They’ve Got the Look! Art Directors Discuss What it Takes
Title: They’ve Got the Look! Art Directors Discuss What it Takes
Length: 45 mins
Filmed in November 2010
They’ve Got the Look!” sponsred by Nucleus Gallery – Top painters and illustrators talk about how their skills translate into being an Art Director on a 2D, 3D or any feature film. Those skills and traits that come together to “create the look” that supports the story that is being told.
Moderator Andy Gaskill was drafted out of art school to work at the Disney studio when he was twenty-one. He flew out to Los Angeles from Philadelphia and he has lived in the movie capital ever since.
He participated in the first animation training program at Disney, supervised by veteran animator Eric Larson. Other veteran animators still working there at the time included Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsberry and Les Clark. Andy recalls, at the time he didn’t appreciate the amazing artistic resource these men offered, and only in maturity did he realize these men actually shaped his childhood. At age five, Andy saw Lady and the Tramp and was so moved by the spaghetti scene that he acted it out over and over with his friends! Later in life, he discovered Frank Thomas had animated that scene, thereby conferring a sort of honorary parenthood on Frank, (or was it perpetual childhood for Andy?)
Disney became a baseline for Andy for many years, culminating in art direction credits for Lion King, Hercules and Treasure Planet. The crash of hand-drawn animation in the early 2000’s sent many artists scurrying to learn 3d skills, and Andy was one of them. Today he works at Sony Pictures Animation, performing visual development and art direction functions.
There is a message Andy wants to communicate to anyone who is new to the business: no matter what technique animation might employ; hand-drawn or CG, the most important attributes of a movie have nothing to do with technique. The two most important attributes are: Story and design. Get good at those.
Panelist Noah Klocek was born in Neptune New Jersey to artist parents who encouraged him to draw but discouraged him from pursuing a career in the arts. Thankfully the discouragement didn’t work and after trying every thing from wildlife biology to paramedic training Noah decided to go to school at San Jose State and pursue a career in art. Near the end of school Noah had the opportunity to apprentice as a matte painter ILM (Industrial Light and Magic). Following a year at ILM, Noah spent two years as a Matte Painter at PDI/Dreamworks. In search of new challenges, Noah was lucky enough to find a place as an Art Director at Pixar Animation Studios. Noah lives in Berkeley with is amazing wife and two kids.
[…] Alberto Mielgo is an artist’s artist. It is a particular distinction, suggesting not mere talent, but a quality of rebelliousness, one whose appeal is contingent upon his unique role as both a painter and animator — refining his style as an art director, but most importantly, an artist.[…]
[…]You’ve seen his work before, but may not know it. The influence of Mielgo’s style can be detected in the production design for The Beatles Rock Band cinematic, where he was given creative freedom to channel his trademark style, and produce color keys and layout for the first (2D) half of the masterwork, directed by Pete Candeland. […]
[…]Today, Mielgo is striking out on his own, thumbing his nose at CG, and coming home to animation in Pinkman.tv.The school of thought behind Pinkman.tv is simple: a laboratory to explore 2D animation through fine art and traditional methods. In other words, less emphasis on computers; more emphasis on what is handmade. With the launch of Pinkman.tv, Mielgo has served up a cluster of experimental shorts that set the painters sentiments into motion. […]
Extracted from “Modern Rebel: ALberto Mielgo & Pinkman.tv”
Brandon Lori The motionographer
Panelist Bill Perkins – Art Director Disney During the last 25 years Bill has worked in the animation and film industry on over 26 films, TV shows, DVDs, short films, and video games. His involvement has ranged from art director, production designer, visual development, layout artist, to storyboard artist. He began his career as a layout artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation on Oliver and Co. and continued on a string of hits Including: Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, as lead layout on the critically acclaimed Rescuers Down Under Bill helped introduce a workbook process which embraced the new technologies, added to the cinematic impact visually, and streamlined the layout production process. As art director on Aladdin, Bill developed the first comprehensive style guide which unified the drawing style of the environments with the characters, to address the overall continuity and look of the film. He left Disney during Fantasia 2000 after co-art directing the Pines of Rome sequence. In 1994, Bill moved on to do visual development and art direct for Warner bros. on Jam, visual development for DreamWorks on Shrek, and a production designer for ILM on Frankenstein. In 2001 Bill opened High Street Studio as an independent preproduction and design studio where he took on contract work with Disney studios on Brother Bear, and worked jointly with DNA Productions, on the Ant Bully, Character Builders, and Disneytoon studios on 101 Dalmatians, Patch’s’ London Adventure, Tarzan II, Brother Bear II, Tinkerbell, and Fox and the Hound II. In 2005 he worked jointly with the 9th Ray Studio doing visual development, and storyboards, on live action projects such as Outlander (Ascendant Films), John Carter and the Princess of Mars, (Paramount version, unreleased) and The Spiderwick Chronicles (Paramount). In 2007 after finishing the visual development phase on Bolt, Bill returned to the Walt Disney Studio where he currently des visual development.
Bill Perkins entertainment artwork can be viewed online at: www.highstreetstudio.com
Panelist Christophe Vache is a French artist who has provided Backgrounds, Visual Development and Art Direction for Disney, Dreamworks, Universal Studios and the animation industry since 1989. He worked in many small animation studios before joining Disney’s Paris-based animation unit for three years, where he painted backgrounds for such animated films as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Runaway Brain” and served as head of background for the 1995 feature, “A Goofy Movie”.
Relocating to California in 1996, he continued his association with Disney, where his credits have included painting backgrounds and concept artwork for “Dinosaur”, “Hercules,” “Tarzan”, the Stravinsky Firebird finale for “Fantasia 2000″ and “Treasure Planet”. He also worked on Dreamworks’ “Shark Tale” doing concept Artwork and paintings.In 2004, he became Art Director, first on a CG animated short movie for Studio Arts in Los Angeles, then for the animated segment of Disney’s live action movie “Enchanted”, and eventually for the CG feature film “9″, produced by Tim Burton and directed by Shane Acker, for which he got a 2010 Annie Awards Nomination in the category “Best Production Design for a Feature Production”.He worked for a few months as production designer on the upcoming movie “Heroes and Monsters” and as a visual development artist for Universal Studios on “Despicable Me”.He is currently working at Hasbro studios on the new CG animated TV show of “Transformers” that will air on Thanksgiving week on the new Hub channel.