Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category

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.

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Illustration: Artzybasheff’s Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie
Plowman, plowman, what of thy hands?

Recently, Danish political cartoons have created a firestorm of controversy all over the world. It shouldn’t be surprising that cartoons can evoke this sort of uproar; after all, back in the late 1800s Thomas Nast’s caricatures brought down Boss Tweed, and in the 1970s, Herb Block was a major thorn in Nixon’s side.

World War II was a prime era for political cartoonists. Passions ran high, and the whole world was at stake. Artists like Arthur Szyk and Boris Artzybasheff crystalized the passions and horrors of war in a way that speaks to us across the decades. Here is a selection of illustrations on the theme of war from Boris Artzybasheff’s book As I See.

In his introduction to the chapter entitled "Diablerie", Artzybasheff writes:

"Let’s sing hosannas to men this day, for theirs is the triumph of wit! In their long search for better tools and weapons, men at last have found the way of locking a pinch of cosmic force in a sheath of silver-white metal… as well as the means for making it go boom. Any time they wish, or think they must, men can touch off an orgasmic flash, making the oceans boil and seethe with fire, making the soil rise up in crimson dust… Perhaps after the cloud drifts thrice around it, the earth will emerge once more free of living things… In the hush of night this comely planet will go on waltzing in its ordained orbit until God awakens from His sleep and resolves it back to the primordial elements.

I try to shake this thought off; it may be that a healthy planet should have no more life upon it than a well-kept dog has fleas; but what posesses the flea to concoct its own flea powder?"

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie
The Headless Horseman

Artzybasheff Diablerie
In Pursuit of Zeros

Artzybasheff Diablerie
Jet Propulsion: V-One

Artzybasheff Diablerie
Radio Propaganda

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie
The Pied Piper of Berchtesgaden

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Artzybasheff Diablerie
The Balance of Power

Artzybasheff Diablerie
The Triumph of Wit

Artzybasheff Diablerie
The Witches’ Sabbath

Many people who read this blog aren’t aware that Animation Resources isn’t just a website… it is much more than that. We are archiving these images at high resolution for the use of students, artists and researchers. As an example, here is an image of Hitler’s eye from the image above at the full resolution of our archival scan…

Artzybasheff Diablerie

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Illustration: Mary Blair’s Baby’s House

Mary Blair Baby's House

Earlier, we featured Mary Blair’s Golden Book "Little Verses". Today, we feature her long out-of-print book, "Baby’s House".

Many thanks to my friend Mike Fontanelli for sharing this with us.

Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House
Mary Blair Baby's House

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

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