study 22214

22 02 2014



27 11 2013

additional to the long overdue DREAM WORLDS 2 I have started to work on a sketchbook, what will be finished earlier – probably sometime early next year. the first about 100 pages are already layouted, I am not quite sure how many pages the book will have in the end. it is quite time-consuming to go through thousands of sketches in my archives and select the right ones for the book. in this ‘only’ black/white sketchbook I want to concentrate on composition studies, since there is apparently the biggest interest, from what I know through my students. below some of the finished double pages, the format will be the same as DREAM WORLDS.

sketchbook pages 11-2013

© hans p bacher

roger broders

27 06 2013

he was the master of french travel posters, promoting early tourist destinations especially the beaches at the côte d’azur and the skiiing resorts in the french alps. ROGER BRODERS, 1883 – 1953, was a french illustrator who created a very distinctive graphic style in his work – overall about 100 posters – with simple lines and bold, flat areas of color. influenced by the CUBISTS, KANDINSKY, SEVERINI and DELAUNAY he designed masterful settings in his always evocative compositions. his motives ranged from the regions of alsace lorraine, vichy + jura down the rhone river into bourgogne and the french alps ( some of his most famous tourism posters were mountain and ski scenes in and around chamonix and mont blanc ), leading to the south of france, the colorful locations of marseilles, hyeres, sainte maxim, grasse, antibes, villefranche, monte carlo and menton. even today his work is still popular and lithographs of his posters are being sold.
ROGER BRODERS fully dedicated himself to poster art from 1920 to 1932 – interesting is the development of similar background-styles in animation around the same time, especially in the silly symphonies after the introduction of color in disney films in 1932. and – look at MARY BLAIR’S designs, she was a big fan of swiss graphic design and knew for sure BRODERS art as well. it’s a small world…

broders 1
broders 2
broders 3

© roger broders

studies 2.11.13

11 02 2013

readability 2

study 12-12-12

12 12 2012

an interesting day today, number-combination wise! within the last two weeks I did hundreds of sketches for the new book, studies in composition in general. and looking back I can see how much I learned from every single one. below are a few

studies 12-12a
studies 12-12b

study 12312

3 12 2012

studies 12-3-12

bleached sunset

3 05 2012

…from the book

moments 20

3 04 2012

compiled from some of my favorite commercials these captured moments are meant to be for your inspiration in every visual aspect, especially composition and color.


17 12 2011

another one for the book


1 11 2011

…from the book

© bilderfabrik

wilhelm m.busch 23

30 09 2011

WILHELM M.BUSCH created the illustrations below between 1961 and 1967. I selected some of my favorite drawings from an exhibition catalogue to show you a bit more detail in a much higher resolution. the technique he used was pencil, pen and ink and ballpointpen.

© wilhelm m.busch

color study 1151

14 05 2011


17 11 2010

MR.ARKADIN, released between 1955 in spain, 1956 in germany and 1962 in the US, is another one of my favorite ORSON WELLES films. he directed the film, but was ( uncredited ) responsible as well for the art direction, costume design and editing. the cinematography in this black/white thriller is by JEAN BOURGOIN. below are some captured scenes to show you the incredible use of the camera, and some of the unusual compositions throughout the whole film.

© orson welles

wilhelm m.busch 14

31 10 2010

the famous french writer EMILE ZOLA wrote a twenty-volume series – LES ROUGON-MACQUART, L’ASSOMMOIR was the seventh novel published 1877. with merciless detail ZOLA creates an overwhelming dark painting and an uncompromising study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of paris in the late 1900s. the title refers to a shop selling cheap liquor distilled on the premises. there is no english translation for this title, that’s why several related titles like THE GIN PALACE, THE DRUNKARD or even in german DER TOTSCHLAEGER ( the killer ) were published. the following masterfull illustrations are from WILHELM M.BUSCH, published 1975 in the BERTELSMANN edition, ballpoint pen on paper.

© wilhelm m.busch / bertelsmann reinhard mohn verlag

the stranger

30 10 2010

THE STRANGER, released may 25, 1946, is a visually very interesting film, full with stunning camera-angles, very effective use of light/shadow and just masterpiece picture compositions. directed by ORSON WELLES, cinematography by RUSSELL METTY and music by BROWNISLAW KAPER, it stars ORSON WELLES ( franz kindler/professor charles rankin ), EDWARD G.ROBINSON ( mr. wilson ) and LORETTA YOUNG ( mary longstreet rankin ).

a short synopsis – mr.wilson, a united nations nazi hunter, is on the trail of franz kindler, mastermind of the holocaust, who has taken on a new identity as a professor in harper, connecticut and marrying mary longstreet. wilson releases kindler’s former compatriot meinike and follows him to harper, where he is killed before he can identify kindler. now wilson’s only clue is kindler’s fascination with antique clocks.

© RKO pictures

classic 4

13 01 2010

following are three paintings of three very important painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. I tried to analyze their composition in these paintings, that’s what all the colored geometrical lines and shapes are for.

WILLIAM-ADOLPHE BOUGUEREAU, 1825 – 1905, is probably one of the greatest academic painters. comparing him with REMBRANDT it is said that REMBRANDT captured the soul of age, BOUGUEREAU captured the soul of youth. one of the largest body of work ever produced by any artist was created by him. he was arguably the greatest painter of the human figure in all of art history, his figures come to life like no previous artist has ever before or ever since achieved. not that he wasn’t just the best ever at painting human anatomy, more importantly he captured the tender and subtlest nuances of personality and mood. during his later years and the evolving impressionist era critics called him old-fashioned, a competent technician stuck in the past.

ANNE-LOUIS GIRODET DE ROUSSY-TRIOSON, 1767 – 1824, was a french painter and pupil of JACQUES-LOUIS DAVID. as one of the leaders of NEOCLASSICISM he was much admired by the painters of the ROMANTIC MOVEMENT, since he was adding elements of eroticism through his paintings. he is mostly remembered for his precise and clear style and for his paintings of the NAPOLEON family.

JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE, 1848 – 1917, was an english PRE-RAPHAELITE painter, who portrayed the female nude as the ultimate and natural aesthetic. this painting HYLAS AND THE NYMPHS from 1896 brings to life a version of the greek myth, JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. hylas, a companion of hercules, is seduced by a group of sea-nymphs who eventually drag him into the sea water with them.

© bouguereau / girodet / waterhouse


3 01 2010

disney’s – LADY AND THE TRAMP, released july 1955.
 the first of very few CINEMASCOPE films the studio would produce in the years to come. 
in the cinemascope format a single background is already 
impressive, but when you look at the enormous length of 
pan-BG’s you are speechless. it is very interesting the way
 the camera was used in this format, the character always
leads the camera-action. that means, a character starts to
 move first, then the camera follows moving in the same 
direction later. the format is so big that in some of the 
scenes a camera movement was not even necessary, the 
characters have enough room for their movements sideways. 
close-ups are more critical. in a normal head-shot you still
 have a lot of ‘empty’ space next to the character. it must 
have been a very intense learning experience for the layout 
team that was used to deal with 3:4 normal size formats 
over all these years. cinemascope means a format 1 : 2, you have to 
compose a scene a lot different in that stretched size.

you have to see the original backgrounds, there are
 fortunately a lot of them left in the disney archives. 
they look so loosely painted, created by absolute 
professionals. the style is close to realism, with a
 simplified ‘disney’ touch. but the painters were so 
skillful after all the movies behind them, that their 
work looks effortless. very rough brushstrokes when
 you look close, but from a distance all these strokes 
reveal something new, like in a matte painting. I would 
want to show you more, but I don’t know where to 
start. and all my recreations are not even halfway 
close to what the real, the original painting looks like.
 hopefully there will be a publication with all these 
masterpieces in the future… 
besides the beautiful look of the backgrounds they 
are just perfect as what they are – the stage. the 
characters work so well in front of them. the color-
balance is incredible. very different from another 
one of my favorites a few years later – SLEEPING 
BEAUTY, where the BG.s are such incredible art-
pieces by themselves, that you are most of the time 
overwhelmed by the look and can not follow the
 most beautiful animation. here in LADY AND THE
TRAMP you get just enough detail to know what 
you need to know, it is never confusing or over-
whelming, – until you see the ORIGINALS!

the BG-artists – 
 but the layout crew was equally important – 
 what a team!

NANCY BEIMANN wrote in her comment – 
KEN O’CONNOR told me that this was one of the hardest projects he ever did, since LADY was released in SCOPE in only a few theatres; the majority of the prints had standard screen ratio. this meant that all his layouts had to have the main action take place in the centre of the screen, with unimportant stuff on the sides. but he had to keep the sides active and interesting for the widescreen version. the scope-version noticeably slows down the camera moves. if you run the RAT FIGHT sequence at standard ratio, the camera moves are fast and dramatic. they are leisurely, almost a drift, in the widescreen version of the same shots. you also see more of the rat at the beginning of the sequence. with the standard version, suspense is stronger since you see the rat enter the shots much later on.

 O’CONNOR had characters moving through the frame or toward the camera to help shots work in two formats. and he actually built those victorian houses in the studio woodshop.

 other sequences of the film are more static and sometimes show their technique when dealing with the two format layout. In the BELLA NOTTE sequence, watch for the cook stepping out the door, then rapidly stepping to screen left so that he doesn’t leave centre frame. It looks a little strange in the widescreen version.

© disney enterprises, inc

analysis 2

15 12 2009

some more about composition. I analyzed an establishing shot from disney’s MICKEY AND THE BEANSTALK, the scene where the three adventurerers see the castle in the clouds for the first time. it is a beautiful shot, perfectly balanced.

the composition grid with golden section markers

the values – lights and darks

the primary colors

and the final shot

and two more examples for basic composition from disney’s BAMBI.

© disney enterprises, inc

analysis 1

4 12 2009

this is the first of a series of new posts where I try to analyse animation backgrounds by their composition elements. it is in a way going backwards to the point where the layout artist started to plan the scene all the way to the selection of the right colors. here now the first example broken down into these steps. I chose one of my favorite pan background from disney’s BAMBI. the BG is a recreation using screen captures from the DVD release. the original BG does not exist anymore.

recreated background


values – distribution of darks/lights

dynamics/basic composition

basic primary colors

visible framing + composition

© disney enterprises, inc


12 11 2009

the following captured images are from a masterpiece of filmmaking, SERGEI EISENSTEINS’S - IVAN THE TERRIBLE. with a very powerful musical soundtrack composed by SERGEI PROKOFIEV, the first part was released in the soviet union in 1944, the second part in 1958. the historical epic black/white film about zsar IVAN IV of russia was planned as a trilogy, but EISENSTEIN died in 1948 before the film could be finished. tragic is additional that due to political censorship part 2 was not released until 1958. and all footage of the 3. part was confiscated after EISENSTEIN’S death and most of it destroyed. the visuals are stunning, incredible compositions and very effective use of light and shadow as you can see in the scenes below.

ivan comp blog


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