seasons in art 1

29 06 2013

art logo 2

seasons 1





moments 21

1 06 2012

…just doors. closed.





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 10.4

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.







the rat catcher

4 10 2011

based on a medieval german fairy tale THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN czechoslovak film director JIRI BARTA produced in 1986 the 53 min long puppet-animated movie THE PIED PIPER ( ‘Krysař’ in czech, what means THE RAT CATCHER ). the whole jiří trnka studio KRATKY FILM was involved in what was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of Czech animation. research and preproduction time took six months, the filming with puppets up to 60 cm tall one year. barta’s ‘horror’-film creates a striking contrast to the disney version of the pied piper legend as a children’s comedy, his fascinating metaphor for a society focused on material demands comes to life in a very artistic style, heavily influenced by german expressionistic painters like EMIL NOLDE, MAX BECKMANN, ERICH HECKEL, CARL HOFER, ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER, MAX PECHSTEIN, KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF and KAETHE KOLLWITZ – but as well by medieval wooden sculpture artists like JOERG SYRLIN, HANS MULTSCHER and TILMAN RIEMENSCHNEIDER. interesting is the similarity in the tilted angles and twisted shapes in the environment of the 1920 silent horror film THE CABINET OF DR.CALIGARI directed by ROBERT WIENE. below some of the stylized sets of the puppet-animated film and the reference art that was probably used.





…following a collection of reference art that could have been used



© kratky film prague





style 10.1

12 09 2011

it is a challenge to develop a special style for an illustration, an animated movie or just a character. the goal is to create something that nobody has done before. for that reason and of course for inspiration I recommend to gather all reference that is available. usually the amount of information we have is not sufficient, information not just about the designwork in illustration and film of the past few years, but information about what has been created in ‘the arts’ over the past 12.000 years. starting with the cave paintings of lascaux, early highly stylized egyptian art as well as greek- and roman sculptures and mosaics, and the whole medieval art from byzanthine to gothic. further in more recent centuries baroque, rokoko, romanticism, impressionism, art nouveau, expressionism and of course all the modern art of the past 70 years. not to forget russian-, oriental-, persian- and indian-, southern american-, african-, eskimo- and aborigine art.


the knowledge about all these different ‘styles’ is helpful. in the past it was pretty difficult if not impossible to find all the right publications or visit enough museums to study the vast amount of art that has been created all over the world. today it is much easier to research through the internet, with a bit detective work everybody interested enough can do it.


most of the above compiled artwork in figurative art was created over the past 500 years. the series will be continued, I want to concentrate on some more unusual and lesser known art. hopefully that will encourage you to start your own archives.





cloudy

21 08 2011

some cloud-reference from paintings and photographs, you never know when you need some…





balto reference

18 01 2011

here is some of the reference for BALTO. I collected hours of TV-reference about alaska and snow landscapes in general, analyzed them all and printed hundreds of color-videoprints. a selection is below, as well as some of my designs for the aurora borealis in wolf-shape for the ending of the film.



© amblin / universal pictures





more poortvliet

7 11 2010

about two years ago I posted the first illustrations of the dutch master-painter/illustrator RIEN POORTVLIET ( here ), here now is some more. from his books HET BRIESCHEND PAARD, 1978 van holkema & warendorf bussum publ. and LANGS HET TUINPAD VAN MIJN VADEREN, 1987 uigeversmaatschappij j.h.kok kampen publ. the first is just about horses, the other about rien’s family’s history going back to the 1600s. both books like all of his other publications beautifully illustrated in every single technique and style you can think of.









© rien poortvliet / van holkema & warendorf bussum publ./ uigeversmaatschappij j.h.kok kampen publ.





rowland hilder

10 09 2010

he was described as THE TURNER OF HIS GENERATION, – ROWLAND HILDER, 1905 – 1993. you probably see the similarity between HILDER’S landscapes and the backgrounds in disney’s 101 DALMATIANS, together with RONALD SEARLE his artwork was used for inspiration. HILDER was born in long island in the US, but returned with his parents in 1915 to england, where he lived most of his life in a kentish country village. he illustrated numerous books and was a professor at goldsmith’s college school of art. someone described his style and technique as so recognisable that there are parts of England which, in tribute to his skill, seem to have grown physically like his paintings. he shares with JOHN CONSTABLE the distinction of having seen an entire region of England identified with his name and art. The description ROWLAND HILDER COUNTRY evokes a landscape as distinctive as CONSTABLE’S COUNTRY along the Suffolk Stour. That is as generous a tribute as any man could wish.









© rowland hilder





moments 14

19 08 2010

…compiled from commercials and music-clips from the eighties and nineties





moments 13

5 08 2010





style 9.1

6 07 2010

EYVIND EARLE explained how he found the style for disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY, a combination of medieval gothic art with persian miniatures mixed with his own vision. it is very interesting to look at the different animated films of the past and analyze their style development. their designers were of course influenced by the different arts of their time, some had their own style and used it for the look of the films they worked on. but a few of these artists wanted to create a style that fit the story and the culture where it took place. naturally they used elements of existing arts from these cultures and mixed them with interesting other ingredients. it shows that most of them had a good knowledge of art in general, a lot did some extensive research.

the disney studio had for that reason a huge library that still exists, the WDI research library. I spent hours there and found copies of all existing art- and design-magazines from their first edition on from all over the world. tall shelves filled with the swiss GRAPHIS magazines, the english PUNCH, the german NOVUM, all NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC editions, the american old LIFE magazine, specialized magazines about painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, fashion. then in a different room the vast collection of reference books, thousands! there was even a ‘cut-out’-archives, personal collections of artists who gave them to the library. it was like being in heaven! you could spend hours. and going through the books you could find the disney-designers names with the dates when they borrowed the books from the library. when I visited the library I was usually alone, not too many artists used the chance and the offer of all these treasures.

it is easier today to get some of that information through the internet, but – you have to know what you are looking for. to give you some ideas I chose as a start one theme – TREES – and followed their very different styling through the arts. in the compilation below I mixed very different films from different studios and from different years to show the incredible variety of styles. in the next posts I will analyze where some of these looks were borrowed from.


© disney enterprises, inc • richard williams animation • miyazaki • UPA





sullivant

10 06 2010

T.S.SULLIVANT, 1854 – 1926, is probably one of the most important cartoonists in the history of this medium. I am sure you all have seen some of his work, and you might know how important he was for the development of cartoon characters in animation. his very unique style of anthropomorphism has been the inspiration for numerous character designers in animation and comic strip artists around the world. sullivant began to work cartooning professionally at the age of 32. his drawings appeared in the LIFE and PUCK magazines during the 1890s, later in 1904 he signed an exclusive contract with WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST. from 1911 until his death he continued to work for LIFE magazine. I have selected some of my favorite cartoons below.













© t.s.sullivant








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