Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Little Background...


If you're an animation buff like myself, then you have your favorite animators. Since this is a Disney blog then it will obviously be dealing with Disney animators... this is not to take away from some of the great animators that worked on Warner's Looney Tunes, MGM's Tom & Jerry shorts, the wonderful animators that worked for Max Fleischer or many, many others.

Ask a Disney Geek/Fan who his favorite animation artist is. For some it's as easy as asking "Who's your favorite President?" and having someone say "Washington" or "Lincoln". In animation terms that would like saying "Ollie Johnston" or "Frank Thomas". We've all got our favorites, from Glen Keane, Adreas Dejas or Eric Goldberg. But what about Ralph Hulett, Ray Huffine, Art Riley or Thelma Witmer? Sometimes talented artist can get overlooked. We all seem to forget that the characters these gifted men create don't exist in a vacuum. They don't walk around a field of white or float in a vast sea of nothingness. They have to have something to react to. When Donald Duck is chasing Chip and Dale across a field, you have to have... well, a field! And someone has to paint that field. And it has to look right. It has to look detailed, but still exist in a cartoon world. We can forget sometime that drawn characters have to have a background on which they can come to life. Maleficent had her castle, Alice had her Wonderland and Peter Pan had Neverland.

Where would we be without the artist that painted these places?

We would probably be watching a bunch of characters in pantomime, more than likely. I think that it's prime-time we honored some of these artist with the respect and admiration they deserve. That's why if you want to admire this long neglected part of the medium, I suggest you go over to a great little blog called, what else: Animation Backgrounds. If you haven't seen it, go over for a looksie... there are some really beautiful examples of what we all take for granted each time we go into a darkened theater or pop in a DVD.

Check it out...

Enjoy.

2 comments:

mickhyperion said...

I honestly believe it's the backgrounds more than the animation that can really make or break a cartoon/animated feature. Interestingly, at the animation school I attended, I was the only student who even cared about the backgrounds. Others found that kind of work "boring" and passed it off as if it didn't matter.

Some of the best Disney background work is, of course, in Sleeping Beauty, but I also love the watercolor backgrounds in the color Mickey Mouse shorts of the mid to late 30's and the "package films" of the 40's. The work in The Three Caballeros in particular is absolutely gorgeous, as is Blue Bayou from Make Mine Music.

Honor Hunter said...

Mickeyhyperion,

If you love "The Three Caballeros" then go to the blog I linked to. They have a whole section of Caballeros backgrounds. You'll enjoy it a lot...