Of all the art forms that face undeserved neglect, perhaps none is as underappreciated as the humble animation background.
“Peter Pan” (1953)
Which actually seems pretty ludicrous. Whether it’s a classic Saturday morning cartoon or a mega-hit Disney movie, the backgrounds are what showcase the characters we tune in to see. These painstakingly hand-painted delights create mood and set the atmosphere of the scene. What would Scooby Doo be without the gloriously gruesome castle on the hill — its trees dark, ominous and foreboding? I’m sure you’d agree, Scooby and the gang running across a plain white page just wouldn’t cut it.
Scooby Doo, “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts” (1970)
Things are quite different today (unfortunately so) thanks to modern technology, computers and CGI. There are few, if any, hand-animated films anymore, with even Disney joining the Dark Side and going digital. But that’s all the more reason for us to look back in awe and appreciation of the lost art of animation backgrounds. Continue reading