Inspiration and Design

The idea of the turtles was developed by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laid in 1983 during a brainstorming session. Eastman working as a short order cook/ part time artist and Laid a graphic illustrator were watching TV and drawing cartoons when Eastman came up with the initial drawing. It featured a bipedal turtle with nunchukus strapped to his arms calling it a “Ninja Turtle”, with Laid suggesting “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle”. They then came up with an origin story based on Frank Millers “Dare Devil” and “Ronin” and parodying other popular comics of the time including the “New Mutants” and “Cerebus” . Originally each turtle would have a different design  but they then settled on one design for all the turtles. They were designed with a humanoid appearance with 3 large fingers and a large shell and featuring a red bandanna, each turtle later having their own unique color, done to tell the turtles apart in animation. Each turtle was named after a renaissance artist and specialized in a particular weapon.


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