inspiring 1.6

12 08 2020





inspiring 1.5

10 08 2020

you might have recognized one or the other artist in the past INSPIRING posts. there were only some files where I had noted the name of the artist, so I decided not to add names in the image compilations at all, it’s more about the art that inspires us, not the name. but – I understand that some of you are curious about some more work a particular artist might have created. below is a list of the, in my opinion, most important comic strip-, cartoon-, caricature and character-design artists, whose work is already represented in the past posts, or will be in the upcoming ones. I am still working on a second list of most important illustrators and concept designers.

after realizing I forgot some important artists I changed the list.





inspiring 1.4

8 08 2020





inspiring 1.3

7 08 2020





inspiring 1.1

5 08 2020

art students are usually asked to create an INFLUENCE MAP, assembling artwork of artists that infuences them the most. classical paintings, contemporary illustrations, comic strips, character-/concept-designs from animated movies are among other things where we consciously or subconsciously borrow elements, techniques or looks from. as an artist we always need to be inspired, we get a lot of that from life around us. and the endless resources within the world of the internet provide us with all the information and reference we could dream of.
before the time of the internet most illustrators had a huge cut-out archives, reference images cut from magazines and books, and archived alphabetically. I still have cabinets full with those treasures. it took forever and was not cheap. today google is much cheaper and more important – faster.

probably about 15 years ago, when the internet speed in this part of asia where I live, improved, I started the same what I had done years ago, to collect all different reference images – but this time downloaded from the internet and nicely archived ( not always ) in folders for easier locating them. reference photography, classical art, children book-/magazine-/book-illustration, concept art and production design for live action and animation, comic strip. so far some million files.

during this pandemic, for longer than six months I am more or less stuck at my home, what gave me the opportunity to dig through my collections. you have seen already some of the results in my last posts, more to come.

today i wanna show you my version of influence maps, compilations of inspiring artwork that I put together randomly, from those thousands of reference folders.





disney historic 1.4 part 2

11 06 2020

I was many time in that library, the treasure cove, where additional to all these illustrated books all editions of SIMPLICISSIMUS, PUNCH, FLIEGENDE BLAETTER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, GRAPHIS, GEBRAUCHS-GRAPHIC, ARCHITECTURE-digests, FILM-journals and so much more were stored. a big room with very tall shelves. you could get lost.

of course, like in EYVIND EARLE’S case, you needed to know what to look for. I am sure he went through all the illustrations of the master-illustrators, and a lot of classical art books. but I guess he knew what he wanted to create from the very beginning. he only needed to check a few ingredients from all that reference.

below the first layout shows an early approach, it could be even JOHN HENCH’S layout EYVIND EARLE mentions in his autobiography. the following designs illustrate how the style evolved to the final look.

here LES TRES RICH HEURES DU DUC DE BERRY from 1410 influenced the look in costume and style for the opening of the film.

more tomorrow…

© walt disney enterprises





disney historic 1.4 part 1

10 06 2020

imagine, once upon a time – there was no internet. you could not ask google whatever you needed to know. well, I remember1990, when I worked on ALADDIN, I accidentally heard about the ORIENTALISTS, painters who painted the middle east around the second half of the 19th century. I had to order those very rare coffee table books in a specialized bookstore in cologne ( walter koenig ), wait for some weeks and then pick them up, 300DM each, 4 books. their weight was probably 6 kg, and they had to be brought to L.A. in my suitcase. google is so much lighter. and cheaper!

when EYVIND EARLE needed his reference art-books, it was easier for him. WALT DISNEY had on his several months long trip to europe in the mid thirties bought whatever he could find about art and especially illustrated children books. JOE GRANT had given him a list what to look for. so DISNEY shipped all those ‘treasure’-books, illustrated by KAY NIELSEN, GUSTAF TENGGREN, EDMOND DULAC, HERMAN VOGEL, LUDWIG RICHTER, ARTHUR RACKHAM, WARWICK GOBLE, GUSTAVE DORE and more, to L.A. where they became the reference for future art directors and production designers.

GUSTAF TENGGREN and KAY NIELSEN had even worked in the disney studio, from the mid thirties to early forties. during that time KAY NIELSEN created many designs for future possible productions, like SLEEPING BEAUTY, but as well THE LITTLE MERMAID, and a beautiful piece THE SWAN OF TUONELA.

more tomorrow…

© walt disney enterprises





older inspiration 5

10 05 2018





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








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