Friday, June 10, 2011

Moon So-young interviews Lella Smith on Disney Art

Sleeping Beauty (1959)
(Image from JoongAng Daily)

Moon So-young has published another insightful article on art, this time -- somewhat surprisingly for me -- on the art of Disney animation, along with some of the art that has inspired it: "Archive director talks about art behind Disney" (JoongAng Daily, June 7, 2011).

I always learn something new when I read an article by Moon So-young, and this interview with Lella Smith, the director of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, is no exception, for in response to a query from Moon as to how the Disney artists work together on, for example, a character, Ms. Smith informs us:
There are concept artists who decide what characters look like and many other things. And there is another category of artists called story artists who settle on stories not by writing, but by drawing them on story boards. Sometimes, they draw stories based on concept artists' character concepts, but sometimes they tell stories first.

And there are artists called animators who actually draw the characters. They work based on character concepts made by the concept artists but adjust the concepts, talking with concept artists, "I like that girl's height but I don't like her hair."
I hadn't been aware of concept artists and story artists and their respective roles, though I've long known about animators and how they work, of course. Or so I thought, but I see that I actually knew nothing.

I also learned of Disney art's aesthetic sources. Unsurprising are the children's book illustrators of Europe as sources of inspiration, but the influence of 19-century painters is unexpected. Even more so, the influence of Rembrandt! The entire article by Moon is fascinating, at least for me. I recommend it.

One might think that Moon is interviewing Ms. Smith at the Walt Disney Animation Research Library in California, but she's actually speaking with the lady here in Seoul, where the traveling exhibit "Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales" has currently stopped for a lengthy showing, till September 25 (2011), at the Hangaram Design Museum of the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho District.

I showed this article to my wife, and we intend to visit with the kids on a day that we all have free and enjoy the nearly "600 pieces of original concept works, sketches, storyboards, final frame cells, background paintings and movie clips" on display.

Here's a link to the Seoul Arts Center's official site on the exhibit.

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At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Sperwer said...

You want hardcore? I'll send you a copy of "Convict Conditioning", a guided program of body weight exercises, e.g., that progresses from regular push-ups to handstand push-ups in 6 months! What' your snail mail?

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Sperwer said...

Whoops, that was supposed to go to Big Hominid.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Six months of hardcore? In the context of animation, I wasn't sure how to take that! (Handstand push-ups . . . or 'kickstand' push-ups?)

But the second note clarified everything since I recalled that the Big Hominid is undertaking a weight-loss program.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:41 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

That's the last time I'll ever solicit pr0n from Sperwer.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Understandably! (But at least the two of you weren't sending 'junk' mail . . .)

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Sperwer said...

Actually your post reminded me of my high school classmate Andy Gaskill who went to work as an animator at Disney and has become one of the biggest names in the business, e g i think he did lion king.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Gas-Kill is now a big name . . .

(Apologies to your friend.)

Jeffery Hodges

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