Tuesday, February 9, 2021


The characters in this beautiful story sketch from Sleeping Beauty are depicted in dark silhouettes. The final frame from this sequence doesn't go as far, standard colors were used instead. This type of staging reminds me of the incredible work by German animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger (1899 - 1981)

In 1926 she completed her animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed. All done in silhouette animation. Just astounding. You can read her life's story in this Wikipedia page:


Disney of course applied this aesthetic in certain scenes for numerous films like Bambi and Fantasia. There is something pure and beautiful about animation in silhouette. You don't have the subtleties of interior drawing and definition. Everything is communicated through body language. 

A while ago a analyzed the importance of a clear silhouette in traditional animation:



  1. It's great to see Lotte Reiniger mentioned here! I love her work, and as a Mozart enthusiast I especially love her work based on his music.
    Also, seeing a post from 2011 reminds me that there's a big blog anniversary coming this June :)

  2. Very nice! The Sleeping Beauty sketch looks like it could be a set for a stage production. Who was the artist?

    Side request: I read somewhere that you were interested in animating Esmeralda for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I would like to see a post in the future, if you have any sketches or character designs you made at that time for her.

    Thanks for all of the posts!

  3. Going to go find this and rent/buy it. saw some snippets on You tube and it's very interesting. Also came across this book (https://www.amazon.com/Lottes-Magical-Paper-Puppets-Animated/dp/1624149413)"Lotte's magical paper puppets"(children's book). With kids of my own that are interested in animation I think I'll give this a go too! Thanks again for the recommendation!

  4. Also found this documentary about her and her process/work. Very interesting.