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PIMP My drawing ’11 May 23, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Drawing, Events, In class assignments, Pimp my drawing, Student work.
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The fifth annual (okay…maybe not exactly annual) “Pimp My Drawing” Spring 20011…

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Jeremy Geddes May 9, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Surreal.
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Post by Taylor Grant

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Jeremy Geddes is a working illustrator in Melbourne, Australia.  Beginning his career as a video game artist and art director, Geddes made a name for himself in the world of comics, game art and graphic novels. Having studied painting in the 90’s, Jeremy became a master of oils and turned to a career as a full time painter in 2003. His paintings exhibit an amazing capacity for rendering,with rich tones, extreme detail and a carefully considered composition. In order to achieve such refined finishes, Geddes starts with a preliminary painting which allow him to work out the composition, color and tone before starting on the finish.  From there, the painting is drawn out using washes of color to prep the canvas.  Finally, the painting is completed and then an additional level of glazes is added to enhance the depth of colors and texture.

(above)  The Cafe, right- details

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A combination of conceptual planning and technical ability makes Geddes’ pieces incredibly compelling.  The extreme photorealism of his rendering creates scenes that are completely believable, despite the surrealist elements. This idea is exemplified in Heat Death which features an astronaut floating weightlessly in an urban setting. Though his gravity defying pose is impossible, the figure and setting are both recognizable and realistic. I think this juxtaposition heightens the surrealism because I read the scene as a photograph, making it disconcerting because I know it could not actually occur.

(above)  Heat Death

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The same eerie discontentment is seen in Cluster. but unlike other works by Geddes, this piece is not in a setting but instead uses the negative space to add to the surrealism. the figures are intertwined to create an uncomfortable cluster in the center of the page. Their limbs are entangled but the weight of the form is limp.  The discomfort of their pose is haunting, which is again heightened by the believability of the rendering .

(above) The Cluster

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Jeremy Geddes continues to illustrate graphic novels, commissioned paintings and his own personally conceptualized work. You can view more of his paintings at: www.jeremygeddesart.com


Lost in Translation? Adapting Existing Stories for Film April 25, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Film, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
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Post by Arielle Jovellanos

Adaptn. – make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose. (wordnet.princeton.edu)

Caption: (above left and clockwise) How to Train Your Dragon 2010, Alice in Wonderland 2010, X-Men 2000, Scooby Doo 2002, Dragonball Evolution 2009, & The Phantom of the Opera 2004.

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Adaptations. In a world full of penny-pinching consumers in a bad economy, adaptations are all the rage in Hollywood where many executives would rather invest their energy, time, and money on adapting proven successes rather than risking it on a new, untested idea. Hence, we get things like Alice in Wonderland, Twilight, Sex and the City, Harry Potter, and Iron Man all up in our movie theaters. (And then there are the sequels, but that’s a whole other discussion…)

Now, just because there are a lot of something-to-film adaptations out there, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all good. Adaptations can be tricky. It is much easier said than done to turn a book into a movie or a cartoon into a live-action film. It’s not simply a case of, say, buying a whole bunch of copies of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, handing them out to your cast, and saving money on printing an actual script. There is a lot of work that goes into adapting an existing to work into a film because it is essentially about translating a story into a completely different medium and still keeping its heart intact. What works in one medium may not automatically translate successfully to fit the big screen.

Let’s take a look at these two movies that were adapted from successful source material and try to analyze what makes them work or makes them fail as full-length feature films…

Caption: (above left) Director Henry Selick’s Coraline 2009 (above right) Director M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender 2010

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Coraline, a 2009 stop-motion animation film directed by Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach’s Henry Selick was adapted from Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed children’s novella of the same name. In this case, save for a few wonderfully disturbing illustrations by Dave McKean interspersed throughout the pages of the book, the film crew had only the story as reference to create the world and define the art direction.

Caption: (above) Dave McKean’s book cover and illustrations for Neil Gaiman’s Coraline 2002

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As someone who read the book ages before seeing this film, I admit I was a bit surprised by the changes made to the storyline—most notably, the addition of the new character “Wybie,” a boy who lives in Coraline’s new neighborhood.

Ultimately, while it does stray from the source material, the decision to add Wybie into the movie was a smart one. In the book, though Coraline is alone her thought process is written through the narration and the reader gets a grasp of her personality through their understanding of the text. In the movie, Coraline needed somebody to talk to so the audience could visually understand her personality and motives without the filmmakers having to default to in-head voice-over.

Caption: (above) Screencaps from Selick’s Coraline 2009 film

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There are a few other changes made, in regards to setting, pacing, dialogue, and the like, but in the end I feel everything added up to a high-quality film adaptation. What I personally find most successful about Coraline’s adaptation is that the filmmakers did not get themselves caught up in word-for-word accuracy to the book. Instead, they managed to distill the progressively building feelings of disturbing dread the reader experiences while reading, and manifested that same feeling on screen.

For example, art direction-wise, the film literally does become darker as the plot progresses, contrasting sharply to the bright colors Coraline first encounters when entering the Other World. This direction alone tells the story of the book visually in a way that needs no written or narrated explanation for the audience.

Caption: (above) Screencaps from Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko’s animated Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender 2005-08.

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Moving on to another film adaptation, director M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action movie The Last Airbender (2010) to many critics and fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-08), the original animated TV show, was a disappointing, boring, and over-expository mess which failed to do justice to Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s popular and award winning source material.

Caption: (above) Screencaps from Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

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In my opinion, there are tons of reasons as to why this movie failed, but the biggest problems for me were:

1. The movie told what was going on rather than showed what was going on. The movie attempted to squish in the arch of an entire 20-episode season into 103 minutes. To fill in the blanks, Shyamalan decided to employ the use of a narrator to explain away what happened rather than letting the visuals speak for themselves.

For example, to explain the budding romantic relationship between two characters, the narrator blandly says to the audience, “They became very close” instead of actually showing the two characters becoming closer. In this case, voice-over wasn’t used for any artistic purpose; it was used because the visuals of the film weren’t strong enough to carry the storyline without a narrator.

Caption: (above) Map of the Asian-inspired world of TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender

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2. The movie’s direction failed to focus on the bigger picture, instead choosing to focus on unnecessary details and losing the actual message of the series in the process.

 

One of the first things people should ask themselves when considering making an animation is, “Why is it animated?” This is why it is so difficult to transform animation into live action. Through its entire conception, Avatar: The Last Airbender was inherently designed to be an animated series. The realm of animation opened several opportunities to DiMartino and Konietzko in the original show. For example, the fact that it was animated allowed the audience to suspend disbelief immediately concerning the manipulation and “bending” of the elements and the animal hybrids, which populate the Asian-inspired fantasy world.

The filmmakers of The Last Airbender got way too caught up in the little details such as having the animal hybrids show up for ten seconds even though within the script, they ultimately held little importance on the plot, making them seem like random anomalies on screen. There’s a difference between being meticulous with creating a fantasy world, and forcing something into the film just because it worked on TV. Because they were focusing on things like this, they lost focus on the actual story.

Caption: (above left) Original show concept art for character “Katara” by Bryan Konietzko, inspired by Asian & Inuit culture. (center) “Katara” as she appears in the show. (right) “Katara” as she appears in the film, played by Caucasian actress Nicola Peltz.

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Yet at the same time, the filmmakers decided to forgo the heavily researched and accurate Asian-inspired art direction, which defined and set the show apart for its respectful and unique homage to Asian cultures in an American-made cartoon. The overarching theme of the series concerned the traditionally Asian concept of finding and maintaining balance and the Asian-inspired world only aided in emphasizing that theme.

In Shyamalan’s adaptation, he completely lost the spirit of the cartoon when he decided to turn the film into a generic good-versus-evil story and subsequently threw in some European-based, Lord of the Rings-esque elements along with vaguely Asian-ish inspirations into the art direction; this made for a very confusing fantasy world that seemed like it didn’t quite know what it was trying to be and therefore prevented the audience from really understanding what this world was about.

It is bizarre that—of all things—the largest and most dramatic changes they made from TV-to-film were in the Asian-inspired, art direction, which already came from real world influences and could have easily been adapted to live-action. In giving up this aspect of the world, they lost the entire heart of the story and changed it into something else entirely. Unlike Coraline, The Last Airbender failed to capture the feeling of the source material or concentrate on the most important elements of the story, resulting in an incredibly poor film adaptation.

The Armory Show Pier 92 and 94 2011 April 17, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Student Blog posts, Student Post.
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Post by Lisandra Gomez

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One of the biggest Art shows in New York just took place in Pier 92 and 94, there were over 1,000 Artist. They Varied from new and upcoming artist to up close with Chuck Close paintings. My personal favorite was there in the modern section; De Chirico, which was a nice surprise. I actually got tickets to go before the exhibition opened, let’s just say there was a massive crowd of gentlemen in suits, armed with gorgeous women. It was  a little uncomfortable at first just because I had to weave around the mass of people huddled in front of the actual art work; but a great experience none the less.  A teacher once told me that when going to an opening other artist are always the harshest critics, dealers never really give their opinion on what they think because they want to learn what other people are interested in, and collectors tend to love mostly everything. This quote was confirmed when most of my friends from the Fine Arts department mentioned they didn’t enjoy the contemporary section very much, but at the opening everyone there seemed pleased and impressed.

I put together a couple of images of the contemporary artist that I found interesting. The first piece that struck was this enormous 210×160 cm canvas, acrylic on canvas. By the Artist Luiz Zerbini  it was  this Huge this grid pattern in the background that resembled the side of

(above) Luiz Zerbini

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apartment buildings in some type of tropical country. Each small cube was a different color and so the entire background was covered in this urban looking grid. Then there’s these street wires and phone poles covered with wild life ; leaves, cactus, monkeys. It’s decaying wild

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life over a city and rectilinear line work is amazing and the juxtaposition between the two is what really strikes me as beautiful. What really catches my attention is his use of exotic colors and how well he uses them within the space he creates. There strong reds with yellow hues and browns near light blue. His palette is remarkable rich with luminous and arranged with wild life images. He combines natural settings with the urban life and I can almost name a place and town while looking at this painting. Although they are not literal representation of lands they can place a date and time. I’m all for meticulous and intense details so this one definitely stole my heart. Here are some close ups I took. This piece in particular is called Le Corbusier 3D World, 2010. By the Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini.

Then I went around the corner and bumped into a piece by Erik Thor Sandberg and couldn’t help but admire how this piece was more closely related to illustration rather because of its peculiar compositions, unusual in a good way though. The craftsmanship was flawless and they were very baroque in their style, which is something we don’t see too often now a days. Although the message is ambiguous I found that all of his work had similar patterns in which they are all very surreal, I would say he is the contemporary Dali.

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(above) Alterations 2010

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(above) Passive 2009

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I Chose to talk about Ron Van Ser Ende, Sculpture reliefs sine there are very 3 dimensional. His pieces are made of salvaged wood. His work consist of colored bit and pieces of wood nailed together to form an image.  They aren’t repainted in order to fit his work. With these found pieces he compiles these enormous reliefs of sometimes everyday objects he finds interesting. These sculptures are usually in extreme perspective and he uses this to his advantage. Here are some images, (Below)

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(above) work by Ron Van Ser Ende

His work references mosaics in a more modern way. On a interview he speaks of how growing up most of his town was very industrial and that he felt liberated when he expressed himself in sculpture. A nice quote by him “Cars evoke our individuality but at the same time they are the symbol of environmental catastrophe, of unsustainability.” This in fact is relevant  since fueled vehicles take a large amount of fossil fuels to build. His main influences are, pop culture and his ‘basic boyish enthusiasm’. These overly sized figures have an immense amount of time and planning in them. When seen from a far they look like paintings but what a brilliant surprise when you get up-close and see all the almost invisible nails keeping these pieces of wood together. A must see at the Armory.

Hayao Miyazaki, The Great Japanese Animator April 15, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Art History, Movable Illustration, Political and Social Art, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
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Post by Emily Ho

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Anime and manga artists from Japan are known world-wide for produ­cing extraordinary work. One famous and considered legendary Japanese animator is Hayao Miyazaki. He is internationally renowned in the field of animation and his history of projects shows how well the audience receives his work. An example would be his sales for the film Princess Mononoke, in 1997, which was known as the highest-grossing film in Japan. Even though Titanic cast a shadow on Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away brought Miyazaki back to the top spot when it was released in 2001.

(above) Hayao Miyazaki

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Hayao Miyazaki was born in Akebono-cho Japan on January 5, 1941. He is a film director, animator, storyboard artist, character designer, screenwriter, and a manga artist. With his multiple skills, he and Isao Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli, which still runs to this day.

Miyazaki’s animation films all consider a large variety of things such as the research, storyline, quality and detail of art, compositions, perspectives and the development of characters for the film to be successful. He is also known to mainly create his animations in the traditional way, which is by hand. It is remarkable how immensely detailed and accurate in depicting reality in the fantasy world is like in his films.

(above) Two stills from the film Princess Mononoke

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Princess Mononoke is an animation where Miyazaki produced very vibrant, full of perspective and detailed artwork. Many of his films are “reflective about the human condition” such as Princess Mononoke, where the film questions about how humans destroy and pollute nature. Miyazaki conveyed that idea by showing if nature had a voice and was personified with animals, how would people confront and interact with them. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind shows the destruction that bugs can bring when humans pollute their environment. Castle in the Sky is also another animation where it illustrates how greed can bring destruction.

(aboveNausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

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(above) Castle in the Sky

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A couple of Miyazaki’s films are playful and fun, dealing with confidence, finding oneself, independence, and interactions with nature. The examples of movies are Spirited Away, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro.

(above) Two stills from Spirited Away

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(above) Two stills from Howl’s Moving Castle 

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(above) A scene from Ponyo

(above) My Neighbor Totoro


Illustrator Scott Campbell April 9, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Uncategorized.
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Post by Vania Wat

Scott Campbell graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with a BFA in illustration with a focus on comics and children’s illustration in 1992. He began his career at Lucas Learning as a concepts artist for children’s video games. Over the years, he has worked as Art Director for Double Fine productions, published numerous comics and children’s books, and exhibited at galleries. He is most known for his nostalgic watercolor paintings and scraggily drawing aesthetic.

(above) From Campbell’s book “Zombie in Love” by Kelly DiPucchio (2011)

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One of Campbell’s most recent endeavors is his GREAT SHOWDOWNS project in which he illustrates famous scenes in movies. He is very successful in choosing a scene in a movie and rendering it in his carefree , cute style while preserving key elements and spirit of the movie. It has received great popularity, as viewers often have fun guessing what movies are depicted.


(above) From Great Showdowns…Take a guess at what movies they are

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Scott Campbell has received an Honorable Mention (2009) and Silver Medal (2005) for Dear Ship’s Log and Igloo Head and Tree Head, respectively. He has also received an Ignatz nomination for Best New Talent as well as numerous art direction awards for Psychonauts, a children’s computer game by Double Fine Productions.

(above) Paper Boy 1884

More of Scotts work can be seen at http://www.pyramidcar.com/ and Scott will be at MoCCA this weekend.

3-D Muybridge Mayhem March 21, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in 3-D work, Anaglyph 3-D.
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Hear the name  Eadweard J. Muybridge and images of  the pioneer in motion photography’s subjects, (animals, nude men and women),  caught in a state of suspended animation come to mind.  Like the movements he photographed there’s more to Mr. Muybridge than meets the eye (or lens).  He led a fascinating life  changing his name multiple times  from Edward James Muggeridge- to -Eduardo Santiago,  he was also known as  Muggridge/ Muygridge, and finally Eadweard Maybridge on his tombstone. He was also involved in the murder of his wife’s lover.

Below are 3-D anaglyph illustrations created  by the class using Mr. Muybridge as inspiration.  You will need a pair of  3-D glasses ( Red left, Blue right) to experience  the 3-D effect.

(above) Sarah Ding

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(above) Inbal Newman

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(above) Taylor Grant

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(above) Arielle Jovellanos

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(above) Jonathan Fast

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(above) Jessica Kim

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(above) Vania Wat

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(above) Mi Young Shin

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(above) Soo Jin Lee

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(above) Leigh Cunningham

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(above) Emily Ho

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Lars Lerin – A Master of Light in Watercolor March 9, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Student Blog posts, Student Post, Uncategorized.
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Post by Linnea Gad

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Lars Lerin, born in 1954, is one of Sweden’s most respected artist and writer. Yet most people might not recognize his name in the United States. Lerin works primarily in watercolor on large sheets of paper, sometimes in a collage style, occasionally integrating his writing on his paintings. He is an watercolor painter tied to a tradition of north European landscape painting. His body of work is both partly travel documentation based on his trips to Arktis, Antarctic, Iceland, India, the middle east, Scotland to name a few, and partly autobiographical landscapes from his childhood and emotional life.

But no matter where in time or space he is does he capture the light and the darks like a master painter. In Lerin’s painting it is the misty air, the darkness and the shadows that dominates. Paintings from the coast of Norway embodies the crisp Scandinavian light while paintings from India are filled with a warm polluted light.

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The relationship of the light and the darkness is rendered so carefully and precisely that it transcends the painting. The wet ground reflects as mirror and sky hangs heavy over the building. One can sense the dampness of a fish factory, the dirty heat of a village in India or the ice-cold winter night depicted with a snow-covered ground and a black sky in the north of Sweden.

Lerin posses a talent for turning a depressing, grey, residential house in a deserted suburb, or piles of fish guts into the most delicate and precious things. Just like the 17th century landscape painters who found beauty in nature or the view overlooking a city with a domestic church in its centre,  Lerin finds beauty in more unconventional subjects like collapsing shanty towns or a roadside gas station.

To see more of his work visit his website    http://www.laxholmen.org/text1_5.html All of the above work is from Lars Lerin.

Make a T-Shirt Demo March 8, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Student Blog posts, Student Post.
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Post by Jonathan Fast

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Learn to make a T-shirt in under 30 minutes, save yourself some big cash by making your silkscreening T-shirts yourself. All you need is about 1/2 a yard of fabric/t-shirt and optional finish trim and thread! You can find this t-shirt pattern for free on Burdastyle.com

Click here for the link to the video

http://vimeo.com/20451941

Anime Transformation March 4, 2011

Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Art History, Comics, Film, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
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Post by Sarah Ding

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Anime is a distinct art style that originated in Japan during the 20th century, in which Japanese filmmakers first became influenced by Western animation techniques. The highly successful Disney 1937 animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became a huge influence on manga artists, who simplified many of the techniques and styles of Walt Disney’s animations due to low budget and labor. Throughout time, the distinct look of anime has transformed significantly, and although there are numerous different styles of anime, they all  have common stylistic elements  typical to the anime style.

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So what exactly is the anime style? Although the features of the face and proportions of anime characters are exaggerated, they are not necessarily classified as cartoons. The most distinct feature of anime characters is their overly large eyes, in order to express their emotions through to the viewer.

However, recently anime has started to become extraordinarily more realistic in terms of the facial features. Even body proportions are beginning to fit the standard human proportions we would normally recognize. The most familiar form of anime could arguably be Sailor Moon, created by manga artist Naoko Takeuchi.

(above) Sailor Moon, A team of magical cute girls who are in reality magical warriors destined to save the Earth, and later the entire galaxy. Their features and proportions embody the look of anime girls.

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Anime might on the surface appear to all look very similar but is in fact quite varied. The anime style of Sailor Moon is remarkably different than the style the viewer sees in  Death Note, a well-known manga created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by manga artist Takeshi Obata.

(above) Two of the characters in Deathnote , Light Yagami, and “L” .

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The art and possibly even the story line has taken on a more realistic approach.  Here, the manga artist is deviating from the usual large eyes and small mouth characteristics that are typical of anime and drawing features more in proportion.

(above) Death Note illustrated by Takeshi Obata

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Although there will always be different variations of anime (from very generic to semi-realistic), I feel that this style in general is starting to become much more realistic by opening itself up to different influences and styles.

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