Friday, August 20, 2010

A Classic Cartoon Face In Real Life

Ingrid Bergman has a great facial structure. She has very strong defined bones and then really distinct cheeks, lips and nose and eyes sticking out of, wrapped around and sitting within them.
Unfortunately, in these glamor photos you don't see them quite as well as you can in her movies. I think the publicity department went out of its way to try to hide her most interesting features.
She has a profile that's very exaggerated.
It's like her lower face sticks out way past her forehead.She has a long nose that sticks out and up at a cartoony angle. Again, it's not as evident in these publicity shots.It reminds me of the way Owen Fitzerald drew Starlet O'hara in the 40s comics.I wish I had this comic. Someone scan it and post it!
They also seem to be hiding her overbite. Her upper teeth really stick out and overlap her lower lip.

I love the color in the old photos. Colors seemed to be a lot richer back then. They especially had a way of bringing out fleshtones. Probably with an airbrush, but even in the color movies they did it.Modern movie photography (from the 70s to today) and even publicity shots are dull, bland and flat. I guess anti-glamor is the fashion.

Anyway, Ingrid has a great face to draw but I'll want to do it from a dvd where I can freeze frame the most interesting angles and expressions.

Another thing they tried to hide in the 40s publicity shots was the fact that she has a relatively small forehead compared to her cheeks and jaw. Not what you would think are normal proportions for a pretty girl, but it works.
You can see it in this early photo.
She has exaggerated "nordic features". Can I say that?


Her face got more interesting as she got a bit older. I love how she looks in the Italian films like Europa 51. Maybe losing some baby fat brought out her dynamic skull stucture.


24 comments:

RooniMan said...

Shes a fine woman, with very distinctive features to boot.

Law said...

wow! she's one of my buddy's favorite actresses, but I never knew how splendid was until this post. Thanks for sharing your observations! She's on my list of interesting people now :]

I look forward to seeing the drafts of your character study.

-L

TheGhoul said...

Nordic girls tend to have high cheek bones and have an angular face.They also tend to be tall.Imo there the best looking girls.

Roberto Severino said...

Why John. I didn't know you were an Ingrid Bergman fan yourself? I love drawing her face whenever I watch one of her films and enjoy listening to her lovely Swedish accent. She was such a sophisticated and skilled actress, but yet again, a lot of the female actresses at that time, like Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, Barbara Stanwyck, and many others were also this way. So many different acting styles and techniques to study from just from those five names alone.

Are there any modern movie actresses that you like by the way? Just wondering.

Ron Ferdinand said...

I agree totally about Ingrid. A stunner! Another non-traditional beauty was Alice Faye. I know she was one of the inspirations for the look of Alice Mitchell.

Shawn Dickinson said...

Excellent post

EalaDubh said...

'Modern movie photography (from the 70s to today) and even publicity shots are dull, bland and flat.'

I assume it's because everything gets overlit. This was particularly bad in BBC productions in the 1980s, when directives from on high absolutely forbade the studio lighting to drop below a certain level for the clarity of viewers at home. So you'd get bland, white, sterile episodes of Doctor Who with bland, white, sterile actors walking about bland, white, sterile installation sets, trying to evoke the atmosphere of something like Alien but couldn't be less like it if it tried.

Bonus points if you can guess EXACTLY which stories I'm talking about. :)

fabiopower said...

I like Stromboli!

Rothello said...

I wonder what'd it be like if they still made comics about famous actors in this day and age...

"John C. Reilly's Kooky MidWest Adventures"?
"Clint Eastwood 4 Kidz"
"Mel Gibson Gospel Stories"

And Ingrid Bergman should be on everyone's 'interesting people' list. Wonderful post.

Bill said...

The dullness in todays publicity photos is from the common de-sturated effect that you see in alot of todays movies. Its done to make films look more serious even though I don't know how making almost everyone pale is serious.

cartoonretro said...

Illustrator Earl Oliver Hurst drew that type of face, with the real sculpted noses.

SparkyMK3 said...

Hey John, have you ever considered making your own Rifftrax's or audio commentaries of shorts and movies you like? That way, you won't get into copyright disputes, because the commentaries have to be used alongside the short its commenting on by the listener. I've seen bigshot internet celebrities like James Rolfe of Cinemassacre and Doug Walker of the Nostalgia Critic do it, so do you think you could do that? I LOVE your commentaries of Looney Tunes Vol. 3 with Eddie, so insightful and fun!

Also, what are your ten favorite Popeye shorts?

Thanks if you reply back! I'll appreciate it!

Adam Gunn said...

Women use to have more interesting eyebrows in films back then. I think thick eyebrows can look very attractive on the right girl.

kurtwil said...

Nice study of a talented classic actor!

JK, I'll bet you prefer the look of Kodachrome over Ektachrome photos any day. Although it produced flatter, less dynamic color, Ektachrome won out because it proved far less difficult to process and had greater sensitivity to light.

Heck, Disney's shooting of DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE on dye-transfer Technicolor took so much studio light that the Burbank power substation overloaded and shut down during production!

Elana Pritchard said...

Great eyebrows!

ther1 said...

The way her eyes sparkled in Casablanca puts any anime character to shame.

Andrés Sanhueza said...

I can't speak for the 70's, but I'm pretty aware that with the digital quality of color happens something similar with the digital quality of sound, compared to analogous media. In the parabola shaped 1931 color space chromaticity diagram, the minimum shape you can place "primary" colors is a triangle where each corner is a "primary" color (red, green and blue for light, cyan, magenta and yellow for pigment) and its area contains all the color it can make, but you always end with ton of subtle shades of colors that you just can't get with three colors, so screen colors (with are under a RGB system) is always limited.

In printing you can still can get more colors, though, because you can add more "primary" inks with ease. The default system has cyan, magenta, yellow and black; some others also add light magenta, light cyan, green and orange; and you have the whole Pantone system that add much more inks to create custom specific colors, so working with print in computer is always cumbersome, since you need a printed catalog for reference.

zmerrill said...

"Modern movie photography (from the 70s to today) and even publicity shots are dull, bland and flat. I guess anti-glamor is the fashion."

No, I don't think anti-glamor is the fashion. I think that the photographer for the promotional shot was too cautious, and lapsed into formula (as usual). Most of those not as artistic or as aware of art (including photography), such as the actor usually accept that as "glamor."

Ingrid Bergman with cartoony features, I'd definitely agree there!

Robert said...

The point of the Anchorman poster is to show the contrast between how he imagines himself and how he really is.

He poses himself dramatically but we can see he's still just a pale doof. That's the core concept of the film.

Photographing him with more vivid color or more exotic lighting wouldn't serve the message the poster is trying to get across.

Bec said...

That first image is absolutely stunning!

Some more great images-
http://bit.ly/b0qpjA
http://bit.ly/aDYfab
http://bit.ly/bw7pKv
http://bit.ly/bw7pKv

I find it so heartbreaking to see film photography and the art of the movie poster all but disappear. The abandonment of creative lighting, shadow and colour- basic compositional interest even, takes away all the drama. Mainstream films today will not have the same legacy, not just because of the films themselves but also the generally terrible, lifeless promotional material.

There's nothing worse than the straight-on stare by character/actor... especially if they're raising that one eyebrow....

Steve Hogan said...

She definitely looked like a girl who washed up with Ivory soap and ice cold mountain stream water. I can't believe she'd ever cut a fart, but if she did it would smell like peppermint and true love.

Her daughter was pretty foxy too, although it's diminshed a bit. I think avclub.com ruined it for me a bit in a recent interview with Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald where they asked "You’re working with Isabella Rossellini. Do you think she looks like Dave Foley in drag? "

HemlockMan said...

Damn, she was gorgeous.

You should do some character studies of actress Susan George.

Trevor G. said...

Those photos are gorgeous. Digital cameras are complete and utter garbage. I've never seen one take a good picture in my life. I don't know if its because they make the lenses to curved or what but they are trash.

I think they curve the lenses more so that you can take pictures from closer up, just by zooming out, and it causes really ugly distortions. The lights are too hard and kill any and all color that might have been captured.

But I honestly have to confess I really don't know why they aren't as well made or what it is specifically that makes their pictures come out trashy.

I really feel a lot about the point you made about the colors being completely killed in modern photography. You are right, they were rich and now they are garbage. I honestly wish someone would figure it out.

Maybe the digital conversion of the colors kills it. Because old cameras use negative which simply capture real life light, right? Forgive me if I'm completely wrong about the technical I confess don't know anything about cameras.

But its very easy to see how digital cameras suck hard and how colors were absolutely murdered.

Victor Resistor said...

Apart from the quality of modern photographic images (which is tailored towards mass production) and printing (which is mostly all digital now and hence even if you have a beautiful image it will still be reduced in quality) the style of popular faces have changed over time.

I think sexuality and attraction make up a big part of cartooning which influences us at an early stage. Our preferences of attraction lead us to want to draw certain kinds of faces, I can see that in your art. The things you find cute in your art - the high forehead, the overbite etc. are things that you enjoy drawing and make you happy to see in your pictures and I would guess reality. For me drawing people that someone has dictated the designs and which have faces that you do not find interesting is a pretty painful task.

I think your beautiful people pics shows this in a way. You don't look like you are having that much fun doing most of them as they are not 'character' faces. The films used to be full of character faces, now there are not so many: I guess it’s all tailored towards mass production and a reduction in quality.