mirko hanak 1

12 12 2010

MIRKO HANAK, another master-illustrator from the czech republik, was born in 1921 in prague. his amazing watercolors are a cross between chinese traditional watercolors, the minimalist japanese painting-style and the czech rich culture in illustration. hanak was famous for his distinctive illustrations with natural themes, portraying life of plants and animals with broad watercolor strokes mixed with beautifully balanced finer brushwork on rice paper, all that in stunning compositions and colors full of life. his work includes children books like BAMBI as well as exquisite stamp-designs. he died at the height of his career in 1971 from leukemia.

© mirko hanak



5 responses

12 12 2010

Wow, these works are simply mind-blowing! Though this is exactly the kind of art I adore, I knew nothing about this artist, thank you so much for bringing him up.

12 12 2010
Ernesto Melo

I agree, Hans! Thanks so much! Yesterday night I began “googling” him, there was a lot of material, and suddenly I found this gem on the online book of Gene Deitch: “Mirko Hanák produced many character model studies, a few watercolor paintings, and a 775-drawing full-color storyboard for Charlotte’s Web before his tragic death, still in his prime. He was a master draughtsman, and simply “wrote” the drawings with a flow-pen.”
And this the link with many pages dedicated to his work on that project:

from hans –
thank you ernesto, what a find. I had no idea! the sketches are beautiful, but I think they would not have worked in a feature film. nice drawn animals are not enough, they need personality. and besides that, his watercolor style could not have been animated in his original style. studio shanghai did that in a watercolor-style animation in THE BOY AND THE WATERBUFFALO, but it was a short and only worked by reducing the background information, since the BG had to be on cel on top of the watercolor paper-animation. today with CG and all our incredible technology it would be possible, but still, there is the lack of personality in the characters.

13 12 2010
David Coffin

Stunning, thanks!

13 12 2010
Otto Westerlundh

Aweseome, really beautiful!

23 04 2012

As it happens, I was one person attempting to employ Mirko Hanak to design an animation film. In fact Hanak did his very last work for me, tragically dying as he finished 775 magnificent full color storyboard images for my proposed production of E.B.White’s story, CHARLOTTE’S WEB. With his seat, it was impossible to proceed. In full realization of the difficulties mentioned in Ernesto Melo’s message above, I believe I had a way to basically capture
Hanak’s graphics. As I write this, I am in the process of scanning the entire
“Charlotte’s Web” storyboard, visualizing my screenplay script, and I will be making it public soon on my blog at genedeitchcredits.com

Gene Deitch

from hans –
thank you very much for the info, gene. and very nice to meet me this way. I only met your wife in prague in the early eighties while being involved in some german tv-production. please say hi to her. can’t wait for your charlotte’s webb visuals. all my best

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