Monday, February 7, 2011

Kazuo Oga

I’ve probably put way too much emphasis on American and European artists, overlooking painters from other great traditions. So let’s take a minute to appreciate Kazuo Oga, the painter who helped create the forest in Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film My Neighbor Totoro.


On ConceptArt.org, Mr. Oga said: "Basically, I use poster- color. Because as we have to paint much, we can't use expensive paint. Poster colors can show brightness or depth of color and, above all, it is easy-to-use."

 In the landscape below, I love the way he alternates empty areas, such as the sky, with busy areas, such as the hanging laundry. He also alternates the parallel stripes of the cultivated areas with the wild shapes of the foreground.


Look at how he builds gradually toward the mysterious dark under the tree. He keeps the grouping of far trees in the center of the picture close in value.

The result, for all its complexity, is quite simple in tonal and coloristic design, an important consideration for animation backgrounds, which must be understood quickly.
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My Neighbor Totoro trailer on YouTube
Studio Ghibli on Wikipedia
Background painting from My Opera.com
List of Studio Ghibli Films
Photo and quotation from Monisawa Blog

13 comments:

Jon Hrubesch said...

I love the Totoro movie. The artwork in that movie is excellent. I was happy to discover it with my kids when they were younger. I also love Kiki's Delivery Service.

David Glenn said...

My Neighbor Totoro is one of my favorite anime films. Thanks for letting me know about the artist who created such an awesome movie!

KMB said...

Totoro is a beautiful movie. I adore "The Art of My Neighbor Totoro" as well. It is stunning to me that he uses poster paint. Wow!

Moish said...

All that with just poster paint. Pretty amazing (other than light-fast issues.

Audran said...

Oga-Sama is my hero. Anyone interested in his work should look into his artbook, with technical explanation as well as demonstration.

Parka said...

The other masterclass in anime background is probably Kusanagi Art Studios

Fabio said...

Totoro is one of the most beautifully crafted movies of all times.
The final scenes in the afternoon and, later, at sunset, show all those subtle changes in color... really stunning!

=shane white= said...

Usually cheaper paints have poor mixing qualities. I'd really like to know if there's an equivalent in the states.

I thought they had used gouache up until now...but it's pretty expensive.

Any ideas?

=s=

James Gurney said...

Shane, when I painted animation backgrounds for Frazetta/Bakshi's "Fire and Ice," I used Cartoon Color cell paint. It was really opaque, with a solid surface, and nice handling properties, though it killed brushes.

Mario said...

I'm a big fan of gouache, but I've always had problems with complex paintings, as true gouache in not waterproof and the upper layers usually melt the lower ones.
However I've discovered that many people use the term "gouache" for some gouache-like acrylic or vynilic paint, which are waterproof. I wonder what kind of paint is Kazuo Oga's poster paint, or Cartoon Color cell paint...

Audran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purpixel said...

Here is a link similar to James about Poster painting tech:

http://monisawa.blogspot.com/2010/04/ponyo-kazuo-oga-and-poster-paint.html

and in the comments people are talking about how to get that kind of paint...

Margamoth said...

Kazuo Oga uses Nicker Poster Colors.