Artist of the Week : 1) Ken Anderson
Each week I intend to select an artist to feature and learn more about.
For now I will be picking artists from Don Hahn's "Top 25 Visual Artists and Designers that every student of animation should know" (found on donhahn.com)
The first installment, and the top of the list alphabetically, is Ken Anderson.
For now, instead of writing a bio and notes about each one, I'll just be pointing out a few things from the artist that are particularly interesting to me.
Ken Anderson worked in many different areas in the Disney company, art direction, production design, and even designing areas of Disneyland. One thing that I found interesting is Anderson's influence over the style of a period of Disney films. He apparently was largely responsible for the use of Xeroxes instead of tracing the animator's lines onto cells manually. This innovation saved millions of dollars and much time in production, yet drastically altered the look of the films. Coming from the very finely controlled lines of previous films, particularly noted in Sleeping Beauty, this new harsh black outline style must have appeared a bit jarring. Supposedly Walt Disney himself was not too pleased with this look after 101 Dalmatians was released, the first film to use the method.
The look of films such as 101 Dalmatians, Jungle Book, Robin Hood, and The Sword in the Stone, is a nice departure from the more classical Disney style. I like the energy and life that shows through by skipping the translation of tracing the drawings onto cells. It's a more raw approach that seems to flow directly from the animators. I wouldn't want all of the films to look like this, but I appreciate the ones that do. This style is also very much in line with Anderson's personal sketches and storyboards.
Here's a nice documentary on Ken and his work