“My Philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.” – Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts (and Where to Find Them).
My slides are prepared! I’m trying not to be too worried about our first formal presentation because I’ve always been nervous at the thought of public speaking. BUT the approach is always hakuna matata. (Yes I did just quote both the Lion King and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, children’s movies continuing to teach me more than 14 years of academia ever could.)
FINAL SCRIPT (varies slightly from the slides above):
Noble’s collaboration with Warner Brothers in the early 1950’s paved the way for what came to be his most influential period, as it was with Warner Brothers that his style had the freedom to develop. The break from Disney removed many artistic restrictions for Noble. Leaving behind the Realism of Disney’s background work, Noble worked with Warner Brothers to create a new style, one which famously broke all laws of physics and sense. This allowed the artist to experiment with his backgrounds in many ways
Noble brought to Warner brothers the stylised backgrounds that make the cartoons so memorable and iconic. At a time when it was becoming popular to make 2D look 3D, Noble led Warner Brothers to remain true to what he believed animation should be: flat, stylised, otherworldly and always charmingly playful. Noble detached the aesthetic of animation from the world we live in, which is what makes the Warner Brothers Cartoons of this time a haven of pure unadulterated cartoon madness, a world where anything is possible and anything goes.
“I call it stepping into the picture. You look around and say,”Gee, what’s this all about, and does it feel right for the given picture?” And Then you go ahead and design from that standpoint.” – Maurice Noble [Source]
Noble had quite a task as a background artist for Warner Brothers, as he was effectively drawing the frame around iconic characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. It’s easy to forget about what’s going on behind characters that are so attention-grabbing themselves. So Noble designed his backgrounds in a way that didn’t take attention away from these iconic characters, but complemented them instead; working with them rather than just existing behind them. It was in this era that the background truly came to the foreground.
This is most notable in the Road Runner series, as Wile E. Coyote’s true antagonist is not so much Road Runner, but perhaps the environment that torments him. This being the vast desert landscape and ACME corporation which are notoriously against him to the point of having personality.
It was with Warner Brothers and through the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series that Noble’s style developed. Designing worlds with no physical restrictions, Noble gave character to backgrounds, giving environments a playful charm that is arguably as eccentric and infectiously silly as the iconic characters they framed. His work was the backbone of what came to be the famous Warner Brothers style.