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Resources – Refinished Backgrounds from Animation

Norm’s recent post about the Art of Tangled Book is what brought this site to mind for me. It’s an amazing resource when you are looking for inspiration or masterfully executed background paintings.

Animation Backgrounds!! I ran across this site a while ago and what a wonderful resource of inspiration and masterful paintings it is! An amazing collection of backgrounds from animation features from Disney, Warner Brothers and various other traditional animation companies. He covers both long and short formats. From Feature length movies to Saturday morning shorts!

Rob Richards is a professional award winning organ player. Imagine That! Thank goodness for us that he also has a huge love and affection for animated fare.

Rob was a fan of animation cells. This online collection grew from that adoration. He would take multiple snapshots of a single scene and combine them using Photoshop to recreate the backgrounds sans any characters.

The beauty of this is you get to see the backgrounds unadulterated. The lavish watercolor backgrounds of Lilo and Stitch. The extraordinary gouache backgrounds of Pinochio. Take your time to re-familiarize yourself with these backgrounds and see how much their style differs from flick to flick and how much those differences create a completely different character and tone for every movie or animated short.

This speaks a great deal to how this tool can be used to influence and help enhance how we approach the backgrounds and settings in our children’s books and stories. I can honestly say that I am a victim of this. I let my personal style be more dominant and more important than the story. I tend to have a fairly muted palette but it would be silly for me to think that that palette is appropriate for EVERY story I work on. Some stories will call for a brighter tone. Some will call for more stylized houses, characters and items. As artists, it’s very important that we always try to bring the uniqueness of each story to life.

The studios we love so much and whose movies we love so much take a great deal of time developing the look, feel and style of each project they work on individually. As storytellers we should be doing that too. Always fighting to expand our visions to include the appropriate look and feel for each story we encounter.

So go back and rediscover the backgrounds of your favorite animated flick or short. See what made it special and stand out to you. Then figure out ways to integrate those same things back into the stories you work on. Best of luck!

8 Comments

  1. Patti Gay

    These are really beautiful!

    Reply
    • WilsonWJr

      Aren’t they Patti! Definitely check out that blog! Sometimes these backgrounds flick across the screen so fast we don’t get the chance to really appreciate them in all their beauty.

      Also, I would be interested in an interview! I’m honored you asked! Let me know!

      -Wilson W, Jr.

      Reply
  2. Steven Correa

    I found Robs link about 2years ago and I added him to my list of favs. I was so amazed on how he is able to transform backgrounds, when i am watching an animated movie, backgrounds r my favs, i try to study them but scenes go to quickly! Until i stumbled across Robs link, i was so excited to see BGs and just study them for as long as i wanted to.

    Reply
  3. Jeanne

    Such talent! The art work is wonderful and imaginative. So glad I visited. Hope you can stop by. http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com
    Best of luck to you!
    Jeanne

    Reply
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