Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Dessins du Studio Ghibli" Exhibition in Paris


After my signing session at the "Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse" on Sunday I had the chance to visit the "Dessins du Studio Ghibli" exhibition at the Art Ludique museum in Paris. This visit was the absolute highlight of my trip to France. The exhibition features about 1300 original layout drawings of all Studio Ghibli films, many of them drawn by Miyazaki himself. These artworks are exhibited in Europe for the very first time.

The exhibition was an absolute eye-opener for me as I finally understood what the purpose of a layout drawing actually is. In the layout drawing the director, or one of his team members, draws every element that will be seen in a scene or cut. Every character and even most of the background details are drawn in their final form and for the production the different elements are directly traced from the layout by the animators and background painters. Therefore the layout is drawn in the actual size in which the animation and the backgrounds are also drawn (in most cases 35cm wide and 24 cm high for feature film).

One wasn't allowed to take photos at the exhibition but I've purchased the catalogue which features almost all exhibited artwork and here's some pictures for you:

The catalogue, available at the exhibition, costs 36€. The Jiji plush was a must have, too! :)

Layouts from "NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind". Note the animation phases in the upper left corner! 
Layouts from "My Neighbour Totoro". For panning shots, several sheets of layout paper are put together with scotch tape like on the left.

Layouts from "Princess Mononoke"

Layouts from "Princess Mononoke"

Layouts from "Spirited Away"

Layouts from "Spirited Away"

In the following two images we can compare two layout drawings from "Spirited Away" with the respective background paintings (photos from the book "Making of Spirited Away"). It's fascinating to see how the drawing part of the background creation is practically fully accomplished in the layout phase so that the background painter "only" needs to take care of the lighting and colors. I would never have guessed that the work on the backgrounds is divided in such a way.

Comparison between layout and final background painting. They match exactly.



To see that the film in it's entirety is envisioned beforehand and that every little detail of a shot is defined by a single person is dazzling to me. And to see 1300 original drawings done by my personal heroes, for my most favorite films of all time, in one place, only added to my amazement.

A small personal highlight of the exhibition for me was that among the layout drawings there were some refined background drawings (done to add more precise detail to the layout) by Kazuo Oga and there even were some original background paintings from the end credits of "Ponyo". Kazuo Oga and the traditionally painted backgrounds of Anime films in general are among my biggest inspirations. Even to see only a handful of the originals, painted in mundane poster color (!), made my heart jump.

At the end of the exhibition you are able to take a photo of yourself and become part of a layout drawing. It's an amazing souvenir for this unforgettable exhibition.


The exhibition is open until 1st March 2015 at the Art Ludique museum in Paris.

3 comments:

  1. The last pic is a true Edgar Wallace ;) .
    Thx for the suggestion - Paris is always worth a visit!
    Ralf

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  2. What happened to the Android app? I can't find it in Google Store! Will it come back? And if it is, do I have to connect to the web to read? Thanks.

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  3. Thank you, Daniel, for the photos of the catalogue.
    In the case you haven't seen it, you'll probably love this commemorative concert:
    Joe Hisaishi in Budokan - Studio Ghibli 25 Years Concert

    By the way, you are you of the greatest graphic novel artists living today. You have a keen eye and a master's hand to depict light, color and human charm. I often compare you to Vermeer and JMW Turner (yes, really! :).

    Keep up the good work (shhhhh, I'm looking forward the English books ;)

    Best regards from Portugal.

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