Thursday, June 30, 2011

Old European Masters

Occasionally when I travel  back to Europe, I revisit the great museums over there
and sketch the work of old masters. Particularly the periods of the late Renaissance
and Baroque are interesting, because figures in sculpture and painting show movement.
I find it useful to study classic art and to absorb the sense of anatomy, composition
and general aesthetics.

The funny thing is that when I was living in Germany as an art student, I took all this art for granted. I had always been there and it was always close by.
After moving to LA and spending years away from  "Old World Culture",
I now look at Bernini, Barye and Michaelangelo with American eyes.
With a bigger sense of Awe, I suppose. And that's a good thing.

The following sketches were made in places like the Musee d'Orsay and the Vatican Museum.
I often use a brush pen, which somehow helps to avoid stiffness in your sketch,
yet bad drawings on the whole are entirely possible.


  1. Beautiful! I really like the subtle shading that brings the forms out of the page.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your sketchbook with us!

    I know you've heard it a million times but your sketches are so inspiring.

    I keep myself sharp by sketching in my daily sketchbook with a simple Bic Pro ballpoint pen---the flow is nice and it gives me the precision that I want but...

    Arg! You sketch with a brush pen? But your sketches are so clean and confident! I see this and your studies from your Lilo post and it's just amazing. Man, how do you do it??

    Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  3. These are gorgeous!

    I especially admire the one where the angel is drawn from below (A_16.jpg). That head position is very tricky to draw but you made it look so easy!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. i agree with captured some tricky poses and with brush pen? clean drawings with very minimum can demonstrates some of your style by video,,Andreas....we will be so glad..:D

  6. Hi mr Deja!
    Im devoring your blog since a while now and of course I am a big fan of your work(well, now i think you had your quota of admiration-flowers for the daily's comments!)i was going to ask you about personnal sketches you do and i am glad you posted some,it's always interesting to have an idea of your perseption and the personality you put in your work!
    You are telling us about the nine "old men" which is exciting and fascinating, but have you planed to post about the men of the new generation too?

  7. A pleasure to see more from your sketchbook- are they some studies from Daumier at the bottom?

  8. These are great!! Some of them remind me of Fantasia.

  9. Yes, Matt, those are studies from Daumier's amazing sculps at the Musee d'Orsay.
    And I will also post my Searls in the near future.

  10. Hi everybody,
    my Blog crashed last night, and it took a few hours to get it back up.
    In the process I lost the first 7 or 8 comments from you.
    Sorry about that.

  11. I like these drawings very much!!! I usually go to Vatican Museums to draw, with my eyes pointed to that true masterpiece that's Sistine Chapel; I think it's better than copy figures from a book; I mean, when you draw with the Sistine Chapel above you .....Thanks God I live in Rome, so I can turn my head and discover beautiful new corners, that I've never seen before.

  12. Beautiful drawings Andreas! How did you achieve the shading on them? Did you smear the ink lines? Or did you apply them with some other means?

  13. Andy, most of the shading was done by smearing the lines with my finger. Only once in a while do I use a little brush for more detailed shading.

  14. Thanks for sharing Andreas, I think we have a modern day Michaelangelo that's nice enough to share his thoughts, sketchbooks and stories with us! Many thanks, I can barely keep up; inspiration overload:)

  15. Andreas!
    Sorry that this comment isn't on the subject of this blog entry, but I just wanted to urge you to link or mention the interview you did for The Animation Guild. It's the single best interview and history perspective on you that I've heard so far.

    I hope development on your personal shorts and other projects are going very well. All the best to you.

    - Matt

  16. Thank you so much Andreas. The exposure you've given me to so many different types of art has really been stimulating me mentally and creatively. Sullivant, Kley, and now the European masters are really inspirationational to me because they're not animators which really helps for once give me a variety of sources. I've been thinking up a few shorts lately and am thinking about using a non-animation illustrator as the influence for the style of the short while timing it to my favorite music, jazz. BTW excellent interview on the TAG blog the other day

  17. Thanks for answering my question about the shading. I love getting grubby with drawing hehe

  18. Nice, love the expressions on their faces!

  19. Hi, Andreas;

    Your blog is a dream come true. To be able to savor the drawings of the masters is a privilege. Thanks for your efforts in making this possible.

  20. Beautiful!!! :D
    So expressive!
    And la Pieta's study is very awesome! :)

  21. Just for masters, I did mean
    ANIMATION masters. :)

  22. It is so striking how the masters captured gesture through seemingly effortless knowledge of anatomy and rhythm in the human form, and nature in general for that matter. There is so much emotion in their work that goes beyond perfection of the tools of the artist. Your sketches reflect all of this, too, and it goes to show that practice really does make perfect.

    Thank you also for starting such an inspiring blog. Between you and Hans, I can sufficiently get my daily art fix. :)

  23. Oh wow! It's so nice to see some of your own personal studies! I think I'll head to The Louvre next week - you're right, I live nearby and haven't been for such a long time! :/
    All the Best,

  24. Mr. Deja, I was born in Rome in 1982 and I lived here ever since. It is so true what you said. Often I've seen americans with a great sense of Awe (at the same time I found that they consider Italy as a country sticked in the past, at the times of "Pane, Amore e Fantasia" or "La Dolce Vita" and they don't see how young italians aim to modernize Italy, Cars2's Porto Corsa it's just an example of the way Americans see our country: the land of pizza, amore, mandolins and Godfathers) As an artist and a 3D animator myself I love the artistic beauties of my city, but often I take them for granted. I loved your interpretation of European artistic masterpiece. It's fresh, original and so light. It's a pity Disney never released a story set in Rome or in Italy. (Pinocchio's set is not Italian, even though I adore Tenggrenn's Tyrole, and The Dance of the Hours it's a stage that has nothing to share with Venice). I have a project to release a short concerning an old roman myth. Let's see if I find money to finish it. By the way, thanks for your blog. It's always good to learn something more about the Nine Old Men from a person how knew them. And thanks for your art, of course, I'm a great fan of you since I saw Roger Rabbit and I loved Triton, Gaston, Scar, Hercules, your version Mickey Mouse and Lilo so much.

  25. P.S. By the way I met John Canemaker several years ago. Seeing The Reluctant Dragon with him, and commenting it, was one of the best experiences I ever had. In 2006 I had the opportunity to meet Roy E. Disney in Positano (he was presenting Destino, and I remember me crying in front of his smiling face when I saw the surrealistic short for the very first time). I was so sad when you presented The Princess and the Frog (just 1 km away from my abitation!). I didn't know you were there and I was so upset I let that opportunity pass. I hope to meet you someday.

  26. For some reason your post on the old masters made me think of an incredible statue of a veiled woman at the Louvre. To this day I am in awe of how the artist managed to bring her expression through, while clearly also putting her in a veil... in marble! Did you ever happen to sketch that one?