My good right arm. What a splendid term. How nice it must be to be called a good right arm by your director if you are a writer or a layout man or a lead animator. It has no volition of its own. It only does what the prejudice and predilection of the director tells it to do. As a right arm, Maurice Noble was an absolute failure.
He had ideas, which is a pretty stupid thing for a right arm to have. His sense of color and design was, and is, vastly superior to mine, which, in a right arm, should be suicidal. He has a superb sense of humor, which is, in normal circumstances, almost profane for a right arm or a layout man. But fortunately for Maurice and fortunately, to the point of survival for me, I had discovered years before he magically appeared in my unit that there are only two kinds of talent worthy of identification: one that you find, if you are very lucky, as a small, scrabbly little talent within yourself this is the one you continually doubt and always, if you make any claim to artistry, of which you are constantly suspicious and two, the talent to surround yourself with talent.
Of the two, the only one I am confident that I possess in abundance is the second. If a lawyer who defends himself in court has a fool for a client, then a director who tries to acts as his own background or layout man, lead animator, or sound editor is doomed to be spastically handicapped by his own limitations. It is not only necessary that he hire people in each department except direction of talent superior to his own, he must demand that each of them approach the same problem with a different background and viewpoint.
For myself, I do not want a writer who thinks he is a director. I want him to have the confidence, and the knowledge, to know that I consider him far better at his job than I am. Mondrian said that the supreme joy of artistry is working within a discipline. Mike Maltese, Ken Harris, Ben Washam, and Maurice Noble, among all those many uniquely talented people I worked with, knew because I tried to exhibit it in the only form of respect and honor I understand how necessary to the final film was their confidence in the contributions they made through their individual disciplines and artistries.
Maurice seldom tried to provide animation gags per se, but he created a world where animation could flourish. If, as in one of the Martian—outer space films, he got tired of all those film-studded mysterious planets, he simply designed a city of delicately hued transparent plates floating in space. He enhanced every story. He stimulated all who worked with him. He always used the concerto form: once he was on board with the story intent, every inspirational sketch he contributed was a variation on a theme.
He never showed off, but he showed up every layout man I have ever known by his honesty, his devotion to his craft, and his devotion to the film at hand.
Without Maurice Noble, who excited, moved, and stimulated us all, that film could not have been made. As the scientist said to Daffy in Duck Dodgers , I have sent for you, Dodgers, because the world supply of great layout men is appallingly low. While there has been much written about the art and techniques of animation, little has been said about the overall look and backdrop that animated characters play against.
To be more specific: the art direction, staging, design, and layout of an animated film. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of coming out of retirement and sharing my knowledge and experiences with a whole new generation of young people. Many have asked me to write down some notes on design, and the Noble approach. I would also like to say that my success as a designer is in a large part due to the many talented people I have worked with over the years.
Chuck Jones, a director who trusted my vision and gave me the freedom to explore it. Mike Maltese, a writer with a pixie sense of humor. Not even learning how to draw we know how to draw, and honestly, who cares , but learning about the world, how it works, and our own reaction to it. In Drawing the Line, Tom Sito chronicles some of the passive-aggression that Disney management instituted. Slowly, the pro-union Disney artists were made to feel unwanted and drifted away from the studio. Whenever there was a staff cutback, the union supporters were always the first to go.
The pro-unionists who tried to stay got the silent treatment. Noble quit and went on to Warner Bros. Walt Disney and Art Babbitt continued to feud. It was said that Walt put Babbitt on projects knowing he never intended to make them. It was just calculated to frustrate Babbitt and waste his energies. Babbitt finally got the message and left to join the Marines.
He animated on some Goofy shorts but left again, registering a complaint of bias with the War Reemployment Board. He organized several union artists to mount a class-action lawsuit against Disney for unpaid overtime. Artists complained of being compelled to work mandatory Saturdays and evenings for free. Some claimed that when they wrote sixty or eighty hours on their time cards, someone in management erased the number and wrote in forty hours.
They produced their personal service contracts for inspection.
This extraordinary volume examines the life and animation philosophy of Maurice Noble, the noted American animation background artist and layout designer. The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and. The Zen of Animation Design By Tod Polson, based on the notes of Maurice Noble (Chronicle Books.
Sito lists over twenty more significant artsts who took the hint and left. I have to applaud Polson for the labor that went into compiling the book and all of its resources for us to enjoy.
You may also like Want to Read saving…. It turns out that I've loved Maurice Noble's work, though, I admit I only recognize his name from credits. The style just evolved little by little. About The Author. Thank you.
Be careful not to reference other animated films or animation artists when designing… While looking at animation art that you love is fine for inspiration, and is a great way to learn, it is very difficult to come up with fresh and new design ideas this way. You have to find your own voice as a designer. A lot of attention is given to color, and while of course color is very important, in my opinion, value is even more important.
If your composition is working in value, you can use almost any color and it will work reasonably well. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.
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Oct 08, Jim rated it it was amazing. A beautiful and informative book about one of the most brilliant and influential artists in Hollywood studio animation history.
Maurice Noble's approach essentially became the "house style" for midth American animation and beyond and this book gives a wonderful overview of Noble's approach to design, illustrated with beautiful reproductions of everything from quick thumbnails to finished background paintings usually painted by Phil DeGuard. The analysis of Noble's work not only provides a A beautiful and informative book about one of the most brilliant and influential artists in Hollywood studio animation history.
The analysis of Noble's work not only provides a wonderful insight into how classics like "What's Opera, Doc?
My favorite layout artist is still Hawley Pratt--I can only hope someday somebody will write a book about his work that's as good as this one! If you love Bugs Bunny, design, color, or art in general, this would be a rewarding reading and visual experience. View 2 comments. Jun 03, Ilse rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-i-own. This book is amazing, next to all the great artwork you get to glimpse into the world of Maurice Noble and how he approached animation design.
There are some great snippets about composition and color which I learned a lot from.
Of course it would've been best if this was solely Noble's book, not written by someone else using his notes and things in his interview, but sadly he wasn't able to do that, so I'm glad that Polson picked up this project and made it happen! I love the way in which Mauri This book is amazing, next to all the great artwork you get to glimpse into the world of Maurice Noble and how he approached animation design.
I love the way in which Maurice Noble thought btw: "The real art of animation is filled with ideas and beauty and is a never ending joy. Are we afraid to laugh and poke fun these days?
Jun 09, Alex Perez rated it it was amazing. I had an inkling, but didn't realize what a huge impact Maurice Noble's artwork had on me growing up. Getting to see gorgeous stills of his artwork, rather than what I was used to, which was glimpses of it racing by in background of Looney Tunes, makes this book priceless.
That's one aspect of the book. The other, seeing his process, and absolute passion for creating art throughout his lifetime, was informational to say the least, and inspirational at its best. Jul 08, Roberto Aramburu rated it it was amazing. Never thought so much thought would go into designing backgrounds for something as silly as Bugs Bunny or The roadrunner. Oct 12, Elena rated it it was amazing. A delightful read. An act of love to Mr Noble and a simple yet complete look inside his method of work and approach to creation.
It taught me more about values, color theory and other things that all the years of art school and tutorials searching on the internet. A must have for every aspiring illustrator or animator. Jan 07, Stef rated it liked it.