Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Appeal, Flair & Magnetism

For some reason I have a difficult time finding those attributes in recent as well as upcoming animated feature releases.
Look at how Donald Duck's world was presented in this 1944 ad. So incredibly charming and inviting. You can't take your eyes off this -I believe- Hank Porter illustration.

I could give you hundreds of other examples from the past that tell me something is missing in today's animation offerings. Not that I expect animation today to look like 1940s Disney. It's just that there was integrity and artistry to cartooning. A higher standard!
I am reminded of what Joe Grant told me, what seems like just a few yers ago: "We had the same problems making animated movies back then. It's just that we drew better."

I could argue that the advent and influence of video games has been toxic on animated features from an artistic point of view. Call me crazy, but I kind of believe that.
Yet box office success speaks for itself. Like someone said: "You can't argue with money in Hollywood."

Anyway, tons of appeal in this James Bodrero sketch for FANTASIA.

The master of appeal, Fred Moore.

I remember that these were the first Disney animation drawings I saw as a kid. This photo of Kimball was included in a small brochure that came with a Disney Super-8 film clip.
I kid you not, my heart was racing. Magnetism on a grand scale.

I am confident though that eventually more artistic "left-turns" will be made in animation. 
Art has a way.....


  1. Hi Andreas, I'd be interested to hear your opinions on how video games have influenced animated films. If this is indeed the case, I wonder why exactly Hollywood is taking cues from games.

    The reverse is definitely true - Hollywood is influencing video games. Storytelling in games is maturing more and more at the moment, and is using lessons from film to help it.

  2. I just watched a recent animated feature (non-Disney) on Netflix and was struck by how poor the animation was. Character design was sometimes good, but the animation? Yikes! Yes, it was very similar to the quality of a video game, I thought at the time. The blame must fall, at least partly, on the CGI process. Shading added via computer program gives even the worst animation a slick look that, IMO, disguises the poor animation the same way I hid the flaws in all my art school projects with heavy shading.

    1. The problem as I see it is that there is so much bad animation out there that I'm not sure the general public knows any different anymore. And so production companies, whether in film or in games, just aim for 'passable' because they don't see value in doing better if nobody watching actually notices the lack of quality. Individual animators do their best I'm sure, but I have no doubt that studios don't employ the best animators and they don't give them the time needed to produce excellence. That's a generalization, but a valid one, I feel.