Blending the Old and the New

When it comes to inspiration I keep looking back at Disney's past. For some reason this is the stuff that truly resonates with me. Maybe it's because this is the art I grew up with as a kid or perhaps it's the first Disney work I did as a young artist. In any case, I never seem to get enough of this wonderful art. It's not that the work being done today isn't special in its own right. Yet, for some odd reason it simply doesn't inspire.

The series of illustrations seen here for the Disney Sleeping Beauty refresh are a good example of doing things right. This special storybook will have all new artwork especially created for the publication. Naturally, there have been other storybooks based on the motion picture but the artwork was nothing to write home about. Here, our art director, Jean-Paul has blended the best of both worlds, totally Informed by art created for the motion picture. This includes the beautiful backgrounds of color stylist, Eyvind Earle, and the sketches of the Disney animators. This is a storybook that finally does the movie justice. These beautiful illustrations were created on the computer pretty much like all the art being done today. Even though these are “digital paints” they still capture the marvelous technique of Earle's gouache paintings from the nineteen fifties. In many ways, they almost appear as “frame grabs” from the movie except they're not. What you're seeing here are all new drawings and paintings created especially for the storybook.

In many ways, we're seeing the best of both worlds, aren't we? Young artists are using the digital tools of present day to create the marvelous images from Disney decades ago. The images retain their artistic integrity while allowing the artists enormous range enabled by the technology. I guess it's the perfect blending of art and technology. Unlike today's CGI motion pictures, the technology is completely transparent, and if you ask me, that's exactly the way it should be.