Alright, so last post I briefly introduced you to some of my methods for "world building" - constructing the visual principles and aesthetics that will govern the world of Burp's Christmas. I focused primarily on character design. I gave you guys a brief glimpse at my process and the things I consider when conjuring up my characters. Now I want to start sharing some of my inspirations with you. In the next three posts or so I want to write about the artists I turn to when I'm designing characters.
The first two artists I'm going to mention aren't animators, although they did cut their teeth in the animation industry. They are Alice and Martin Provensen, children's book illustrators.
The Provensens began illustrating books together in the 1940s and have since created a wide collection of award winning works. Their graphic style is very indicative of that 50s era - a time when animation design was pushed and pulled in many exciting directions (the reverberations of which can be felt very strongly in my own designs). Though they were published way before our collective births, folks of my generation might still remember seeing the Provensen's art in Little Golden Books. Martin has since passed (1987), though Alice continues working to this day. For more biographical information, check out Wikipedia or this blog entry here to find out more about the couple.
Though the Provensens weren't animators, I feel their designs would work very well in animation - specifically in After Effects cut-out animation, the medium I'm pursuing. Most of their designs look similar to construction paper cut-outs, though I believe they are painted with acrylic. They are very graphic - their bodies look like they would "joint" well, and the illustrations are ripe with texture, one of the aforementioned benefits with animating with cut-outs vs. traditional hand drawn.
Lastly - here's an interesting tidbit. Before Tony the Tiger laced his frosted flakes with steroids and became the generically designed sports enthusiast we know him as today, he hung out with Groucho Marx and rocked a beautiful character design by Martin Provensen, leaving me to close by saying this about the couple: They're greeeaaat!