I have been doing a bit of searching into Classic Disney animation and the techniques they used.
By total coincidence one of my artistic Facebook friends Cory Mathis (the link takes you to his website full of his own incredible art work) shared a video link called 1958: Old Disney artists show their various painting techniques through a nature study. The video features the works of four Disney artists; Marc Dacis, Walt peregoy, Josh Medors and Ivan Earle.
It might be over 50 years old but the information and advice is still relevant to artists today. Walt Disney himself opens the video with a quote by Robert Henri “educate yourself, do not let me educate you”. It recognises the fact that every artist is different and although you can be inspired by other artists, styles and art movements you shouldn’t feel pressured to imitate anyone, but rather you should discover a style and technique that suits you. Another quote from Robert Henri was “one of the great difficulties of an art student is to decide between his own natural impressions and what he thinks should be his impressions”.
The video gives a bit of insight into how the artists in the Disney studios work. Each of the artists has a different style and different ideas about how something should be drawn. In designing a character (in this case Aurora from Sleeping Beauty) each artist draws how they picture the character, then all the drawings are examined to identify which aspects of the drawings fit the character and which would work best in motion. The background artists have the task of painting an environment that is not only pleasing to the eye but that will also fit the characters who will be moving through it. A big influence in the style of Sleeping Beauty is medieval painting and architecture, which also worked with the story of Sleeping Beauty that was set many centuries ago.
I loved seeing all of the artists impressions of Aurora and the artists different styles, and then seeing the final result with aspects of a few each artist’s drawings combined.
To watch how each artist styles differ, all four artists decide to paint the same old oak tree. It was interesting to see that each artist has a very different idea about what and how to paint the tree. Ivan Earle wants to capture the detail of the trees gnarled features, whereas Josh Medors sees the tree as a spiritual, living being. In the end, it is clear that all four artists are influenced by their own knowledge and interests and what the tree represents for them.
It was well worth a watch, I just want to get stuck into drawing now.
Catch you all later!