Search This Blog

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Design Specifics 001

A pan from "Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century." (1953)

More than any other designer at Warner Bros. Maurice tried to create environments that were unique to a character or story. Maurice could have simply designed "a planet"... but he didn't. Planet "X"' 's design functions more than just a backdrop. It supports and enhances the satire of the story. 

Supplement to Pg. 85 "The Noble Approach."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book review from Cartoon Brew!

Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew discusses "The Noble Approach." You can read his thoughts HERE!

A Personal Note:
In this review Amid discusses Robert J. McKinnon's biography of Maurice "Stepping Into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble." He calls the biography "a failure." I can't agree. To an animation fan expecting lots of art and technique I can see how the book might be disappointing. In fact McKinnon tried to fill the book with art, but was essentially frustrated by Warner Bros. This is a book about Maurice's life. To those of us that knew him it's a gem. I've read the book several times. and despite whatever faults it may have; it's the closest thing I have to the memories of sitting down with Maurice and listening to his stories. Stories that very well may have been lost to the ages without McKinnon's text. -tod

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review From Cartoon Research!

Chronicle books has sent out a few hard bound pre-view copies of "The Noble Approach" in the last week. Writer and animation historian Jerry Beck got his, and has made the first official review for the book. You can read it HERE.
Above: Maurice at work at MGM in the early 1960's. One of the images included in the review... and in "The Noble Approach."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Steal Wool Progression

A Maurice progression from "Steal Wool." (1957)

(top) A rough layout - Used as reference by the animator.

(center) A color sketch... used as reference for the background painter.

... And the final background painted by artist Phil DeGuard referencing Maurice's final pencil layout, as well as the color sketch.

This background was then tested under camera with a simple character cel set-up. The resulting film frames were reviewed by Maurice to see if everything was working. If you look closely you can see the grease pencil line Maurice made through the above rejected test. He made changes to the set-up and re-shot it. Once everything looked ok... he proceeded to design and test the rest of the film.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Simplifying Complex Forms 003

Above: A simplified pan from "Much Ado About Nutting." (1953)

-The "cloud method" is another way Maurice used to simplify tree shapes. He taught, "You can get a lot of  ideas for tree shapes and tree groupings by simply looking at clouds." 

Below: A few of Maurice's layouts from "Wild Over You" (1953) that have been broken down into simple shapes.

Supplement to page 97 of "The Noble Approach."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Simplifying Complex Forms 002

-In many his early compositions, and much of his own personal art Maurice used a more "naturalistic" approach to simplification. Though less stylized, he still still broke complex masses, such as trees and leaves, into simple design and pattern. He said; "Understanding growth patterns through observation is the first step to simplifying an object." 

Good examples of this can be found in design books such as "Line and Form"  (1900) by the brilliant English artist Walter Crane
Walter Crane wrote: "... we should want to dwell upon its typical character and form, the controlling lines of its masses, rather than its accidental aspects, because it would really be only with these that we could successfully deal in adapting anything in nature to the conditions and limitations of a design."

Supplement to pg. 97 of The Noble Approach 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Simplifying Complex Forms 001

-When breaking down complex forms, one method Maurice used was containing these forms in simple shapes. 
-In this Maurice concept sketch, he uses a large overall shape... then more simple shapes in the interior. This approach is common in Asian art... which of course was a huge influence on Maurice's personal style. A good example of this type of simplification is the Thai Kanok.

Supplement to pg. 97 in The Noble Approach.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Working Layouts 001

Maurice always tried to provide at least a rough working background layout for the animators. 
-Here is an example that shows a rough layout (far left), a final layout with color notes for background painter Phil DeGuard... and a final film frame.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Noble Dream Fulfilled

Above: Mr. Noble at work in his home studio

Maurice had wanted to pass on his knowledge about animation design in book form for many years. Now with the help of many talented artists and friends, his dream is a reality.

"The Noble Approach" kindle version is now available for download HERE.

The hard bound copy of the book is available for pre-order HERE.