Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Illustration: Fantastic Mexican Lobby Cards

Mexican Lobby Cards

Previously, I posted galleries of images of lobby cards by the master Mexican caricaturist Ernesto Garcia Cabral. Today, I’m presenting a group of images from a variety of science fiction, horror and adventure films released in Mexico. In many cases, these cards are a lot more entertaining than the movies they’re advertising. Every one of them makes me curious to see what the movie is all about, which shows that the lobby card is doing its job. It’s a shame that lobby cards have gone the way of the dodo in this age of cinema multiplexes and mall theaters.

But that isn’t all that seems to have been lost. Check out how these images exude the essence of the fantastic. Science fiction movies today are generally ugly and mundane compared to these crazy creatures and bizarre locales. Instead of cramped, cluttered shoeboxes flying through space, rocket ships should be streamlined and beautiful. The future should be strange and alien, not urban and post-apocalyptic. Creatures should be shocking and otherworldly too. Movies today could use a double dose of fun.

Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards
Mexican Lobby Cards

And here’s a batch of miscellaneous cards that use cartoons to sell a wide variety of films…

Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Card
Mexican Lobby Cards

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Illustration: Dulac’s Hans Christian Andersen

Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales

The invention of chromolithography at the end of the 19th century opened up a new world for book illustrators. It was no longer necessary for illustrators to limit the number of colors and focus on high contrast line work. The printing press was now capable of reproducing oil paintings and watercolors with all of the richness of the original artwork. This resulted in an explosion of illustrated books around the turn of the century, and made superstars of the artists who created them.

Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales

One of the most striking aspects of vintage book illustrations is the use of color. In our memory, our impression of these beautiful images is made up of rich and vibrant hues, but if we analyze the way color is actually being used, we realize that the color harmonies are very subtle, with small brilliant accents used to direct the eye, and careful attention to the rendering of form, texture and lighting effects.

Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales

Art is all about beautiful contrasts, and so is the use of color… warm colors against cool colors, light ones against dark ones, large areas of color against small ones… Edmund Dulac was a master at juggling these contrasts to create a pleasing color scheme from a muted palette. Some of the pictures in today’s post are almost monochromatic, with a variety of shades and shapes defining the image. Others have a variety of hues all around the same value. Dulac is constantly varying the way he handles the lighting and color to convey the feeling of the story.

Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales

Collecting golden age illustrated children’s books can be a difficult and frustrating process. It’s hard to know just how many color plates a book should have. First editions might have had thirty or more color plates; but with each subsequent reprinting, the number might have been reduced to twenty, twelve, eight or four. Modern reissues might contain all of the plates, but the color balance and detail in the reproduction is usually nothing like the original. First editions are always the best, but they can be very costly, selling for as much as a thousand dollars or more for a volume in good condition. For the past twenty years, I’ve been collecting these books… on a budget. I look for damaged bindings or torn text pages that will reduce the value. As long as the illustrations are all present and in good condition, I don’t care how beat up the rest of the book is.

Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to get ahold of an original printing of Edmund Dulac’s most famous book, Andersen’s Fairy Tales. However, the cost of first editions with all 28 plates was prohibitive. The other day I was searching through abebooks.com and with some clever search terms, I discovered that there was a German printing of Andersen’s Fairy Tales that contained all of the plates I was looking for. Since it was in German, the price was a fraction of what an English or American first edition would cost. Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate! Here are the scans…

Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales
Dulac Andersen Fairy Tales

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Illustration: Three Early Tenggren Books

Gustaf Tenggren

TenggrenTenggrenToday, we digitized the illustrations from three more early books by Gustaf Tenggren. Tenggren was a key concept artist on Snow White and Pinocchio, and it’s clear that the Disney artists looked to his work for inspiration in establishing the Disney feature style.

As we scan more books, we are able to find interesting parallels. For instance, it’s interesting to compare Tenggren’s approach to Hawthorne’s “Tanglewood Tales” to Edmund Dulac’s highly stylized version.

Tenggren and Dulac

And a similar comparison between Tenggren’s approach to a battle scene and the way Kay Nielsen handled the same subject in East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

Tenggren and Nielsen

We can also compare Tenggren’s early “Juan And Juanita” to his treatment of an almost identical subject in a totally different style in the Golden Book, “The Little Trapper”.

Tenggren comparison

We can also see similarities to Tenggren’s contemporary book, “Small Fry And The Winged Horse”.

Tanglewood and Small Fry

As our database fills out, more and more interesting comparisons and relationships like this will become apparent. That’s one of the most exciting things about the collection of Animation Resources. The information has always existed, but gathering it all together in one place, and making it searchable will add a level of understanding that has never been possible before. Stay tuned. It will get even better!

Here then, are three more books by the great artist, Gustaf Tenggren…

Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren

Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren

Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren
Gustaf Tenggren

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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