Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Frédéric Back

© Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal

Frédéric Back is one of the greatest artists of our time.
His drawings, paintings and his animated films are so full of humanity, it is quite humbling to look at this great man's life work. I had the chance to meet him at the opening of the the exhibition "Once upon a Time, Walt Disney" in 2007 in Montreal.
There have been many celebrations and tributes to his films including one at the Academy in LA, and more recently a major retrospective and exhibition opened in Japan.
Back has been nominated for an Academy Award numerous times, he won twice for his films Crac! in 1982 and The Man Who Planted Trees in 1987.
He said once: "There can be more to animation than entertainment." Personally I find his films not only entertaining, but they also enlighten and touch audiences in a profound way with themes that center around the preservation of the natural world. 
I highly recommend the 4 DVDs, The Man Who Planted Trees Deluxe Edition, which features many of his films. You can find it occasionally on Amazon or Ebay. 
Below are a few of Frédéric Back's magnificent animation illustrations published in the book version of The Man Who Planted Trees. 
If Marc Chagall had been an animator, this is what his films might have looked like.

© Frédéric Back/Les Enterprises Radio-Canada/Gallimard-Lacombe     


  1. Inspiring posts!! I can only hope that these great examples are driving your short film look and feel.How is having to do your own timing going? versus having x-sheets handed to you? On your own stuff, do you break it down the same way?

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  3. Thanks for sharing! "The Man Who Planted Trees" is as old as me and it is one of the most gorgeous animated films I have ever seen! It catches the essence of the story so well. I like the soft, natural and lively look of his paintings. Some sequences remind me of sand animation technique. Very impressive!

  4. Thanks Andreas. Each time I visit your blog I discover something wonderful. It's like having an art teacher!

    I save the images as screen savers, then they just pop up when I'm least expecting it.

  5. I can only imagine how amazing this could be as a Bluray release. The stills in the book show just how much detail is packed into the drawing, are they animation drawings or separately created illustration...? Beautiful and inspiring

  6. One of my teachers was the assistant of Frederic Back on ''The Man Who Planted Trees'' and she showed us original cells of his short film and I have to say that it is quite amazing how they've done it. They couldn't really sketch before cleaning up. Basically, they had to go straight to the clean-up version when they were animating it so just imagine the hard work they had to do. I really do love how they use the colors as it shows full of life and that it really seems like a storybook. You should meet her if you want to see those drawings, I could put you in contact with her.

  7. I love The Man Who Planted Trees. Visual poetry at its best.

  8. Delighted to find this today via Tina Price. Desperately needed the support of the creative spirit.