illustration archives 2

4 07 2020

todays collection is about german illustrator WILHELM M.BUSCH, 1908 – 1987. in the past I published already 43 posts about his extraordinary work, that’s why I thought an overview over his life work might be interesting, where you can see changes in style and drawing techniques. the images in this chapter are from 2 major work-catalogues.

illustration archives 1.3

28 06 2020


illustration archives 1.2

26 06 2020

illustration archives 1.1

25 06 2020

this is the first part of a new SERIES – ILLUSTRATION ARCHIVES -, where I am planning to share with you some of the hundreds of illustatrators I have collected over the years.

JOHN CONRAD BERKEY,1932 – 2008, was an american artist known for his space- and science fiction-themed works. some of berkey’s best-known work includes much of the original poster art for the STAR WARS trilogy and the poster for the 1976 remake of KING KONG, berkey produced a large body of space fantasy artwork, creating utopian scenes of bubble-shaped, yacht-like spaceships. his distinctive painterly style has been evaluated as “at once realistic, yet impressionistic and abstract”, and his space craft designs as being “distinctly elegant, yet clearly technological and unmistakably BERKIAN, more inspired by luxury yachts and manta rays than NASA”. he has been described as “one of the giants in the history of science fiction art”.
( from wikipedia )

© john conrad berkey

houses in art 2

19 06 2020

houses in art 1

14 06 2020

this is not about architecture. I want to compare the different styles artist from the last centuries have seen and painted houses. in the next chapters I might include the house-look in animation. I love the variety and I hope one day that variety will even show in CG-animated films. with the historic disaster WILD LIFE I tried to do that already 20 years ago, so far there has not been too much exciting style-wise in CG animation.

disney historic 1.4 part 4

13 06 2020

it’s very interesting to see the style evolve over the months EARLE was working on it. how he comes up with a special technique, the use of a sponge, to give the bark on the forest trees their typical look. and how he repeats the same sponge look on the stone walls in the castle. somehow he needed to bring the look of the forest and the castle interior together, another element was the long stretched cathedral-like pillars in the castle, and similar stretched trees. the cottage interior was easier, since there was a lot of wood and bark, together with repetitive textures, repeating what he used on the forest floor, grass patterns. and that came from the persian miniatures.

the choices of color are amazing as well. very tasteful and moody combinations, especially in the forest where the colors range from fresh springlike to very somber and subdued. today, painting in photoshop, it is easy in the last steps to adjust the color range. that way you don’t really have a problem to make dozens of backgrounds painted by a dozen of background painters look similar, and in the exact same color range. but, imagine in those days – everything had to be painted in acrylics and gouache, with a touch of airbrush once in a while. not just the absolute same colors in a sequence, all the details and textures painted the same way. looking at the backgrounds in SLEEPING BEAUTY, they nearly all look like painted by one artist.

the LAYOUT artists –

and the BACKGROUND artists including EYVIND EARLE

© walt disney enterprises

disney historic 1.4 part 3

12 06 2020

first I would like to refresh your memory with an art timetable, where you can locate the different style epochs and their according years in time.

wherever you go to study the architectural details of some of the GOTHIC cathedrals, CHARTRES, REIMS, PARIS, COLOGNE, ULM, MILAN, AMIENS, or SALISBURY, you will find the same style elements. it is interesting to compare those characteristics with the style of the handwritten lettering of the manuscripts. it is mainly the emphasis on the vertical and the playful ornamental opening-letter designs that seem to be repeated in the supporting beams outside the cathedral as well as in the stainless window structures.

what EARLE doesn’t mention in his autobiography, is one of the key reference elements for the style of SLEEPING BEAUTY, the french tapestries around the UNICORN. THE HUNT FOR THE UNICORN and THE LADY AND THE UNICORN, 15th century. JOHN HENCH, one of the old timers, – layout, background and production design -, had seen the tapestries and recommended them to EYVIND EARLE.

tomorrow I will post the last part…

© walt disney enterprises

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

disney historic 1.3

8 06 2020

EYVIND EARLE, the production designer, developed the style of the film. he described it in his book – HORIZON BOUND ON A BICYCLE
‘I knew I was going to style SLEEPING BEAUTY, as well as paint all the key backgrounds, and all I had to was to do it in my own style … at home I began practicing doing sleeping beauty’s forest scenes. after all my favorite artists were ALBRECHT DURER, VAN EYCK and BRUEGEL, and all GOTHIC ART, and THE HOURS OF THE DUKE DE BERRY. the whole project fit me like a glove … JOHN HENCH had just about finished two masterful layout drawings in black and white of two forest scenes. they were given to me to paint as I wished. JOHN HENCH’S renderings were RENAISSANCE ROKOKO to my mind. I wanted stylized, simplified GOTHIC. straight tall perpendicular lines like gothic cathedrals. the figures should be straight and tall and thinned out and elongated like gothic sculpture. I took john hench’s masterpieces and straightened up the curving bending winding trees. I used one-point perspective. I rearranged the bushes and trees in geometrical patterns. I made a medieval tapestry out of the surface wherever possible. all my foregrounds were tapestry designs of decorative weeds and flowers and grasses. and since it is obvious that the gothic style and detail evolved from the ARABIC influence acquired during the CRUSADES, I found it perfectly permissible to use all the wonderful patterns and details found in PERSIAN MINIATURES. and since PERSIAN MINIATURES had a lot in common with CHINESE and JAPANESE ART, I felt it was ok for me to inject quite a bit of JAPANESE ART, especially in the close up of the leaves and overhanging branches … I started taking close up photographs of every different bush or tree I could find in the san fernando valley, and then I took VAN EYCK, and PETER BRUEGEL, and ALBRECHT DURER, and BOTTICELLI, and THE HOURS OF THE DUKE DE BERRY, and the PERSIAN, JAPANESE and GOTHIC ART, and on top of that all that I injected a little piece of EYVIND EARLE.’

© walt disney enterprises

composition 3

30 05 2020

today some more composition ideas from major comic strip artists – moebius, jim holdaway, dino battaglia, hugo pratt, alex nino, john watkiss, sergio toppi, al williamson, alberto brecchia, john burns

© moebius, jim holdaway, dino battaglia, hugo pratt, alex nino, john watkiss, sergio toppi, al williamson, alberto brecchia, john burns

composition 2

29 05 2020

comic strips usually work with the same rules that apply for film, especially when it comes to the composition of the panels. interesting placements of the characters, their framing, viewing angles, the general readability and depth of the scene, balance of elements as well as a dramatic use of light can be found especially in comics done by the masters. I collected some interesting ‘shots’ from a wide diversity of artists – MOEBIUS, HUGO PRATT, ALBERTO BRECCHIA, JIM HOLDAWAY, AL WILLIAMSON, SERGIO TOPPI, JOHN BURNS, ESTEBAN MAROTO, DINO BATTAGLIA and others. first I only concentrated on their black/white work.


Le Trombone illustré 2

25 05 2020

© franquin / spirou

Le Trombone illustré 1

24 05 2020

published from 17.march to 20.october 1977 under the impetus of Franquin and Yvan Delporte, Le Trombone illustré is a supplement stapled thirty times in the middle of Spirou’s newspaper. independent of its format and spirit, this scratch-hair publication, which brought together artists from different editorial offices, was announced in n° 2026 of 10.february by the same blue footprints that had preceded the arrival of Gaston Lagaffe. a translation of the explosion of the adult comics phenomenon for adults (Fluide glacial, L’Écho des savanes, Métal hurlant, Charlie Mensuel…), Le Trombone breaks the formal conventions of the drawn story and the taboos of a rather well-meaning newspaper.

(translated from french wikipedia)

here now the first part of the covers of this incredible magazine, created by my most favorite comic strip artist – ANDRE FRANQUIN…

© franquin / spirou / trombone illustré


21 05 2020

this recreated painting is stitched together from 8 dissolve elements combined with a pan north. the scene is part of the UPA 1953 masterpiece THE TELLTALE HEART, directed by ted parmelee and designed and painted by PAUL JULIAN. for the longest time I tried to recreate this painting, but only a short time ago I found a top quality print that made it possible.

© UPA, paul julian

karl arnold

6 04 2020

KARL ARNOLD, 1883 – 1953, was one of the leading caricaturists and illustrators of the first half of the 20th century in Germany. KARL ARNOLD studied drawing in his native Neustadt before entering the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 1901, where he trained under the artists Karl Raupp, Ludwig Löfftz and Franz von Stuck, and where among his fellow students were Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. in 1907 Arnold contributed his first illustration to the satirical magazine Simplicissimus, with which he was to be closely associated for much of his later career. Arnold spent some months in Paris between 1910 and 1911 from where he continued to contribute illustrations for Simplicissimus and its rival, the art and literary journal Jugend. in 1913 Arnold was, along with Kandinsky and Alexej von Jawlensky, one of the founders of the Neue Münchener Sezession (New Munich Secession) group, and contributed to its first exhibition, held the following year. between 1934 and 1936 he served as the director of Simplicissimus, and in 1936 engaged in an exclusive contract as a cartoonist for the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung. beset by illness and following a stroke in 1943, Arnold produced very little work before his death in 1953, not long after being appointed an honorary member of the Academy in Munich. Arnold’s graphic work began to be recognized again in the 1970’s, with a retrospective of his drawings and caricatures held in Berlin and elsewhere in 1975 and an exhibition dedicated to Simplicissimus at the Haus der Kunst in Munich in 1977. as has been noted of Arnold’s illustrations, ‘his unique quality as an artist is the brilliant characterisation of types and the extraordinarily telling conjunction of picture and caption.’
( from stephen ongpin fine art )

© karl arnold / simpicissimus

style 14.1

31 03 2020

during the first months in 1995 working on the style development for MULAN I was researching everything I could get from china, books about traditional art, photography of the environment and graphic novels. I call them graphic novels, because they are so different from the comic strips we are used to in our western world. CHEN-YI CHENG, who was responsible for the character design, and myself went through chinatown in L.A. and found after a while treasures of artwork.
below you will find one of these graphic novels, it must have been created by a real master! I wish I knew his name and could see some more of his work. maybe there is one of my chinese viewers who can help.

© ???

disney jewels 1.4

26 03 2020

© mary blair / disney enterprises, inc

style 13.1

27 01 2020

the next posts will show you examples of different styles or looks of animated shorts and feature films of the past. later I want to explain how these looks were developed, what inspired the artists. this is as well the subject of a new book I am writing – about the development of style in animation.

following pans from WB shorts – bad old putty tat, back alley uproar and bugs bunny rides again. both cartoon backgrounds painted by PAUL JULIAN

the next masterpieces were painted by john hubley for tender game

and 2 pan backgrounds from fleischer’s superman shorts

© john hubley / © WB / © paramount

The Hidden History of Oz

Long before Dorothy came to Oz, Glinda and the Wizard changed everything.

Ellen Li

Illustration & Design is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

The Hidden History of Oz

Long before Dorothy came to Oz, Glinda and the Wizard changed everything.

Ellen Li

Illustration & Design is the best place for your personal blog or business site.