As I finish up my next hand drawn film, a popular comment I get when people visit my office at NYU is.. "wow.. I didn't know anyone did that anymore".. the comment gives me mixed feelings. As I draw, I'm well aware that I'm practicing a method that not many do anymore.. but.. allow me to submit that we will see more and more of it. I had several students comment the other day that they wished the school had more hand drawn curriculum. (below: the beast from my personal animation art collection.. rad)The reason it resonates is because people are yearning for something REAL in animation.. How many regurgitated formulas and polished digital techno puppets can people take? This is why Coraline rocked.. it looked real! it had living texture. "Princess and the Frog" looks like crap because Disney refuses to embrace the hand drawn medium, like they did with their older films, especially the xerography films like Jungle book and 101 Dalmatians. Those master works were un-apologetically DRAWN. "Princess and the Frog" may as well be Computer Generated! I feel like it's trying to compete with CG.. when in reality, drawn animation is an entirely different medium!! Why would they polish good drawings to the point where all the soul is removed from the line?? At the end of the day, drawings look cool.. and they're even cooler if you know that they actually exist as drawings. (Below: Drawing of a masked man still on the pegs, light on)
The simple fact: A drawing is REAL. It exists. You can pick it up and handle it. It is a one of a kind artifact. A digital drawing can be reproduced to infinity, thereby decreasing it's value. It lacks true texture and real touch. When the power is off, a digital piece of artwork literally ceases to exist. A film that depends on digital images is built on something weak, no matter how good the result is (just look at how much the Pixar books tout the hand drawn development art). Everybody knows the value of hand drawn, but everybody is also intimidated by drawing.. so most love the fact that computers have put their imprint onto something they couldn't comprehend anyway. (Below: Drawing from "The Wall")In the immortal words of Danny Antonucci (tattooed on his arm) "F--- DIGITAL, DRAW!"