At first people with an artistic sense were interested in illustration, classical arts and graphic design. Then came the cinema, animated films, and finally video games, which in a few years have evolved from a few pixels and polygonal objects to authentic artistic wonders, thanks to technical advances but also to all those concept artists of incredible talent behind them.
Today I wanted to share with you a little wonder that has come into my hands. For those who buy a book for the cover illustration, and for lovers of animated art, it will be delightful to play "Silence", by Daedalic (available on Steam). It’s a graphic adventure game, but also an artistic videogame, for the visual and graphic part is a true delight for the senses. It has a cartoon look, almost childish and beautiful, but at the same time a little creepy. Actually the game is not dedicated to children, since it involves some gloomy subjects (and some others which are controversial). The gameplay is as simple as puzzles can be in an adventure game, so you have no excuse: you like video games or not, if you like animation, you should try it. I leave the intro, which gives a pretty accurate idea of the tone of the game. I’m getting goose bumps!
Did you know that the mythical Disney film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is older than World War II? It was produced in 1937! It was the first animated feature film in history and it received enormous recognition from critics around the world, in spite of the fact that when Walt Disney started working on it, no one supported him, he was called crazy and he even had to mortgage his house to pay for it.
But, more curious still, do you know who was the first Disney princess in history, although few people know it? Her name is Persephone, and although she has not been crowned as such, she is the mother of all the current princesses. She’s almost 90 years old, a whole lady! Many consider it a sketch of what later would be Snow White and, after it, all the others.
The short film has a duration of less than 10 minutes, dates from 1934 and is considered one of the Silly Symphonies, small animated pieces with musical accompaniment. With them, Disney was a pioneer in the use of colour animation and the multiplane camera, which allowed the different layers of drawings that form an animated scene to move at different speeds depending on whether they were near or far from the viewer, thus achieving a much more realistic movement effect.
His arm movement is hypnotic, don’t you think? I find it hard to decide if it's aberrant or wonderful! In any case, I leave you this wonderful piece of history and art with which our grandparents grew up!
When I have a walk around the library or the bookstores, I can see that many of them just tell stories in a funny way. And that’s OK! Since children love fun.
But I think they’re not very special for me. I mean, what about the magic, what about the feeling? What about the feeling you have when sometimes your eyes stop on a different cover and that’s when you realize that you’ve found one of the others? I mean, the magic ones.
I remember my favourite books when I was a little girl. I was a lucky child, since they used to be chosen and bought by my aunt Mari Carmen, and I’m still delighted with her good taste. They’ve always been my little treasure and I have never stopped loving them. In fact, I think they’re the guilty ones of me being an illustrator.
I can say they’ve inspired me because, when I look at them, I don’t see just illustrated children’s books, but also magic images which transport me to different, nostalgic, empathic, deep sensitive worlds. And that’s not about the text: that’s about the pictures.
How can we create this magic?, I have wondered many times. Well, I think every artist has his own way to looking for it, trying to find it. There are artists who master this magic and shine with they own light. However, any of us, even the beginners, have the right to seek it. In my case, I just try to draw and colour from the emotion, letting myself flow once again through these magic worlds that I have been rising since I was a child, feeling its joy and its tenderness as well as its melancholy and mystery, not just limiting me to express the happy-funny-joyful-carefree side of the life. That’s why I feel fully inspired by movies like Song of the Sea. Sometimes music helps me to connect with this feeling or state. I love to listen piano songs or musicians like Keith Kenniff or Yann Tiersen while I work. If my worlds within had an OST, it would be them. However, I must confess I also listen Disney soundtracks when I'm working on a "happy" picture.
Speaking in a more physical way: lightning is, to me, the strongest spell to invoke the magic on a picture. But not just it. Recently, looking at my old storybooks once again, I have discovered a particularity that many of them have in common, also have in common with my own drawings. That’s the desaturated colours. Maybe they have had a stronger influence over me than I thought, but the fact is that I feel that too much vibrant/plain colours break the sensitivity a little. So I use not-so-saturated colours in addition to a careful lighting and try to make expressive faces with which we can emotionally empathize. That is my own recipe to pursue the magic when I draw for kids.
Let me share with you some of the pictures that I grew up with :- )