actually interested in animation as a possible career now,” says Suvalle, whose two daughters – both with Type 1 diabetes – inspired the show to begin with, as he aimed to make a series that would teach kids facing daunting life challenges that nothing is impossible.
Dew Drops’ new Season 2-character Reed also continues the effort to provide a wide range of representation to kids of all ages, races, and genders.
“When American Girl Doll came out with a Type 1 diabetic doll, my daughters’ eyes went wide, and they were so excited that there was something that represented them,” recalls Suvalle. “That's the same microcosm we're trying to emulate with this show. We want all our viewers to see characters who look like them. Some of our fairies have different racial characteristics that they share with their families, along with their wild and fantastical fairy colors. The previous season had all-girl fairies, and we wanted to let our male audience members know that we see you and we welcome you.”
Though Season 3 hasn’t been confirmed for the show, Suvalle feels that this series’ journey is just getting started and has plenty more to offer to audiences, who continue to show the team their hunger for more fun-sized fairy adventures.
“I hope this show continues to become beloved,” shares Suvalle. “I really like where we've taken the second half in terms of being able to tell some bigger stories, and I hope we can continue to see these Dew Drops grow and grow with them ourselves, as creatives.”