Archive for the ‘exhibit’ Category

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Exhibit: Carlo Vinci Shows Us How To Pick An Animation School

National Academy of Design 1931

Today, I read a post on Cartoon Brew titled When Angry Animation Students Attack. Apparently, an animation student became frustrated by the poor quality of instruction at his school, so he crapped out his final film and ended it with a credit for his professor that read, "Thanks for nothing."

This particular post resonated with me, because the most common question I’m asked by young artists is, "How should I pick an animation school?" They always expect me to recommend a specific school, but my answer usually surprises them.

Carlo Vinci Artist and AnimatorCarlo Vinci was one of the most talented animators who ever lived. When he passed away in 1993, he left behind a remarkable legacy. But of particular interest to students of animation was his collection of student work. Tucked away in a closet was a portfolio full of studies that chart his education. Vinci’s family is generously allowing the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive to document this material with the intent of reconstructing his education as a model for current students of animation.

Today, I’d like to share a brochure with you… This is the course outline for National Academy of Design, the art school that Carlo Vinci attended… I hope you take the time to read over this material carefully, especially if you are a student looking to pursue a career in animation. It will help you know what to look for in an animation school.

National Academy of Design 1931

The Academy believes firmly in the development of individuality but denies that such development is helped by the ignoring of the universal heritage, the heritage of the graphic manifestations of Man’s temperament and impressions. It therefore approves careful consideration of the Art of the past and its correlation with the Art of the present. It encourages progressive experiment admitting the vitality of real Art under any form and condemning only ignorance, insincerity and the contempt which is born of them.

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

The students have at all time free access to the Academy’s large and valuable collection of standard and rare books on every branch of the fine arts… Of especial advantage to the student is the easy accessibility of the great collections in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, the City Hall, the Hispanic Society, and the galleries of innumerable private collectors and art dealers in the city, where the best American works and art treasures from foreign countries may be studied to better advantage than anywhere else in America.

REQUIREMENTS

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES

National Academy of Design 1931

The class schedule runs six days a week from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. First year studios in drawing from sculpture, life drawing, portrait painting, still life painting, and composition run from two to three hours apiece. Second year courses consist of life drawing, sculpture from life, portrait painting, etching, composition, and mural decoration. And three hour night courses are offered in sculpture, life drawing, drawing from sculpture and composition.

First year students receive lectures in anatomy, perspective and art history. Second year students attend lecture classes in color theory, various printing techniques, stained glass, mosaic and the history of art and architecture.

COURSE OF STUDY

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

Note that students first draw from still life and sculpture, and only when they have proved their abilities, are they allowed to advance to drawing from life.

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

INSTRUCTORS

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL

>National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

PAST GRADUATES

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

HOW DO I PICK AN ANIMATION SCHOOL?

Here’s the surprising answer… You don’t! Schools that specialize in animation as a trade do a lousy job of preparing you for a career in animation. While you’re a student, you should focus on your core art skills- drawing, design, composition and color. Look for a school that can give you a solid classical art background. Avoid ones that just teach computer programs. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to learn Maya!

Carlo Vinci was one of the greatest animators who ever lived, but he never took a class in animation. Instead, he spent three years of intense study to learn to be an artist. With the experience he gained at the National Academy of Design, he was able to learn animation and advance quickly on the job. It was the same for great animators like Marc Davis, Chuck Jones and Frank Thomas who studied at Chouinard on the West coast.

IT’S A LOT EASIER TO LEARN ANIMATION THROUGH SELF STUDY ONCE YOU’VE BEEN TAUGHT THE CLASSICAL ARTS THAN IT IS TO DO IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Start with the general skills and work your way towards the specific ones.

National Academy

Students at the National Academy of Design
around the time Vinci attended.

You have an advantage that the Golden Age animators didn’t have. Personal computers and inexpensive animation software make it easy to experiment and learn animation on your own. You have amazing resources on the web, like the $100,000 Animation Drawing Course, Mark Kennedy’s Seven Golden Camels and John Kricfalusi’s invaluable blog, All Kinds Of Stuff. You have no excuse for not learning to animate.

You can’t buy an education, but you may be able to buy a degree. Students graduate without any marketable skills from good colleges every year. But that isn’t the schools’ fault. Your education is your own responsibility. It’s not your professor’s job to MAKE you learn. Learning is a life-long occupation. Apply yourself.

If you can’t afford a university degree, you can still obtain a first class art education. Attend classes at your local community college and pick up copies of the Famous Artists painting, commercial art and cartooning sets on eBay. Self study is the key to becoming a great artist. Once you start to master the fundamental skills, THEN apply yourself to learning to animate.

If you follow this advice, you’ll never have to make excuses for your lack of skill as an animator, and you’ll never need to blame anyone else for your lack of education. Best of all, your education will form the foundation for any creative endeavor you undertake.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.

TheoryTheory

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Exhibit: Carlo Vinci’s Student Life Drawing

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

All of us at Animation Resources are deeply grateful to the family of legendary animator Carlo Vinci for the material they have shared with us over the past couple of years. Around 1929, Vinci attended the prestigious National Academy of Design in New York, receiving the silver medal from the Tiffany Foundation Fellowship upon graduation. By stroke of luck, his student drawings have survived in an old portfolio tucked at the back of a closet. They provide an invaluable peek into the artistic development of a golden age animator.

In a previous article, we posted scans of the course outline for the National Academy of Design. The class schedule ran six days a week with studio classes from 9am to 4pm and lecture classes beginning at 4:10pm, and night classes offered from 7pm to 10pm Monday through Friday. It was an intensive program focused on traditional art skills- drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as art history, composition and color theory.

DRAWING FROM CASTS

The first year student began with three hour sessions drawing from casts of classical sculpture. Since the casts were static, the student had the opportunity to work slowly and develop the ability to construct the organic shapes and complex volumes of the human figure without the time constraint of working from live models. They were not allowed to progress to drawing from life until they had mastered the basic principles by working from casts.

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

DRAWING FROM LIFE:
LONG SESSIONS

Drawing from life continued throughout the entire course of study, starting with longer sessions to allow the student time to work out the problems of anatomy and perspective. As time went by and the student gained experience, the sessions were shortened.

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

DRAWING FROM LIFE:
SHORT SESSIONS

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

PORTRAITS

Special classes in portraiture and composition were also on the schedule.

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

PEERS’ WORK

Vinci admired the work of his peers and saved a few of their sketches to study.

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

By Umberto Romano

Carlo Vinci Life Drawing
Carlo Vinci Life Drawing

By Ilya Bolotowsky

It’s interesting to note that even though Bolotowsky became very well known for his abstract paintings, he was obviously very skilled at traditional representational art as well.

Life drawing forms the foundation for all art. Students of animation would do well to focus on life drawing while they are in school and have the time to develop their skills.

For more on traditional life drawing, please see David Apatoff’s excellent articles on George Bridgman’s Art Class and The Training of Robert Fawcett.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Illustration: John Bauer’s Bland Tomtar Och Troll

John Bauer

Like many of the artists we feature here on this blog, John Bauer is a name that not many people know. His career was relatively short, but his influence was far reaching.

John BauerJohn BauerBorn in 1882 in Sweden, Bauer studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. In 1904, he illustrated his first book, Lappland, but in 1907 he began work on a series of Christmas annuals that would make him famous. Bland Tomtar Och Troll (Among Gnomes and Trolls) is a Swedish tradition, beginning in 1907 and continuing to this very day. I’m afraid I don’t speak Swedish, so I can’t speak for the folk tales Bauer is illustrating, but the illustrations are stunning.

Bauer had a way with trolls… they are grotesque, yet appealing. The simple, yet elegant compositions conveyed the essence of the image clearly with a sense of humor that both children and adults could understand. His style influenced generations of artists from Gustaf Tenggren (who took over the Bland Tomtar Och Troll series after Bauer’s death in a shipwreck in 1918), Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Kay Nielsen to Brian Froud and Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal). This particular edition of Bland Tomtar Och Troll is from 1915, but the images are timeless.

John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer
John Bauer

MORE BY JOHN BAUER
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius
Einar Norelius

Very little information on Bauer exists outside of his native country of Sweden. There is a museum dedicated to his work in the city where he was born. If you have any information on this great artist, please let us know about it in the comments below.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.