Monday, January 01, 2007

ART Lozzi BG painting textures/ theme park water colors

In my posts on bg paintings, I've mostly been talking about color choices. Good color goes a long way in making your backgrounds appealing- good color is a lot more pleasing and effective than a lot of busy detail.

Now I want to talk a bit about texture and brush technique.

I tell all my painters that every stroke they make should be on purpose and should be done with flair and style. Don't just apply paint and push it around and dab it on sloppily.
Below, the paint is just slapped on. The one attempt at texture is the sloppy, ragged old brushes in the tree.

Use an assortment of surface textures:
Like this above: There is a variety of surface textures in the painting. The tree feels like a different substance than the bush which feels different than the grass.

Many painters use the same types of technique and surface texture to describe all surfaces, regardless of what the substances are made of. They just paint the surfaces "wood color" or "rock color" or "flesh color".

Everything is made out of the same rubber in this still, skin, underwear, buildings. There is only one substance in this universe.

This one too. Here's the blotchy airbrush universe.
The smooth shiny universe:


A good cartoon painter can suggest a variety of surfaces with just a few simple techniques-but it takes his artistic taste and control to apply his brush strokes, sponges and pencil shading with confidence and flair.

THAT TAKES PRACTICE! If you are an aspiring painter or just want to try something maybe new, experiment with your brushes and tools and degree of wet paint to paint strokes with flair- just to get your wrist used to applying good looking strokes and textures.

It's the same way with pencil lines. Some artists might have good solid drawings but their finished drawing suffers from awkward sloppy pencil cleanup. Other artists have great finished stylish lines, but maybe don't have a good drawing underneath (this seems to be the style today). You need both. Good knowledge AND good finish.Tom Oreb here has great drawings and great stylish contrasty finish.

So does Freddy Moore:

Here is crummy drawing and NO finish whatsoever. Nothing at all worth the time of an artist or viewer.

There are many painting styles (like Impressionism) where the brush strokes are not as important as what they add up to when you stand at a distance and see them all blended together.

I happen to like less work and more flair and style. This is especially important in animation, because the paintings are not on screen for a long time, and they aren't usually the focus of attention.

You don't have time to look at tons of detail.

So I say "make your details count".

Your colors and your brush techiques should together convey a feeling that enhances the story or mood of the cartoon.


Art Lozzi and Monteleagre were very good at this and that is why their BGS to this day still look so good and are so much fun.

The general feelings they conveyed were fun, silliness, elegance and style.
Look at the way Art uses sponge on the cave to suggest form and rocky texture. The shapes of the sponge areas help make the cave look rounded.


Art has designed a neat way to graphically paint coniferous needle textures. That texture is different than the sponged on texture of the grass.
Note how Art draws on the umbrella shaped needle textures on the bush. Each stroke is clean and careful, no sloppiness and vagueness.

Hey, here are some neat concept sketches Art did for a theme park in 1969. You can tell he did them fast, yet they are still very pretty colors and loose yet confident brush strokes. These are water color, different than the techniques Art used at HB, but still very nice and still his voice.




I found these at a great site called The Imiaginary World.
http://www.theimaginaryworld.com/page4.html
You could spend days there looking at all the fun retro art, toys, cereal boxes and cool stuff. I have.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

those crows in the last painting are great!

Kali Fontecchio said...

This is an incredibly important resource- those textures and techniques are so beautiful! I love the mixture of the pencil and paint brush strokes. And seeing the background coming through the hills and clouds. It works so well, because that's how nature works, atmospheric depth and all that. Everything works harmoniously, and understanding how he builds up layers with different kinds of textures is making me so excited! I've been so inspired lately because of those yogis etc. I'm going to force myself to learn how to paint.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, John!

It's time for another one of my completely off-topic questions:

http://timkellyscartoonblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/when-rooster-crows-1980.html

Hope you can help me out with this! Thanks in advance if you can!

eminkey2003 said...

Hey John, I came to your blog today looking for some color tips, but in this post you mentioned texture and simple, less detailed BG's. If you have time, could I get your opinion on these super-detailed BG's from the anime Tokyo Godfathers? I think they have some great color choices and a pretty varied range of textures:

http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/2767/0305er5.jpg
http://img92.imageshack.us/img92/7454/0306qb9.jpg
http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/6589/0307az1.jpg
http://img108.imageshack.us/img108/1259/tokyogodfathers004js1.jpg
http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/7430/tokyogodfathers006my7.jpg

Thanks!

Shawn said...

I can see how the backgrounds from the original Ren and Stimpy episodes were influenced by Art Lozzi, but the backgrounds for the new episodes look different. What artists influenced the new look?

Dave_the_Turnip said...

I think that's an important lesson that i definitely need to adhere to. Every line must have a meaning.

When i draw my own stuff, my characters are fairly simplistic so there's no problem there, but whenever i try any type of pen shading, lines go everywhere. I'm gonna now try to make a conscious effort to make every line truly count.

Anonymous said...

Those theme park things are amazing(well, so are the bgs but man! the watercolors!...yummy).

How did he get that vibrancy with watercolor? Think he used Dr. Martins there?
The tutorial-analysis you give is indispensable-thanks!

Anonymous said...

i liked the r/stim stuff where you would pee on a big plate of baking powder and drop a nail to rust for a week on it. no reference to anything. some of the looped hanna barbera stuff was just pure goddam beauty. im talking the first scooby douche and before. watercolors comin out the wazoo in spayed peacock glory.

space madness is up there with that mars and beyond goof ass cooties that kimball had cookin in the background. go dog go.

GG said...

The theme park must be Six Flags right?
The Okefenokee Swamp is where the art is found (I assume)

GG said...

I must be showing my age.
From what I've read on the 'net.
The "Okefanokee Swamp" (SP?) at Six Flags Over Georgia was renamed to "The Monster Plantation" in the 80's.

Here is what the Monster Plantation looks like.
http://themeparkreview.com/photos/sfog/plantation.htm

I wish I could find a picture of the "Okefanokee Swamp" at Six Flags Over Georgia.

1981: The Tales of the Okefenokee is remodeled and renamed The Monster Plantation. Jean Ribaut's Adventure riverboat ride is closed.

Does the Monster Plantation ride still exist? It's been a while since I've been to Six Flags Over GA.

GG said...

One last comment.
Of course since the amusement pics were done in the last sixties, the Okefanokee Swamp was based on Uncle Remus, Brer Rabbit, etc.

Anonymous said...

Those BG's are absolutely Amazing!... Thanks for sharing!

Lord Turbine said...

While I try and do my own character designs, I've actually been testing them on different backgrounds, and it's hard to find a correct background and character color mix - maybe that's because I like using odd color choices for my characters, I have no idea.

Is it better to aim for more subtle or more flashy background colors if I'm aiming for a unique color scheme?

Anonymous said...

I don't know who's web site this is but he has 3 pictures of the Okeefenokee Ride from the early '70s.

www.planetburdett.com/chris/vacationpics/index4.html

Anonymous said...

Some artists might have good solid drawings but their finished drawing suffers from awkward sloppy pencil cleanup.

That's my biggest problem. I'm terrible at clean-up. (So, how I got a job doing clean up at an animation studio in Halifax 2 years ago is a divine mystery to me).
I find that my drawings have a nice energy to them in the rough stage but a good chuck of that is drained away when I add a clean up line. My hand tends to wobble a bit, possibly due to impatience or something like that. That's something I DEFINITELY need to work on.

Chloe Cumming said...

Hi John, and happy new year!

Interesting to see that new Lozzi stuff, different but still robust and dynamic. One envies these qualities.

Your sensibilities re painting techniques are making an impact on my work I think, I find it all very stimulating and I'm working it all through slowly and hesitantly like a timid little (sloppy and vague?) English vole, but there is a lot to chew on here.

But I feel you're shared a lot of precious logic-tools that are sharpening up my eyeballs and sharpening up that sense of purpose that I suppose you need in order to make purposeful marks in the first place.

R2K said...

: )

Jorge Garrido said...

Great theme park pics! Man, Art is a living treasury.

A good finish is what I really need. My lines suck!

Marlo has some of the best linework I've ever seen. The quick sketches she did for comic-con really looked polished but apparently she did them in 2 seconds!

Anonymous said...

Niiiice!!! Like alll your posts this makes me want to paint and draw!

xtracrsP said...

JohnK:-
"There are many painting styles (like Impressionism) where the brush strokes are not as important as what they add up to when you stand at a distance and see them all blended together."

You seem to have misunderstood the impressionists. Every brush stroke is calculated and deliberate, make no mistake. They were most concerned with light and of course it's not practical to take out a large canvas and paint a scene before the lighting changed. So they would go out with 'sketch pads' and do very quick studies in water colours for example. Then they would go back to their studios and meticulously apply the oil paints onto canvas. With every stroke thought about and possibly agonised over. That's why it took them months and even years to complete one piece.
It can be accepted that you prefer other style paintings, and even accepted that you hate the impressionist style (it is after all an aesthetic and everyone is entitled to their opinions on how they favour it). But unacceptable to have the judgement that it is some kind of version of a Stereogram, where if you cross your eyes, squint, and clench your buttocks, the picture will magically appear before you. Infact the same principles which Art Lozzi uses to build up his paintings from seemingly fragmented parts to create that final whole is similar to impressionistic painting style ( the impressionists doing it on a grander scale due to the luxury of longer time they have to spend on theirs). Casual observers of a Lozzi background may comment for example 'I like it, it's got scribbles', and that would be as unjust a comment as your flyaway observations on what was important to those artists.
You may ask my forgiveness.

GG said...

Rogelio T.,

Yep.
Those pics brings back memories.
I wonder what they did with all the artwork that Art did?
Seems like the work that he did on the swamp at Six Flags would be worth a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Nice images. I showed some of you posts about backgrounds and color theory to a friend of mine who's going to work with me on that project I mentioned to you a while back. He's been inspired.

I gotta say though, I think you're a bit harsh on some of the Pixar stuff. I can't say I cared for "Cars" as a whole picture, but their desert/mountain scenes are stunning. Maybe they aren't creatively stylish, in a sense that the artists are limited by their tools, like Art, but they still make beautiful images. Those are just my dos centavos.

Julia Lundman Midlock (Julie) said...

luv this post John.

Julia Lundman Midlock (Julie) said...

luv this post John.

Julia Lundman Midlock (Julie) said...

i think there is a post monster eating my posts.

Jorge Garrido said...

Actually, John, in defense of The Incredibles, the director said he intentionally made the skin appear rubbery because he didn't want it to be realistic.

Human skin in Toy Story is very realistic, so is stubble, and it all looks different than wood and plastic. But realism is over-rated anyway.

elmlish said...

Hello and happy new year.

Thanks for these continued great posts. Do you know if the artists here ever used anything like a visual style guide, or did they just work word of mouth to ensure that quality and style would stay relatively high and similar? If so, have you ever seen one? Did you use anything like a style guide in your projects?

Keep up the great stuff. It's wonderful being able to see all this stuff accompanied by great commentary and analysis.

Thanks,
elmlish

Anonymous said...

Go to http://texuanze.blogspot.com/

akira said...

hi john et al
the monthly archive links aren't working anymore... any idea if they'll return to working functionality?

thanks for continuing with the lozzi articles. it's great to see some of his post HB work!... here's a book idea for john: cover the whole animation process and each section will concentrate on a certain aspect of it such as storyboard, rough animation, cleanup, etc... and in each section you'll have a guest expert/veteran/specialist... of course the background artist chapter would be starring Art Lozzi.. Damn i'd buy that for $60. keep the art lozzi stuff coming, and more hanna barbera stories too please.(what the heck maybe even some more art lozzi hanna barbera stories?)

Anonymous said...

Hey! Happy new year John!

And for everyone:
new update! animation site:
http://kinetoscopioblog.blogspot.com/

*Ryan Larker *Robert Crumb *Amanda Forbis *Wendy Tilby *John Kricfalusi *Tex Avery *Jack Kirby *Andre Franquin
*Monty Python *Hideaki Anno *Hayao Miyazaki *Henry Selick *The Quay Brothers and more and more!!!
See ya

K. said...

Hey John -
You've got some stills from "Incredibles" and "Cars" in there - and I think the points you make in regards to them are spot on. But let's say someone made the excuse for them, "Well, that's different, that's 3D, how are you supposed to implement the same concepts in 3D space without turning everything into matte-painting-planes?" What would be your response to that? I ask because I know that the above is no real excuse - but I have no idea how I'd answer that.

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Wow, I love the needles on the top picture, and the spooky singing watermelons!

Anonymous said...

Hey John,
I'm art director for a media convention in the bay area and I want to propose to them THE John K as a guest, but I can't find any actual booking contact for you besides commenting here. I saw you when you "Saved San Francisco" and would love to hear more in person. Can you email me Sean@itsnotart.com with contact info to pass onto the chairmen. Thanks!

Raff said...

>> "Well, that's different, that's 3D, how are you supposed to implement the same concepts in 3D space without turning everything into matte-painting-planes?"

Deep Canvas software.

Behold.

Unfortunately, it's proprietary software from what I hear, and Disney isn't using it anymore themselves for economic reasons.

"If I can't have it, no one will!"
- Skeletor

Atta said...

Hi John!

Im' a frequent visitor of your blog, and enjoy re-reading your older posts, but of recently this feature has become unavailable to my great disappointment. I was wondering if you were aware of this, or if possible could fix it so I agian can enjoy your animation lessons, an other great stuff from the early month of yor blogging career.

Thanks
Atta Havlykke
Denmark

Anonymous said...

John, what do you have to say to people who watch animation and just don't give a shit? I'm drinking your kool aid, but people don't watch The Simpsons because they enjoy brush strokes in the background. It's more than just background, too. It's everything you've been saying. Colors. Composition. Everything. How do you convince people that they need quality when they're already happy with the crap they get on TV? How do you fight the battle against viewer apathy?

K. said...

Raff -

Disney? Squander their artistic resources for the sake of mere dollars-and-cents? Unthinkable.

That's a really interesting clip - thanks for the link. A somewhat similar method doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility for the rest of us with any recent software package, if sufficient quantities of elbow grease and Wacom-gadgets are at hand.

Freckled Derelict said...

Another great post!
Thanks John

Anonymous said...

Chris V _ I don't think its a question of viewer apathy. I like the Simpsons, (although the most recent series aired on British Telly is very strange and not very Simpsons like at all.) in fact I think its great.

I think John K asks some important questions, the unfortunate thing is that he answers them, and answers them bluntly.

People choses visual styles for a reason. What would happen if Mike Leigh or Ken Loach filmed James Bond?

Is it unreasonable to find merit in both a James Bond (in all his cheesey glory), and Mike Leigh and Ken Loach films?

When I look at a Le Corbusier building, should I think - thats a load of boring old bollocks please give me a plethora of Victorian ornamentation and frippery?

Is it possible for the very simpelist of visual styles to look good? Is it possible for them to convey information, as well, or better, than more detailed peices of work? Is it possible for detailed or plain works to convey the information equally well, whilst both remain asthetically pleasing?

When can I stop arseking questions?

Anonymous said...

Chris V _ I don't think its a question of viewer apathy. I like the Simpsons, (although the most recent series aired on British Telly is very strange and not very Simpsons like at all.) in fact I think its great.

I think John K asks some important questions, the unfortunate thing is that he answers them, and answers them bluntly.

People choses visual styles for a reason. What would happen if Mike Leigh or Ken Loach filmed James Bond?

Is it unreasonable to find merit in both a James Bond (in all his cheesey glory), and Mike Leigh and Ken Loach films?

When I look at a Le Corbusier building, should I think - thats a load of boring old bollocks please give me a plethora of Victorian ornamentation and frippery?

Is it possible for the very simpelist of visual styles to look good? Is it possible for them to convey information, as well, or better, than more detailed peices of work? Is it possible for detailed or plain works to convey the information equally well, whilst both remain asthetically pleasing?

When can I stop arseking questions?

cemenTIMental said...

Deep Canvas was originally developed for disney by/with Ghibli I believe, as part of their deal.

I certainly haven't seen it used anywhere NEAR as well in a disney film than in Ghibli one.

Quite a lot of anime these days use painted textures on 3d models to great effect.

Also there's some amazing watercolour style GC stuff in the "Ghiblies" shorts and also throughout "My Neighbors the Yamadas"... really beautiful.

However I don't think John's saying that CGI films should have fake paint effects on them, but rather they should apply the same colour and texture theories as in the good examples he posted.

I thought the Incredibles actually did pretty well texture-wise (and had better lighting than that constant super-golden-hour glow they often do) tho that particular still does suffer from the problems John pointed out.

Anonymous said...

A little bit unfair to blam a Pixar Cars character as Shiny and plastic when said character is, well...a car, and a car that likes to spray paint himself with glitter every other day, at that. I don't see all too many cars on the road with soft, warm, natural colors on them, let alone hot rods. That's like comparing a tree to an oil tank. Use nature scenes from your "bad" examples instead, then maybe they can be compared with all these Yogi Bear forest shots you love so much =)

Anonymous said...

John, I'm so glad you're posting this stuff for my and everyone's edification.

PEOPLE! To make the archive links work... simply:
1. Click the link
2. Get the error page
3. Fix the typo eg:
johnkstuff.blogspot.com/rchives/ to
johnkstuff.blogspot.com/archives/
4. Enjoy

Anonymous said...

john -

glad yo found a way to work the Swamp artwork into your discussion of backgrounds - I always enjoy hearing your take on stuff

thanks

dan

Robert said...

To complain that the uniforms in "Incredibles" are too uniform... ha! It's about economy and simplicity and drawing the eye to where the artist wanted it to go. Waht would be gained in that shot by further texturing the uniforms? I'd say "Incredibles" is a wonderful example of how CG does not need to be hyper-detailed. Not that anyone paid attention. The buildings... looks like concrete and glass to me, not plastic. And the concrete is rather subtley nuanced. It's not "Hey, look at this concrete!", it's don't-get-in-the-way-of-the-story concrete.

Anonymous said...

While everyone is busy defending Pixar and 3-d....how about the Simpsons? Do not crop the composition, then judge the background, for one thing. For another, the design of the character is fantastic and the background fits into this world of Homer and his family. 3-d is non-defensibile..it always looks like 3-d, even with Gollom in Lord of The Rings, and all the extra work they did to try to improve it.
When Gollom throughs his weight around, like when he gets the ring at last, theovement is stiff and unconvincing.

If we should knock anything, it should be that. These days we can do anything on screen, and in some ways, it has taken out the magic of story. Now we have become desensitized to outrageous happenings in stories. No one marvels at how something was done..we all know how it was done.
Only those who really make the effort, and they did in Lord of The Rings, to push the technology over the top use 3-d effetively. But in general use this extra effort is not being made, I would prefer live action. Think of Buster Keaton and all those amazing stunts he did...or the stop motion wonder of "Nightmare Before Christmas."

Captain Napalm said...

>While everyone is busy defending Pixar and 3-d....how about the Simpsons? Do not crop the composition, then judge the background, for one thing. For another, the design of the character is fantastic and the background fits into this world of Homer and his family.<

The solidly coloured backgrounds worked when they still involved paint, overlays and natural exposure effects. And better staging. Also, Homer's face is terribly constructed in that shot. In the mid-period seasons the key drawings were pretty solid, and even the Korean stuff didn't fall apart the way you'd expect. And there was actual acting and subtle colour schemes -well, subtle compared to anything since Art Lozzi, who's way better than......anyone, really. I mean, am I wrong?

Actually, at it's best The Simpsons could convey a certain feel quite effectively. "Homer the Heretic" IS a punishingly frigid winter's day. Meanwhile the interiors are just impossibly "toasty" - so many warm browns and light salmon pinks and deep brown-reds, and those angles, and THAT football dance......ah, Jim Reardon. Actually, that's a question worth asking: if The Simpsons is really such a primitive, unstimulating, smug waste of time, how come the guy who wrote the "Don't Touch That Dial" episode of Mighty Mouse spent ten years working on it when he could have easily gotten profitable work elsewhere? And then joined in on the DVD audio commentaries and sounded HAPPY?

thatoneanon said...

It's amazing what a difference texture makes.