via Animation Backgrounds
As some of you might already know internally, Allie and I have been pushing the boundaries on background stylings in some of the short animations we're working on. I was taken by a bunch of backgrounds Rob Richards posted over at Animation Backgrounds yesterday, from Disney's Paul Bunyan. Be sure to hop over to his blog to see all of them. They are credited to Walt Peregoy, who was likely influenced by the more modern approach used in Sleeping Beauty.
The two biggest things to note for me: color and space. Color shifts in hue throughout the film...blues, greens, purples, neutrals. They are not monochromatic, each image is composed of related hues using a limited palette. But the design approach from background to background is consistent. Also, even though the application of paint and patterning is flat, there is a vast sense of space.
I'm most taken by the above background, how he used these polygon ponds and lakes in receding scale to truly map out the topography of the land. Vertical arrow-shaped trees sprout up in varying scales across the landscape as well. All of these visual devices are working perfectly to create the overall effect.
The river is skewed in a similar way in this background. The blue is completely flat, but recedes back in perspective. He sprinkles in beaver dams to a similar effect here. Plus, check out the shape of the river (I mean, COME ON...how cool is that?). It's straight out of something Stuart Davis would do.
Finally, here's the cartoon, in two parts:
(note the colors are washed out a bit)