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14 03 2014

below some illustrations JIRI TRNKA created in 1958 for a children book with 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS stories. the black/white ones are masterful pen+ink drawings.

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© jiri trnka

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13 09 2011

a beautiful JIRI TRNKA double page illustration from the book ‘boehmische sagen’.

© jiri trnka

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5 01 2011

JIRI TRNKA, the czech master of puppet-animation and children book illustration, created the artwork below. these beautiful colored pen and ink drawings are my favorite of his children book work. the book was published 1982 as LA CHAUMIERE EN PAIN D’EPICE by artia publishing prague and gruend publishing paris. ISBN 2-7000-1420-0

© jiri trnka

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10 08 2010

© jiri trnka

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11 02 2010

PARSIVAL – LOHENGRIN, written by GERHART HAUPTMANN was newly published in 1963 by the german ULLSTEIN verlag with illustrations JIRI TRNKA. they look like woodcuts, but TRNKA used a very oldfashioned positive/negative technique. I learned that unusual technique in school, – you have to scratch the white lines out of a painted black surface applied over a special prepared white first layer. in case you plan your illustration well you can place negative looking elements next to positive pen and ink drawn areas. today in photoshop it is less spectacular and much faster.

© jiri trnka / ullstein publishing

more jiri trnka

17 06 2009

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you might have noticed that JIRI TRNKA is one of my favorite artists. a while ago I posted some of his puppet animation artwork and a few children book illustrations. here is some more, a lot of his earlier work…

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© jiri trnka

jiri trnka

21 03 2009

besides all his puppet animation- and traditional animated films JIRI TRNKA illustrated numerous children books. I have at least 25 of his publications and they are all masterpieces. following just a few examples…





style 9.2

8 07 2010

continuing with the series TREES IN ART I show you in this chapter a selection of illustrations from children-books and comic-strips, covering a period of about one hundred years. from ARTHUR RACKHAM and KAY NIELSEN to artists I found in recent years through their blogs. RACKHAM and NIELSEN influenced the background style of the early animated films, NIELSEN even worked at disney for a while. JIRI TRNKA is best known for his stunning puppet-animation films and EDELMANN styled the animated feature YELLOW SUBMARINE and influenced probably a whole generation of artists. stylistically it is a wide range, the pen+ink children-book style from the beginning of the last century, RIEN POORTVLIET’S very realistic nature studies and on the other end CHARLY HARPER’S extreme graphic style. for me some of the most interesting styled illustrations are from HEINZ EDELMANN, JORGE GONZALES, TADAHIRO UESUGI and FREDERIC BEZIAN. most of them have their own blogs and it is worth to check their work. the influence of different ART-styles in general is obvious, more about that in the next chapters – TREES IN ART.


27 09 2009

these are the final screen captures of JIRI TRNKA’S 1950 puppet animation film PRINCE BAJAJA



trnka bayaya last web

© LUTKOVI film praha + jiri trnka

sunday inspiration

9 08 2009

heinrich kley

heinz edelmann


alice+martin provensen

ronald searle

jiri trnka

mort drucker

eyvind earle

wolf erlbruch

john bauer

© heinrich kley, heinz edelmann, moebius, a+m provensen, ronald searle, jiri trnka, mort drucker, eyvind earle, wolf erlbruch, john bauer

more puppets

24 01 2009

I found some production photos from JIRI TRNKA’S animation feature film production A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and some better quality production stills. there is an additional production photo of BAJAJA.







22 01 2009


1959 JIRI TRNKA created his ultimate masterpiece, after the shakespeare comedy – A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. the puppet animation feature film is in cinemascope and 88 min long. as you can judge yourself in the following images it is the top of his life work, he visualized the pretty complicated story and designed all the characters. the animation as well as the design of a greek inspired phantasy world is beautiful, the wide format used well. in a later post I have some more images…




© KRATKY film praha + jiri trnka


21 01 2009

a while ago I posted some childrenbook illustrations done by JIRI TRNKA, 1912 – 1969, called by some the poet with the pencil. he is probably better known as a puppet maker and puppet animation filmmaker. in 1950 he produced in his PRAGUE studio PRINCE BAJAJA, a beautiful fairy tale based on a story by BOZENA NEMCOVA. one of the animators who helped trnka to animate the numerous characters in the 81 min film was BRETISLAV POJAR, who later became himself a famous puppet animation filmmaker himself. following I am posting some screen captures of PRINCE BAJAJA. I tried to correct the colors, the video transfer is based on a completely red print. there will be more about trnka and his films in the future.



© LUTKOVI film praha + jiri trnka

some favorites

30 12 2008

the artwork below was created by some of my favorite artists. PER AHLIN is a swedish artist and animation director. one of his films, a mixed live action/animation film, is DUNDERKLUMPEN, sweden 1974. HEINZ EDELMANN, a german illustrator and designer, is probably best known for his production design for THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, great britain 1968. THE BOY AND THE MAGIC is a children book illustrated by the english artist GERARD HOFFNUNG, 1925 – 1959. he became famous with his HOFFNUNG’S SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, later animated by HALAS & BATCHELOR. another scandinavian master-illustrator was KAY NIELSEN, denmark 1886 – 1957. he only worked for about a year at disney until 1940. but his work influenced the look of THE NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN in FANTASIA. his many children book illustrations are masterpieces, next to EDMUND DULAC, ARTHUR RACKHAM and GUSTAF TENGGREN he is one of the greats in book illustration. another giant was JIRI TRNKA, 1912 – 1969, the czech illustrator, animator and puppet animation director. A MIDSUMMERNIGHTS DREAM and PRINCE BAJAJA are some of his most famous films. not too much is known about german illustrator DIETER LANGE. he worked for the magazine STERN and the children magazine STERNCHEN since the mid fifties. I collected probably all his illustrations and treasure that rare collection. the last artist is swedish GUSTAF TENGGREN, 1896 – 1970. he as well worked for a short time at disney, 1936 – 1940, and styled SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, PINOCCHIO and several SILLY SYMPHONIES.










© per ahlin, heinz edelmann+WDR, gerard hoffnung, kay nielsen, jiri trnka, dieter lange+STERN, gustaf tenggren


6 11 2008

on my lecture trips over here in asia I have a chance to meet and talk to a lot of students. what you wanna know of course is, what inspires them, who are their favorite artists. maybe there is someone
they admire and want to do something similar in their future. what is kind of depressing that I very rare get a clear answer. only very few have a raw model they wanna follow. even worse, only a few are even informed about successful artists in the animation field. the most I hear is – we love anime. well… I don’t know what is going wrong, do I meet the wrong people? I would expect with all the information you can get through the internet there is a bit more enthusiasm.
following I have collected some designs of the artists who inspired me when I was a student. ‘giants’ like EYVIND EARLE, KEN ANDERSON, WALT PEREGOY, JOHN HUBLEY, a lot of artists from ZAGREB FILM STUDIO, JIRI TRNKA, TERRY GILLIAM + MONTHY PYTHON, comic strip legends like ANDREE FRANQUIN, MORT DRUCKER, ALBERT UDERZO and HUGO PRATT, – and a german comic series MECKY.
















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

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