Monday, February 12, 2007

Rojankovsky-drawing skill plus design and fun

Wow! Look how well people could draw and paint a mere half a century ago!
Rojankovsky's art is not only good anatomy and perspective; each drawing here is a graphic design.
The complex compositions not only each work as a single strong statement, each component part is a graphic design in itself that neatly fits into the larger scheme. Amazing.
I sure envy the drawing skills people used to have. They must have had killer art schools back then.


Imagine what you could do with your cartoons if you had this much technical skill. You'd be able to make a million creative choices, rather than having to be tied down to what your pencil will allow.


Rojankovsky can not only do realistic animals and backgrounds, he can do simpler cartoonier graphics that still show his deep knowledge of fundamentals.This house is a unique but organic shape and form made up of lots of smaller, equally interesting and fun forms.

These birds are painted with almost flat color, yet you can still completely feel their anatomy, from the artist's careful well studied silhouettes.
To think that all this work, study and talent went into mere kids' books! What a time that was.

34 comments:

Ryan G. said...

Awesome textures on the animals!

John A said...

I blame television. While kids are zoning out in front of the box, they're being fed stories about people accomplishing things without any effort. We have a whole generation (or two)that never had to apply themselves, and our society rewards mediocrity with corner offices, while the people that put in the hard work are kicked to the curb.

Hryma said...

Beutiful, sweet, fantastic, genious, amazing.
Thanks for sharing John and cheering me up, I'm really hating my job at the moment and needed to see something that can make you smile and feel like there is good in this world (I work in the news and see shit everyday).
I think I might have some 'snap' cards with his work on it at home I'll go search and post soon

Kali Fontecchio said...

The colors are so rich, and the characters so fun! Everyone tried to steal the book away from me.

Besides being pretty on the outside, it's hilarious. There's a short story in that book about an elephant and a giraffe running over a rhino with a tank. Pretty neat-o!

akira said...

cool! thanks for introducing us to yet another master artist!

do you know what kind of training these kinds of guys did actually have? did they do a lot of copying masterpiece paintings and figure drawing or did they just have more time to practice since the internet and cable tv hadn't been invented yet?
(i gotta say i don't like the polka dots though!)

Rafi said...

couldn't agree more man - what an incredibly creative period! those guys had some serious SKILL and FLARE! very inspiring visuals. I'm striving to get to that kind of place too - one where I have the fundamentals down so strong I can get liberated.

great stuff, keep em coming!

Jeff said...

Oof these are sexy. Btw I think its funny in previous posts when you cut on the sour state of animation like after WWII had sunk in (although there are quite a few factors, whole factories of em even). Folks may be out of counterarguments for the forum, but diss on man, diss on. Thanks for all the exposure and the hijinks arr. We enthusiasts owe you one. May the toolboxfactories be put to rest one day.

dieselcreek said...

Wow, there is a sharpness to his edges and use of patterns that make the paintings seem almost collage-like.

Ever go through a Graphic Artists Guild's Directory of Illustration? You would think that a 2 inch thick book in full color would be a joy to look at; but no, most everything is overdone glossy stylistic nonsense. An overload of full spectrum colors and ridiculous minute details.

This is not to say there aren't good illustrators out there, because there are many. It's just that, like photography, there are too many fighting to get your attention.

Same goes for graphic design. Just because you can use illustrator, photoshop, InDesign or dreamweaver does not make you a graphic designer. There is a lot of theory involved that pushing vector images around a computer screen cannot teach.

The first thing you learn in design school is that the computer is nothing more than a tool- pen and paper should always be the first step in creating anything.

Sorry for the rant.

Those sure are some purty pictures....


.

Ben said...

Man, Rojankovsky has some really good sense of form and color. His skills are something every artist should envy.

Oh and John, do you think you could post the finished product of Katie's birthday drawing? I was looking for some of the lessons and came over the post.

-Ben

Max Ward said...

I always wonder why people from half a century ago are so much more intelligent, skilled, and cultured than people nowadays.
Even people who follow the advice of days passed and follow in their footsteps are no where near is skilled. It is like we are disabled.

S.G.A said...

I have that book, you should've posted the pic of the fox and rabbit at sunset outside the house...
Never thought I 'd read a post about him.
What do you think of Scarrys' painted work?

S.G.A said...

What about tibor Gregory , or Garth Williams?

Rodrigo said...

That second scan is amazing. It looks like a hybrid between a scene composition and a pattern graphic.

And those textures on the the hippo are nice on the eyes.

Would these kind of visuals translate well in animated form? According to Ollie and Frank, Mary Preston's designs couldn't translate well. I'd like to think they were wrong.

Oh btw, I just saw Frizt the Cat for the first time, and I was thoroughly impressed. I didn't think pulp and cartoony cartoons could actually work together, but Bakshi pulls it off.

It's also particularly funny after being fresh out of one of those hippie-sissy indoctrinating Universities.

Rodrigo said...

And by Mary Preston, I meant Mary Blair. :D

Rob said...

That stuff reminds me of a book I still have by Pierre Probst called "Caroline and her Friends." I had a crush on Caroline when I was 5.

Jenny said...

Really beautiful.

Ryan G. said...

Hey John. Are you familiar with Joanna Quinn ?

stiff said...

Amazing! The textures on the fur are beautiful! And the musculature on the lion's head is even visible--good luck finding that in the Lion King.

I know it's kindof a different thing altogether (much more ordered and mathematical), but since you mention graphic design, do you have any thoughts on Escher? I've always liked his stuff that had less to do with the repeated designs--the manipulations of perspective and whatnot.

Anyway, as always, thanks for pointing out something new to me. I love that you keep giving me more analytical tools, and then more material to which to apply them. I dunno if I'll ever work for you, but at least I'm learning from you.

Blue said...

Hey John,
Every once in a while, you mention certain comic artists who were skilled in both illustrative and animation techniques. I'm a teenager interested in a career in both comics and animation - are there are comic artists who you think really use solid animation techniques in there work? A few that come to my mind are Osamu Tezuka, Winsor McKay, Hayao Miyazaki, Will Eisner, and Carl Banks. Any others you suggest I keep an eye out for?
Thanks!

The Mighty Robolizard said...

Blaming things is fun but rarely sensical...
He's obviously Russian, and growing up there, I remember this being more or less the style books were drawn. That hippo and that house in particularly. Constructionism. Its great to see this get some play in America. Yayness.

Shawn said...

Wow! That page with the underwater art is fantastic!

cemenTIMental said...

I always wonder why people from half a century ago are so much more intelligent, skilled, and cultured than people nowadays.
Even people who follow the advice of days passed and follow in their footsteps are no where near is skilled. It is like we are disabled.

Could be worse, think how people will feel after the apocalypse, looking back at our time! :)

These are indeed really nice illustrations!! THanks John!

Jennifer said...

Wow - those works of art are breathtaking. The amazing thing is these were in children's books. I want one of those sketches!

JohnK said...

Hi Ryan

Joanna's great. I'm gonna link to her in a post coming up.

Thanks!

Raff said...

>> I blame television. <<

I think that's only the tip of the iceberg.

My blame goes on two things:

1 - All these electronic distractions, the BIGGEST of which is computers and especially the internet. The focus of gratification is taken off of accomplishment, and on to getting what you feel like grabbing at that moment.

2 - Growing popular myths replacing real trial and error. Examples: Subtle means "watered down". "More" looks like "worth more money" and attracts bigger investors.

Soos said...

I like that first drawing especially. What tools is he using?

chris said...

Wow, these really remind me of books I had as a kid. I can recall "The Saggy Baggy Elephant" squirrelled away at my cottage, waiting for me each summer.

I'm starting to remember why I ever began drawing in the first place.

Thanks for the re-inspiration, John.

The Butcher said...

Okay, those are just fucking beautiful.

Brent "Sol" said...

check Vancouver artist Ryan Heshka, he's one of my local faves...he emulates this illustration style fairly well I'd say

http://www3.telus.net/public/a8a17003/index.html

Paul B said...

Hi John!
wow, the elefant is great!

i like the mix of reality and cartoony

keep posting, good luck with the raketu stuff and please come to my blog, i post a pencil test!!

see you later!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Wooow!!!!! Rojankovsky was a genius! I just hope he made some serious money for his efforts. Did he get paid the same as someone who did minimalist graphics?

the plummer said...

alas, talented people are such a rare breed now. it's not "hip" to be talented anymore; it's not rebellious enough...didn't you get the memo?

ha haaa.

Marcelo Souza said...

The feeling that I get looking at those is the same one I had as a child, you want to jump right into the book and live in that world. There's a sense of security and warmth in those old, beatiful illustrations.

Andreas said...

What you said about killer art schools back in the day rings true with me. My favorite books on drawing are older than my parents (I am 32), and I notice a distinct difference between the older "Famous Artists School" binders and the newer ones, just a decade or so on. I like the older binders much better than the newer ones (50's vs late 60's and early 70's). Also, I would have to say, there were probably fewer MBAs, and people with marketing degrees that "know" what the people want back in those days. Who knew an artist's job better than an artist? We need a John K School of Awesome Art... oh wait, we have that in your blog.