robert cottingham

5 09 2013

ROBERT COTTINGHAM was born in 1935 in brooklyn. in the late sixties he was member of a group that became well known as the PHOTO-REALISTS, as a reaction against ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM. cottingham documented urban signage, especially colorful advertising billboards, with his camera and transferred the images into meticulous paintings and prints. I am fascinated by his work – see yourself, some of his artwork below

1.004 1973 Hot lithograph 53.3 x 53 cm
039 1991 Don't Walk metal relief print 23.8 x 51.1 cm
2.001 1975 Tattoo lithograph 86.4 x 86.4 cm
4.07 2009 An American Alphabet G lithograph 78.1 x 52.7 cm
5.022 1979 The Spot oil on canvas 81.3 x 81.3 cm
6.023 1985 Star lithograph 54.9 x 53.9 cm
7.056 1988 Barber Shop oil on canvas 81.3 x 81.3 cm
2009.3.8 002
10.041 1985 Rialto hand-coloured lithograph 45.7 x 45.7 cm
11.24a 1973 Fox lithograph 53.1 x 53.3 cm
12.052 1988 Santa Fe woodcut on paper 77.2 x 77.8 cm
13.059 1989 Blues aquatint on paper 25.7 x 45.7 cm
14.061 1989 Frankfurters-Hamburgers, from the Cottingham Suite lithograph 26.7 x 26.7 cm
15.063 1991 Nite woodcut on paper 127 x 92.7 cm
gary 3.tif
17.118 2012 Empire IV oil on canvas 122 x 244 cm

© robert cottingham

I wanna thank BILL PECKMAN for introducing me to the artist and
POUL WEBB for his fantastic BLOG

color 1.1

19 04 2012

the choice of the right color seems to be a challenge, that’s at least what I hear from a lot of my students. of course you can trust your intuition or get inspired by the right music, but I think it might be safer to collect enough information, in this case – visual reference. maybe you have enough photos in your archives to choose from, but in any case you can find everything and fast on the internet. as an example I picked the theme WINTER.

when I did the production design for BALTO I had to do a lot of research about alaska, snow covered mountains and deep forests, whatever I could find about the cold northern winter. without checking photographic- or art-reference you probably would go for a lot of white with some greyish-blue colors. in case of BALTO we wanted to avoid that cold color-range as often as possible. the white with blue color combination feels cold and you don’t want your audience to start freezing.
when you look at the collected photos you will find blue as the dominant color, but as well a lot of other balancing colors you could use to go into a different warmer range.

in the second big compilation you can study a wide range of artwork from around the world and from over the last two hundred years covering the same theme. here as well the color choices of the different artists were not just blues and greys. you can check that very well in my color-picks.

that is how I usually start, in case I need to come up with a color script. you select all the colors from whatever reference you use and then condense the color-picks to the range that fits your storyline the best, and – you choose colors harmonizing with each other. according to the story you are working on, a lot more goes into the choice of the right color, especially in your color script, where you need to translate the development of the drama and illustrate the mood. in some cases your story in the climax part of the film might need even in a winter snowy environment completely different colors, colors that symbolise the idea and not the reality.

style 10.5.3

25 03 2012

more stylistic variations, looking at people in ART

style 10.5.2

9 03 2012

some more people in art…

style 10.5.1

22 02 2012

I continue with the STYLE-series, this time with PEOPLE IN ART. it is amazing to see such a variety in styles to portray the human figure over the last few centuries in painting alone…

style 10.4

10 10 2011

storytelling and the visual arts are very close connected. look at the stories on the walls of the caves of lascaux. or most religious art throughout the middle ages, like the illuminated manuscripts or the stained glass windows of the christian cathedrals. art helps us to perceive aspects of reality we could not see otherwise. a chinese proverb says – one picture is worth ten thousand words, or – what ivan s.turgenev wrote 1862 in his novel ‘fathers and sons’ – ‘the drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book.’
in the compilation of artwork below I have collected some stories from all over the world. note besides the content their composition, the way the artists lead your eyes through their story. and study how the color is used to support the atmosphere, to help the viewer develop an emotional feeling.

style analysis 2

22 03 2011

it is obvious that we are surrounded by different styles, just look around. there is the latest fancy mobile phone, the new haircut of a friend, the look of an ‘in’-magazine. even more so when we look around in our cities, – architecture, sportscars, the latest fashion. in museums or books we can get familiar with styles developing over the centuries, and in movies we are confronted with phantastic looks of the future. we are constantly influenced by these images and they affect our own visual ideas.
as I wrote in the first chapter, I am interested in my field – the design in animation – in the creation process of the most stunning styles in some of the films in the past and will try to analyze and document how the artists who were involved worked.

style analysis 1

8 03 2011

I had some STYLE-posts a little while ago. this now is the start of a general analysis of STYLE in ANIMATION in several chapters and probably the early beginning of a new book.
you can find STYLE-trends everywhere – in fashion, car-designs, modern architecture, fancy food in expensive restaurants, in art of course, painting, sculpture, graphic-art, typography, film and in lifestyles. it is everywhere. we are surrounded by them and we get influenced by them. in this new series I want to concentrate on ANIMATION and specifically on the look-development of some animated feature films and shorts. in most of these works the backgrounds define the look more than the characters. who developed and designed them and how did these artists get their ideas? what influenced them in their time, what of their work was and still is used today, and has been further developed, influenced again by more modern trends.
this is of course an important subject for me, since I have to come up with new looks as a production designer all the time. I want to talk as well about the process how to find a style and about the different ingredients.

here first some examples of very different styles in animation…

…to be continued.

all artwork and text is copyrighted by HANS P BACHER, unless otherwise attributed to the respective copyright owner. it is illegal to publish, print or use in any other manner any such artwork or text without the written permission by the artist or copyright owners.
© disney enterprises, inc / WB / universal pictures / paramount / hubley / lenica / studio zagreb / UPA

style 9.3

11 07 2010

today I will compare the different looks of trees throughout the world of classical art over a period of about 600 years. when you look at these trees you have to separate the different elements – the ROOTS, the TRUNK and the CROWN. sometimes parts of the ROOTS are above of the earth and create nice curvy shapes against the usually pretty straight TRUNK. the TRUNK with its BARK can have a smooth or very textured surface. the CROWN is sometimes shown just as a shape or with the FOLIAGE, with all the different leaves on smaller branches. you have to differentiate as well if they are DECIDUOUS TREES ( leafs ), NEEDLE- or PINE-TREES or tropical PALM-TREES. then the SEASONS make a big difference, in shape and color. in winter you only see the tree skeleton in case of the leafy trees with a lot of thinner branches, in summer you have a big mass of foliage. in spring the leafy trees develop blossoms first, very important in japanese and chinese art. autumn adds some bright red, orange and sienna brown colors, spring shows juicy yellows and greens. as you can imagine and see in some of the paintings as well, all that creates already an incredible variety. the early paintings in the western world were done for religious reasons, the figures were more important. that’s why the backgrounds are more the idea of the environment. throughout the medieval times that changes, the worlds becomes more and more realistic. then in more modern years it develops again the other way, portraying and abstracting the idea of nature, this development is similar in all different cultures. the paintings I combined show you how rich our world of art is, how beautiful and very unique the artists from around the world and through times painted what they saw. this time I wanted to concentrate just on TREES, in some future chapters I will do the same with different elements.


20 01 2010

as you might know, I live now for the last seven years in manila, philippines. it is a very poor country that is struck by disasters regularly, like the major typhoons and the floodings last year, as well as the recent threat of an erupting volcano. nevertheless filippinos are very creative people, some very well known singers like LEA SALONGA are from here, one of the most famous comic strip artist ALEX NINO grew up here, and a very well known painter lives here and is still creating his beautiful art at over eighty years of age – MAURO ‘MALANG’ SANTOS was born 1928 in santa cruz, manila. he studied fine arts at the university of the philippines and at the otis art institute in L.A. 1947 he started to work as a layout artist at a daily manila newspaper, where he created the first english daily comic strip. he published over the following years several comic strip series. together with six artist friends he set up the first art gallery in manila in 1965. continous exhibitions of his paintings followed in manila and all over the philippines, as well as in london, rome, N.Y., san franzisco, hong kong and bahrain. his paintings are colorful and feature simplified forms, often portraying women in traditional dress with fruits in baskets. I love his work, it is a lot like this very colorful country with its spanish tradition mixed with the asian culture. following are some selected pieces of his art.

© malang

friday inspiration

17 04 2009

DALE NICHOLS, 1904 – 1995, was an american regional landscape artist, who illustarted a lot of books as well, some with woodcarvings. I accidentally found a few of his paintings years ago, and especially his snowy landscapes reminded me somehow of disney- and WB-short backgrounds of the forties and early fifties. maybe he influenced some of the designers.


© dale nichols


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