I have HUNDREDS of bookmarks of blogs and websites of artists, not to mention following people on deviantart, images from other artists that I've saved onto my computer, art of books, graphic novels, manga, comics, dvds... to narrow it down to but a few influences will be tricky. I feel magpie-like when it comes to this.
HOWEVER, I shall persevere. There are no doubt people I'm going to miss out. This may be in some particular order, it may not, let's just see where it takes us. (Prepare for rambling and nostalgic tangents.)
Teen Titans (bear with me on this one)
|Cool drawings by Brianne Drouhard aka. potato farm girl|
What can I say? I was young and foolish (about 13 to be precise). I had little access to actually watching real, honest-to-goodness-made-in-Japan anime that I thought looked so cool and different. The choices were limited. Cartoon Network was offering me an American substitute, so I took them up on that offer. All in all, I still think it's a decent show, but the point of this entry is that it was probably what kick-started my desire to enter the field of animation. I would study these episodes, trawl the internet for production art (model sheets and sketches being particualrly coveted). I would then redraw the characters, put them into my own little comic stories that are now ridiculously embarrassing to remember. It made me curious about the animation process, led me to find blogs and websites of artists, gave me the drive to draw.
And I will forever have a soft spot for Beast Boy...
I was one of those aspiring artists just a tad obsessed with anime and manga in my early teens, and got stuck in an art rut. It came to a point when I realised I wanted to stop trying to imitate this way of drawing characters. It wasn't me. Neither was copying 90s Disney. I was getting down about it. Then I found it - the Funny Cute blog. I hadn't seen anything like it before... and yet I had. There was all sorts of influences getting poured into her drawings(anime/manga, Warner Bros, Disney, European comic art... loads more no doubt), but they were utterly unique. And so, being young(er), I started copying her a bit instead. She made me realise that you could combine influences - thats sounds like a no-brainer, but it was a revelation to me at the time. Bring on the hybrid art!
Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata (and pretty much any other person at Studio Ghibli)
I saw my first Ghibli film when I was 16. Film 4 were having a summer of showing Miyazaki films. My mind. Was. Blowntotinylittlepiecesofaweandwonderment. I had never felt so much emotion in an animated film. I liked how the character designs weren't super sparkly-eyed generic anime that I had been growing tired of. Sure, they were generic in their own way (I couldn't help but notice very familiar faces cropping up throughout the films), but I could forgive them that.
I particualrly love looking at Miyazaki's storyboards and story sketches - they could be percieved as crude and scrbbly, but the man can get his point across without polishing his drawings. With a few simple lines I can understand what's going on.
I love how he draws and how he thinks. He tells stories a bit like a child... but a with a sometimes dark sense of humour. His pin-up art is gorgeous. I would love to get my hands on more of his storyboards.
Alphonse Mucha (art noveau in general)
Art class in high school. Design. Art noveau or art deco. Choose.
Thats how it went. I chose the former every time. Beautiful, delicate flowing lines, women dressed like nymphs from a Greek myth. I think I always naturally drew in a more...flowy way, so this definatley appealed to me.
Disney (I know, shocker)
|Milt Kahl - one of the GREATEST|
I feel this one shouldn't take much explaining, really, but I'll go for it anyway.
Growing up, most of our videos were Disney films. The classics, and a few of the 90s ones, but with the exception of Aladdin, I prefered the older ones. It was at the end of Snow White, there was a short making-of featurette that actually revealed to me that this film was, in essence, a whole lotta drawings. Ah-HA! So that's how it's done! Another little revelation that stuck with me.
Now I can look at these films with a more critical eye - they are far from perfect. Some beautiful animation, sure - some of the best. But my goodness, if it was a choice between a Disney short and Looney Tunes, it's Looney Tunes all the way.
Sacchirine fluffiness aside, the individual artists that contributed to the films at Disney - Mary Blair, Bill Peet, Freddie Moore, the Nine Old Men... the list of awesome talent goes on and on.
When visiting Gran and Grampa Schaschke, I would sometimes go exploring (read as: noseying about with little regard to grandparent's privacy. Not an issue when you're a kid, feeling a little guilty now)
Anywho, on one such expedition to Grampa's study, I found a bunch of comics books in his bookshelves. There was a tiger on the front, and a boy with spikey blonde hair. But more importantly, a tiger. This needed investigating. Grampa Schaschke was held in high esteem for many reasons, and one of them was the interesting stuff in his study.
I had found Calvin and Hobbes. I read all that Grampa had in an afternoon (which was a fair few collections) and my sides were hurting. Garfield could take a hike. This is the epitome of newspaper comics. Hilarious writing and wonderful drawing/watercolours, the energy, the expressions... it's a shame not much is heard from Watterson nowadays.
Mythology, legends folk and fairy tales
I've been interested in this (pretty big) area for a long time, but it's especially great to revisit them now I'm a bit older. There's some dark stuff in these, and it's FASCINATING (and a bit shocking to realise I read some of this stuff in primary school, completely going over my haed back then.. People will be using stories and characters from these age-old stories for years to come, retelling and remaking, twisting and sampling, making more relevant to the times.
My eyebrows nearly disappeared into my hairline when I first read a Lupin III manga. I had only seen the Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro film directed by Miyazaki - pretty family friendly. I was not expecting what appeared in the manga. It was grimy, sleazy, crude, unpolished, ridiculous and downright filthy at times. But I loved the poses he would draw, and it was unlike any manga I had seen before. So I kept reading, and bought a few more. He seemed to have quite a bit of influence from Western comic artists, and has a very lively and funny way of drawing.
Early Dragonball, Dr. Slump = yes. Dragonball Z = nonononoNO. I know this makes me sound like such a douche, but I liked Toriyama's work before he hit the big time. In other words, before whoever worked out that stupidly long battle scenes and ridulously muscly men was going to bring in the moolah.
Pre-DBZ, Toriyama's art was really charming and funny. A bit dirty, but only a little bit. His work was rounder and more appealing, really quite cute. It looks like he put more effort into it. Perhaps he himself enjoyed drawing more in the early days. Maybe not.
Also, I think he's the master of speed/motion lines.
Larry Mac Dougall
Best known for his Discworld cover art and illustration. I can't speak for everyone, of course, but almost all of his drawings of Terry Pratchett's characters are what I imagined them to be in my head. Spot on. The previous artist, Josh Kirby's covers were fantastic in their own way. They were wonderfully bizarre. You could spend ages looking at all the stuff he crammed in, all the tiny little details. However, I always thought that before making the cover for a book, he may have just had a flick through, jotted down a few notes on certain things that popped up in the book and just got on with it, letting his own imagination run wild. Kidby appears to study tiny details in the novel. His attention to detail is truly admirable. I would be most surprised if he didn't love these books.
Beautifully rendered, great caricatures, plenty of emotion and character in his drawings. If my dream to make an animated Discworld film/tv special ever comes true, I would definately base the character designs off of his drawings.
Anyone who's had a flick through my sketchbooks will quickly discover I like drawing girls. And why the hell not? They're so much fun! And I must admit, I find it much easier to get variation in shapes for females. Pick up a women's magazine, there's almost always a section devoted to talking about "dressing for your shape". Pear shapes, hourglass, apple, cellos, flutes bananas...okay, so I made some of those up, but it's true!
Sometimes I feel a bit sheepish about this... am I saying it's okay to sexually objectify women? Urgh. I draw and admire them anyway. I really like the ones that are a bit different - a sense of humour, cartoony, women with imperfections and so on. I'm not a fan of the airbrushed riding-dragons, sort of realistic except for the ridiculous proportions type thing.
I could ponder this for ages, but I won't.
(Still a work in progress!)