Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Illustration: Artzybasheff’s Machinalia

Artzybasheff Machinalia

In his introduction to the section titled "Machinalia" in his book As I See, Boris Artzybasheff says, "I am thrilled by machinery’s force, precision and willingness to work at any task, no matter how arduous or monotonous it may be. I would rather watch a thousand ton dredge dig a canal than see it done by a thousand spent slaves lashed into submission. I like machines."

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Making of Steel: Charging the Open Hearth

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Tapping a Heat of Steel

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Filling Ingot Molds

Artzybasheff Machinalia

The Soaking Pit

Artzybasheff Machinalia

The Blooming Pit

Artzybasheff Machinalia

The Rod Mill

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Hydraulic Press

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Stranding of Wire Rope

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Weaving of Fence Fabric

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Wire Drawing Machines

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Spring Forming Presses

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Wire Cloth Looms

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Navy’s Mark III Calculator

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Executive of the Future

Recently, I was asked by a visitor to the Archive what relevance half century old cartoons and magazine illustrations have to the current animation scene. Well, this question is best answered with an example… Look at these amazing designs by Boris Artzybasheff originally published in the 1950s, and look at this clip from Fleischer’s Lost & Foundry.. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to be able to picture what a sequence in a current CGI film would look like if it had designs like Artzybasheff’s and animation like the Fleischers’.


Lost and Foundry (Fleischer/1937) at YouTube

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Illustration: Ernesto Garcia Cabral (aka Chango)

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

The Greatest Cartoonist
You’ve Never Heard of Before!

Ernesto Garcia Cabral (nicknamed Chango) was one of Mexico’s greatest political cartoonists and illustrators. He studied art in Paris just before WWI, and became well known there as a cartoonist. He returned to Mexico in 1918 and quickly became one of the country’s premiere illustrators. He was known for his expressive caricatures, which illustrated the posters for Mexican film comedies throughout the forties and fifties.

Cabral is almost unknown outside of Mexico, but that is changing. A recent book, Cine Mexicano: Posters from the Golden Age 1936-1956 featured some of his best work.

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Garcia Cabral Chango

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Now for a little quiz… Which of the following lobby cards are by Cabral and which aren’t?

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

Ernesto Chango Cabral Mexican Lobby Cards

The answer is "none of the above"… These five cards were likely painted by Juan Antonio Vargas Briones… a second generation Mexican movie poster artist who was the director of publicity at the Mexican Movie Distribution company. It’s clear that Cabral’s influence was strong among movie publicity artists.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Illustration: Dulac’s Poe and Tanglewood Tales

Dulac Poe

The Raven

Edmund DulacEdmund DulacIn the golden age of storybook illustration, there were two artists who led the field… Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac. Both of these artists were prolific, but of the two, Dulac was the most stylistically versatile. Today, we digitized one of Dulac’s most unique books, The Poetical Works of Edgar Allen Poe (1912).

Dulac took full advantage of the printing technology of his day to create images full of deep shadow, inviting the viewer to peer into the details in the darkness. Note for instance the figure in The Raven. His body falls into the shadow across the chair and rug, defined only by the cool shadowy colors of his trousers against the warm ones of the background. Dulac’s images perfectly capture Poe’s dark, melancholy moods, as well as the cosmic, dreamlike situations of poems like Israfel. Light is used to great effect with eerie, otherworldly uplighting in To One In Paradise, cool moonlight through an open window in The Sleeper, and a pinpoint light source in To Helen.

One of the genres of storytelling that has been rarely employed in animation is gothic horror. Looking at these images, it’s clear that animation would be capable of creating a dark, sinister world even more vivid than could be ever be created in live action.

Dulac Poe

Dulac Poe

The Bells

Dulac Poe

The Bells

Dulac Poe

To One In Paradise

Dulac Poe

Lenore

Dulac Poe

To Helen

Dulac Poe

The Haunted Palace

Dulac Poe

The Sleeper

Dulac Poe

Eldorado

Dulac Poe

The Conqueror Worm

Dulac Poe

To The River

Dulac Poe

To Helen

Dulac Poe

To – -

Dulac Poe

Israfel

Dulac Poe

Dreamland

If you compare these images to Dulac’s last great illustrated book, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales, you will notice a radical shift of style. Just like Gustaf Tenggren reinvented his painting style between his early work on Bland Tomtar Och Troll and the Golden Books series, Dulac’s style underwent a transformation from the classic illustration style of artists like Arthur Rackham and Howard Pyle to a style influenced by Persian illuminated manuscripts and oriental design.

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

Edmund Dulac's Tanglewood Tales

A friend of mine asked me a question that a couple of his acquaintances had asked him about Animation Resources… "Why aren’t there more posts of material from animation?"

It’s a valid question. There are two reasons… First of all, animation is primarily about movement. In order to convey that, it requires movie files. Unfortunately, at this point, we can’t afford the bandwidth to provide a lot of streaming video. At some point, when the project has grown a bit, we hope to be able to do that.

The second reason cuts to the heart of what Animation Resources is intended to accomplish. We aren’t trying to create a trade school program in animation to teach people how to animate- That’s beyond the scope of what we can do here. The purpose of the Archive is to provide inspiration… to supply material that will help artists see and create in a different way. Inspiration for animation doesn’t have to come from animation itself. Real life, illustration, fine art, music and great literature can all inspire animation.

American animation celebrated its 100th Birthday in 2006. But in all that time, the way an animated film looks hasn’t been explored nearly as fully as it should have been. From a design standpoint, cartoons have always been very imitative… In the 1930’s dozens of characters looked like Mickey Mouse. Today, the main characters of animated features all look about the same. There’s no reason why this has to be the case.

The purpose of the reference material I’m providing isn’t to give you, the artist, a "cop file" that you can duplicate in your own work- It’s to help break down the essence of animation design… caricature, anthropomorphism, stylization, color, pleasing shapes, expression, etc… so you can incorporate those elements into your own work, and create new ways of seeing for those of us in the audience. Referencing illustration and print cartooning is a much better source for that sort of thing than referencing other animated films.

A truly great artist can’t keep working in a single style. They have to evolve and grow. I hope the images I’m posting here in this blog help you along to break new ground in how an animated film can look.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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