style 8.3

25 06 2010





I have seen and studied the film SLEEPING BEAUTY many times. there is not one background-painting that is not on style, has not enough, too much or the wrong detail. the film is in superwidescreen ( super technirama 70, that is a 70mm filmformat ) and the composition in every single scene is a masterpiece. not one part of the entire movie is colorwise out of place, everywhere the characters read perfect in their environment, and – these characters are all painted on cels, with matching color-outlines.



today it is so easy to color-correct digital images. imagine the challenge in the mid-fifties, imagine multi-layered multiplane scenes, where the character-colors had to be adjusted to the amount and green-shading of the glass layers in front. it is hard to believe, that all these visuals look flawless, perfectly controlled. and I am not even talking about the numerous background painters, who had to follow the style that EYVIND EARLE had developed.



he first needed to come up with a look and to paint all possible different locations in the film to give examples of the look of wood, stone, foilage, grass, rocks, trees, metal, pottery and more, so the team could follow and copy his style. I am sure he painted some hundred backgrounds. I know that he had an incredible knowledge of art-history, he knew paintings and styles from all over the world. without a knowledge like that you could not have the idea what different artforms to combine. these ingredients can be from areas far away, time- and locationwise. imagine – to mix medieval, gothic art from the 13th century with little details of persian-, japanese- and indian art, to create a forest that reminds you of the interior of a cathedral, and the grass fields of ancient tapestries.


some critics say the backgrounds are overpowering, dominate the look of the film. not for me. I think it is the perfect balance of a fantastic fairytale world, an operastage with flawless characterdesigns and animation. a true masterpiece and a piece of art that you won’t find anymore nowadays.


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5 responses

25 06 2010
Jeremy F.

Thanks for posting this. Eyvind Earle is one of my favorite painters. His designs and color still astound me. I saw the film Sleeping Beauty when I was a child and I was really blown away by the detail and (it’s hard to find the right words) just the epic grandness of it all. I’ve returned to this film many times now and have relished every piece of it. I’m not sure you agree, but this film seems to prove that there is a great horizon of design in animation that could be still explored in animation…not necessarily just the “simple is more” philosophy. With many animated films, I kind of swallow it all the first time and get it completely. I think the great thing about Sleeping Beauty is that you can return to it again and again and get something new each time. You can watch it once for the characters, once for the background, once for the colors, etc, etc and yet it still works great all together:) I really love it when a film has that much depth and doesn’t “dumb down” for the audience. Thanks again for posting these. (By the way, if anyone is interested, Eyvind Earle’s book of paintings in his later years is available on Amazon. It’s quite astounding:)

25 06 2010
j.etienne

from so many influences he succeded to assimilate all in one unique style.
Beeing a cultured BG artist is a bonus for quality.

25 06 2010
Cat B.

What strikes me about these images is that every one of them is something that I’d be proud to have hanging on my wall as art. To have not only the consistency of style but having that consistency of quality is amazing. That film, and Eyvind’s backgrounds, is a visual masterpiece.

from hans –
that’s what I wanted to document, – quality! because I am afraid it is getting lost.

26 06 2010
Aaron Spurgeon

Though Earle’s work for this movie was detailed well beyond the characters, one cant help but appreciate this particular contribution to animation. Simply fantastic.

7 07 2014
Bulletpoints: Maleficent | Practically Marzipan

[…] It is still not as pretty as the original. […]

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