Animation Lineage


My work resides in the animation industry where many influential figureheads have paved the way for the future of the industry. Since animation is such a specialized field I will explain how each member of the diagram has influenced animation as a whole. First I want to explain why I want to be a part of this industry.

I have grown up watching these animators work and have fallen in love with the people who have created the work. I want to bring inspiration to others as they have done so for me. Animation and digital arts are my passion and the people I will be discussing are the many people that I take inspiration from and hope to be among them some day. There is just something beautiful about creating something so realistic that your audience is transported into to that world. I see the work of John Lasseter and I think to myself, how can one person think of so many amazing movies that make everyone love them so much. I dream of my work one day inspiring others as John Lasseter’s work does.

Now everyone thinks that animation did not start until Walt Disney, but that is false. Let’s start with the grandfather of animation, Winsor McCay. He first started out as a newspaper comic strip artist then later became an animator. He is best known for his animated short Gertie the Dinosaur. He made animation popular with audiences for the first time, which paved the way for everyone else in the animation industry. We then move to Norman McLauren a Canadian animator who created the widespread usage of animation techniques that were pivotal to the development of the industry. Without these two men animation might not have developed the way it did, which is very important to note. Next I will discuss two artists that works developed the industry even further.

The two artists that shaped the animation industry are Lillian Schwartz and Hans Richter. Hans Richter was a German painter that later created film. He is credited for making one of the first abstract films, which is a pretty big deal. We also recognize Lillian Schwartz as a contributor to animation because she was one of the first artists to use computerized media in art during the 1960s-70s. This was during a time when using computerized media was not the norm. Some of the techniques she used in her art would soon become commonly used in softwares like Photoshop. Although Photoshop is not animation, the development of software is important to the industry because the more advanced are made the better they can be utilized in other softwares. Artists have always pushed culture and media forward but so have these next few artists I will discuss.

We now move to better known figureheads that helped to shape animation as a whole. Osamu Tezuka is one of these huge influences to the animation industry with his work on Astro Boy. He also created the infamous large eyes featured in every Japanese anime. Although he may not sound like a big deal, he is due to his moving of comic characters into a television format. One really well known man is Walt Disney, who really made animated films worthwhile for audiences, namely families to enjoy. He and his Nine Old Men, another name for his nine main animators at the Disney Animation Studios, worked on the films we all grew up watching as children. Two of these Nine Old Men, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, are to this day hailed for their book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life due to it containing the twelve basic principles of animation. These basic principles still hold true today even though we work digitally now. Their work was revolutionary and is still used to help others learn the field of animation today.

Now keeping with the theme of childhood animated shows everyone remembers Scooby Doo. The co-creators of the Hanna-Barbera Studios, Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera, made the most popular animated tv shows to date. The made animated TV shows a household tradition that would be passed down to future generations. I wouldn’t leave out Charles M. Schulz and Jim Davis everyone loves Peanuts and Garfield especially due to how hard it was to get work published during that time.

Now there are two men to mention even though their work was not digital nor drawn. They are Nick Park and Tim Burton. They worked in animation, but mainly clay animation and drew in their own popularity. Nick Park is best known for Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep along with others. Tim Burton is known for his live action films as well as A Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. The last three men mentioned have done so much for industry.

The last three men I will mention are very respected today and have achieved greatness in the industry. First I will talk about Ralph Bakshi who is mostly know for his work as a director of animated and live action films. He created his own studio, Bakshi Productions, after working for Paramount Pictures. He is credited for creating the first x rated film Fritz the Cat. He has also worked on The Lord of the Rings and Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. The second man Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most inspirational people in the industry to date since Walt Disney. He is actually referred to as the Japanese Walt Disney and with good reason. He has worked as an director, animator, manga artist and many more. He also is the co-creator of Studio Ghibli which has produced many popular animated films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Howls Moving Castle just to name a few. Many animators and artists in general look up to him including animator John Lasseter. He is one of the biggest names in animation, especially after the creation of Pixar. He is the mastermind behind almost if not all the Pixar stories shown on screen.

All of these people have changed the way we watch film and serve as inspiration for me on a daily basis. I love knowing that the potential for great films is reachable and I hope to one day make an impression on the world with my work.

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Joanna Nawn

Welcome to my blog! My name is Joanna Nawn and I have a deep passion for art and animation. This blog was started in order to share my journey through art with the hopes of becoming an animator someday! Animation is a major part of my life and I am always looking for ways to improve. I keep up to date with viewing animated shorts and films in order to understand the standards I should uphold in my own work. Please feel free to contact me and/or follow me on social media!

One thought on “Animation Lineage”

  1. This was a very interesting read, considering the overlap in our respective interests. Some of the same creators have a huge influence on my desired field, Illustration, to include Osamu Tezuka and Winsor McCay. It’s amazing how far animation has come and I look forward to seeing the advancements in techniques and further legitimization of the craft.

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