Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Little Bit of Nature

This passed weekend I was up in Flagstaff, Arizona. There is a lovely area just 20 miles or so outside of the town that is called Lockett Meadow, and it is beautiful area full of meadows and aspens. I was fortunate enough to be there when the sun was setting, and to see how the warm light came through the aspen trees and illuminated the forest clearings. It is such places that I thrive in and love. Nature has such splendor and never ceases to inspire me. So, while I was there I decided to do a little sketch. I have been trying to sketch more and take time to study (with my pencil) the things I observe. I notice, though, that a lot of the on-site sketching doesn't always turn out the way I want it and I find it rather cumbersome. I realized, though, that this is because I am trying to interpret what I see literally whereas it is my natural inclination to interpret conceptually. I decided, then, to try something a little different; inspired by the wonderful asian artist (asian again!) Tyrus Wong. One of his greatest artistic achievements was his influence on Disney's Bambi. The artists who worked on Bambi faced a similar problem of trying to interpret literally when it came to the Forest, i.e. every branch, every leaf. It was by a stroke of happenstance (seemingly!) that Tyrus Wong ended up on staff at Disney where his pastel works and conceptual ideas were noticed. He chose to simplify what he saw and bring out color, shape, light, and shadow in a dreamy and otherworldly fashion. There was movement and abstraction in his work, and was able to capture, I believe, the true essence of the Forest. Here are two examples of his work:

It is unfortunate that after making Bambi, Tyrus Wong went on to Warner Bros. because I think Disney could have benefited much more from this wonderful artist, and who knows what he could have contributed to the animations that came after!

Oh, by the way, if you ever desire to see the making of Bambi on the DVD, I would highly recommend it. It was amazing how this film came together and the innovation in animation it was able to achieve. I was inspired! 

Anyway, here is my simple sketch, inspired by nature, inspired by Tyrus Wong. Enjoy!


  1. I somehow missed this one, but it's awesome! yay! I always tell people to watch Bambi behind the scenes. *sigh*

    1. Thanks for the comment! Yes, everyone should watch Bambi Behind the Scenes. It is incredible!