Archive for the ‘fairy tales’ Category

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Illustration: Felix Lorioux’s Tales From Perrault

Felix Lorioux Aesop

Here are some early illustrations by Felix Lorioux depicting three tales from Perrault published in 1926. These delicate watercolors aren’t as elaborately rendered as the ones in our previous postings of Fables De La Fontaine and Le Buffon des Enfants, but the drawing (particularly of nature) and the composition and framing of the images are beautiful. Enjoy!

TOM THUMB

Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop
Felix Lorioux Aesop

PUSS IN BOOTS

Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots
Felix Lorioux Puss In Boots

CINDERELLA

Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella
Felix Lorioux Cinderella

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Illustration: Gustaf Tenggren and the Genesis of the Golden Book Style

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookGustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookIn the twenties, Gustav Tenggren had been paid handsomely for his work. At Disney, his position guaranteed steady work. But the wartime economy changed all that. Publishers were no longer able to pay him to work a week or more on a single painting and jobs were scarce. He was forced to simplify his style.

While at Disney, Tenggren chaffed under the bit of anonymity. It’s said that Walt instructed his artists, "If you’re going to sign a name to your artwork, spell it ‘Walt Disney’." But Tenggren defiantly maintained his individuality, signing many of his key paintings for Pinocchio. He left the studio under unhappy circumstances, and was bitter about the whole episode. But he had learned one thing from Walt… the power of branding one’s self.

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookGustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookTenggren resolved that he would never again waste his skills building a reputation for someone else. He boldly built his name into the masthead of his first major publication after leaving Disney. No longer was it Andersen’s Fairy Tales or Tales By The Brothers Grimm… It was The Tenggren Tell-It-Again Book. This led to a series of self-titled books sprinkled throughout his career… Tenggren’s Story Book, Tenggren’s Jack & The Beanstalk, Tenggren’s Bedtime Stories, Tenggren’s Farm Stories, and many others.

This particular book is amazing, because it shows Tenggen’s thought process and refinement gelling into what would become the classic "Golden Book style". (Click on the Three Little Pigs images above for a vivid example.) He simplifies by going back to his roots… combining the character designs of his mentor John Bauer with the colored pencil and watercolor style of his successor on the Bland Tomtar Och Troll series, Einar Norelius. It’s fascinating to compare this new streamlined style with the techniques of traditional golden age illustration. See how Tenggren has distilled the essence of the earlier attempts into a clear and simple presentation that still has plenty of beauty and balance.

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

For inspiration, Tenggen goes all the way back to his roots… the work of his mentor, John Bauer. Here is one of Tenggren’s illustrations…

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

And here is one by Bauer from the Swedish Christmas annual, Bland Tomtar Och Troll

John Bauer

He also appears to be familiar with the work of his successor on the Bland Tomtar Och Troll series, Einar Norelius. Here is Tenggren…

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

And here is Norelius…

Einar Norelius

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookGustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookBut halfway through Tenggren’s Tell It Again Book comes a huge breakthrough in design. Instead of the full page plates, Tenggren begins to float his characters over the white of the page, wrapping the text around the compositions. Background elements are reduced to small islands on the page, rather than extending out to the edges of a square bounding box. When I first got this book, I wondered why Tenggren had changed format halfway through. Clearly one reason was to save time and streamline the work of producing so many illustrations for a single book. But there was an aesthetic precedent to it as well. The answer has been hanging on my bedroom wall since I was a little boy!

Like Tenggren, my Grandmother was Swedish. In the early 1920s, she took my father to Sweden to visit his Grandparents. It was the only time he was able to meet them, since he lived in Peterborough, Canada, a very long sea voyage away from their farm in Goteborg, Sweden. My great grandparents gave my father a gift to take home with him to remind him of the visit- this Swedish folk art picture…

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

When I was born, my father gave it to me to hang in my bedroom, and it’s been there ever since. Notice the similarity between the forward pitched perspective, the staging of the characters in clear profile silhouettes, and the simple rendering of the figures over the white of the paper on this print and the Tenggren illustrations that follow…

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book
Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again Book

Gustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookGustaf Tenggren Tell It Again BookTenggren had discovered a way to simplify and refine his illustrations even further. Instead of busy backgrounds full of details, he used just enough information to place the characters, and focused his attention on composing the figures. Immediately after publishing this book, Tenggren produced The Poky Little Puppy, the book that was the model for the hundreds of Little Golden Books that followed over the next seventy years. By going back to his roots and synthesizing his Swedish cultural upbringing, Tenggren invented a style that now seems to us to be quintessentially American.

This is a perfect example of how immigrant artists of all kinds suited their artistic voice to their new lives in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Carlo Vinci’s Italian heritage resulted in a superhero mouse who sang opera. Bill Tytla’s Eastern European roots helped him summon a devil in Fantasia. And Milt Gross’ Jewish upbringing expressed itself in comic celebrations of the ethnic vitality of New York City.

The melting pot of American culture sure is rich with cartoons!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Illustration: Willy Pogany’s Mother Goose

Willy Pogany's Mother Goose

One of my favorite blogs is David Apatoff’s Illustration Art. David is one of the best writers on the subject of art that I’ve read online. He’s unique because he thinks like an artist and he’s concise, two characteristics that are rare when it comes to art criticism in the blogosphere.

The other day, David posted about one of my favorite illustrators, Willy Pogany. (Read his post HERE.) You might recall that we featured Pogany on the Animation Resources site last Summer… (Willy Pogany’s Drawing Lessons) The post on Illustration Art discusses how much better Pogany’s work was when it was less embellished and more direct. I couldn’t agree more. I would add that it’s even better when it doesn’t take itself quite so seriously. A perfect example of Pogany at his absolute peak is a book that just happens to be my favorite illustrated children’s book, Willy Pogany’s Mother Goose.

Pogany's Mother GoosePogany's Mother GooseI’m afraid that viewing this book on the web puts you at a distinct disadvantage. This is one of those books that expresses itself beyond just the images. The size and weight of the book, the feel of the paper, the proportion of text blocks and margins, and the counterpoint in the layout of opposing pages all contribute to the powerful impression this book makes on the reader. The best way I can describe the feeling of reading this book is that each turn of the page is like revealing a new surprise.

From a design standpoint this book was revolutionary, because in 1928 when it was first published, the norm for illustrated books was to have uniform text blocks filling the bulk of the pages with an occasional hand tipped and tissue protected color plate. Pogany breaks all those conventions and makes every single page a fully illuminated illustration. I think it could be argued that this is one of the very first modern children’s books. The watercolors are rendered quickly in a deceptively simple style, but they’re packed with a million clever design ideas and tremendous spontaneity.

I’m afraid this is one book that I can’t afford a clean first edition copy of. The copy I scanned was battered and worn. I’ve done extensive Photoshopping to remove smudges and creases from the many decades of abuse by tiny fingers, and I’ve done my best to maintain the relative scale and basic compositions of the page spreads. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do.

Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose
Willy Pogany's Mother Goose

One last image (racially insensitive)

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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