Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Uncle Remus by Mary Blair

They should have made some cartoons in this style.

and more Disney Friendssuch a happy style!

18 comments:

Luis María Benítez said...

I wish I had seen these characters in Disney!

HemlockMan said...

I never had any of those. I do, however, have the original illustrated first edition of Chandler Harris' book of Uncle Remus stories.

Roberto Severino said...

Interesting. I wonder if Disney ever considered that possibility himself? Kinda weird how his studio made all these UPA influenced like "Pigs is Pigs" and "Toot, Plunk, Whistle, and Boom" much to Disney's dismay, but they never tried making a cartoon completely in Mary Blair's style.

Esun said...

I like this very two dimensional looking style.


btw John have you ever heard of Harry Patridge? I think he is a very talented animator and cartoonist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdhAzIVC9iw&feature=channel

The Butcher said...

Simpler style than the animated version, but equally visually appealing.

Josh Kenfield said...

Do you think that Disney shorts like Paul Bunyan, were close to this style?

JohnK said...

Not really, no.

I think Paul Bunyan is too clinical and conservative - a misunderstanding of modern design.
It also lacks the fun aspect of Mary's work

RooniMan said...

Mary Blair's art makes me happy.

John A said...

Disney Studios made a few films that were heavily influenced by Mary Blairs designs, Once upon a Wintertime and Johnny Appleseed to name just two.

Unfortunately, the Disney artists would usually try to apply their style of animation to her colors and designs and the results would end up overpowering her work, and not in a good way. All the charm and simplicity that made her work unique got lost when it was put through the Disney homogenizer.

Mary Influenced most of the backgrounds in Alice in Wonderland, a perfect fit for the more dreamlike qualities of her art.

Valerie said...

I have never seen the second book before. I would love to see the pages. The style is so wonderful.

kevin said...

I had these books as a youth ... awsome

Pete Emslie said...

I'll be the voice of (slight) dissent here. John A just mentioned the two films I was going to bring up, particularly "Once Upon a Wintertime", as being pretty true to Mary Blair's design concepts. I run that film in my Character Design class as an example of highly stylized animation that works really well in the way the characters and backgrounds are completely unified in design, yet there is still enough fluidity in the graphic shapes of the characters to allow for full expressive animation. (A lot of rhythmically flowing 'S' curves!)

"Johnny Appleseed" comes close too in remaining faithful to Mary's designs, but the characters have been more fully fleshed out in that traditional Disney manner, allowing for, in my opinion anyway, more personality driven animation than does the character design in "Once Upon a Wintertime". To be honest, I wouldn't want to watch a cartoon that adheres slavishly to Mary Blair's designs, as I find them somewhat limited in terms of real characterization.

I personally think "Johnny Appleseed" hits the right balance of showing off Mary's visually appealing use of shape and colour, while still giving the Disney animators more fully dimensional characters that they can really bring to life. The graphically designed boy and girl in "Wintertime" are appealing but more superficial in their characterization. There is no dialogue in that film and I've often wondered whether those designs would even work well with it.

JohnK said...

I like the colors in Johnny Appleseed, but other than that, that has to be one of the most boring and depressing Disney cartoons of all.

The characters are among the blandest they ever did.

I would have loved to see it drawn exactly in Mary's style - but it would have needed a director with some joy of life.

Winterland looks more stylized and very pretty, but again, in a very clinical way, less organic and free than Mary Blair's originals.

Lampshade said...

Honestly, out of Melody Time, I really like "Trees" for its great mood and atmosphere, and "Blame it on the Samba" for its fun and surrealism; it's one of those things that make you wonder why Disney didn't bother to make more of those kind of cartoons.

Niki said...

I've actually wanted to learn to animate specifically in Miss Mary's style, but of course I'd need your help o do it. I guess I should open up all the bond paper, and learn traditional first; I'll tell you how far I get with it.

kurtwil said...

JK/PeterE, do you see a lot of 3D construction techniques in Mary's work? It seems to be there but the lack of shading cues make it harder to see than some of the other, more obviously 3D-based drawing shown on this site.

Johnny Appleseed had some interesting paths of action and arcs within their character's animation.

Marc Davis had great fondness for Mary Blair, and his house was decorated with ample examples of her work.

Today's vector art in its most basic form can achieve Mary's look, provided the artist knows what to do right.

Tupac Chopra said...

The expository/instructional cutscenes in the Epic Mickey video game are drawn similar to this style (skip to 6:30 to skip past the fully-rendered style used in gameplay). It works quite nicely for the purpose. I'm not a fan of the mumbly pan-European voicing style, but I guess they have to cut corners somewhere.

Tupac Chopra said...
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