Friday, January 16, 2009

Frazetta Caricatures Composition 18

Frank Frazetta became a master at composition and hierarchy - so much so that his work is almost a caricature of artistic control. Everything in his images fits so perfectly together that it's almost unnatural - even though he is using guidance from a great observation of nature.His images read instantly. I shrunk these down to show how the whole big picture is a blatant graphic design. If you click them and then look at the larger image, you can see how every level of sub forms and details fits within and flows along the larger forms and graphic statements.

The differences between Frazetta and good animation cartoonists are in individual skill and style, not so much in fundamentals. Frazetta can draw much better than most cartoonists (or anybody else). He also can control more levels of complex detail, and difficult elaborate structures - like anatomy.
But he doesn't let his complex knowledge and skill become a disorganized jumble of visual information (like modern superhero comics).
His compositions are as controlled as Milt Gross' or Harvey Kurtzman in his early years.
This idea of extreme composition and artistically controlled staging used to be popular among great movie directors. It was an essential part of their jobs.

John Ford could possibly be the most extreme of extremes.
He made caricatures of movies. The images in his films are so strikingly graphic that I find them beautiful and funny at the same time. They are almost cartoons. Imagine if life was this planned?

Most old time movie directors were artists. They were visual storytellers and used their sense of staging and cutting to tell their stories in the most personally controlled ways.

Modern movies - like modern everything - have a much more random haphazard feeling, as if the creators really don't have any idea of what they are trying to say. Big budget movies look like expensive home movies to me these days. They just follow a handful of trends and hope they win the luck of the draw with audiences. "Blow more sh*t up!" seems to be today's measure of quality.