Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Color Design

This is a color study that Mary Blair did for Disney's Peter Pan. Mary Blair was a strong force on the Disney look in those days and her influence continues to this day, not only in Disney but in nearly all animation and children's illustration. A master of color design, setting mood and environment, she was never confined to "realism" but rather used color more on an emotional level. For instance, go back and observe the color of her sky in her illustrations and note how the colors make you feel.

Economy of Form

Mary Blair was a master of economy. Her forms are fluid, graceful, and simple. Well composed, repeating shapes, rounded angles, and line that flows into line all make for very pleasing views. Note in this illustration she made for Choco Milk how the line from her hand that holds the glass flows in a beautiful curve all the way to her foot, uninterrupted by her night gown. Her designs are cute, compact, and deceptively simple - study them closer and you can see how well planned they are. The charming form is made more so with the addition if detailed patterns and an incredible palette. The muted colors give her designs warmth and closeness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mary Blair Calendar

The Meadow Gold Dairy calendar.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Little House

Enjoy these posts at Cartoon Modern.

Happy Easter!

Peter Cottontail

Mary Blair Songbook

Red trees, giant flowers, ridiculous clothes.

Mary Blair's wonderful color palette of gouache paints often over-shadows her amazing grasp of form. Note the composition of the mother with the cradle. Her head is tilted in adoration, her neck, shoulders and arms form a triangle but as it's viewed from the side her form isn't weakened, and her skirt billows, contrasting with the angles of her upper body.

I've found lots of inspiration from songbooks and this one illustrated by Mary Blair is no exception.

See the whole songbook at ASIFA here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mary Blair

This is a little blog I'm dedicating to Mary Blair and other artists of her ilk. Mary Blair is an inspiration to me as her illustrations are so filled with joy, clever compositions and colors, and an amazing artistic skill that belies the simplicity of the subjects.

Mary Blair (October 21, 1911 - July 26, 1978), born Mary Robinson, was an American artist best known for her work with Disney, Little Golden Books, and advertising. Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, Mary Browne Robinson moved to Texas while still a small child, and later to California when she was about 7. Having graduated from San Jose State College, Mary won a scholarship to the renowned Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, where teachers included Pruett Carter, Morgan Russell and Lawrence Murphy. In 1934, she married another artist, Lee Everett Blair (October 1, 1911–April 19, 1995).

The early 1950s were a busy time for the Disney studio, with an animated feature released nearly every year. Mary Blair was credited with color styling on Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953) and the artistic influence of her concept art is strongly felt in those films as well as several animated shorts she designed during that period.

In 1991, Mary was recognized with a posthumous Disney Legend award. Also posthumously, she received the Winsor McCay award from ASIFA-Hollywood in 1996. While the fine art she created outside of her association with Disney and her work as an illustrator is not widely known or appreciated, her bold and groundbreaking color design still serves as an inspiration to contemporary designers and animators.

In this blog I will include images (which I hope are in public domain or acceptable for reporting purposes) and stories of Mary Blair and her contemporaries. This blog will serve mainly as a referrence piece for myself and my own art but will hopefully give some enjoyment to others interested in this type of art.

Disney Legends