A few weeks back, we posted images from Kay Nielsen's beautiful book, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Today, we are posting images from Nielsen's greatest book, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Glancing through these images, I think you will be reminded of color schemes and design elements used in animated features over the years.
It is very difficult to scan these fragile old illustrated books without damaging the bindings. I'm happy to do it if people are benefiting from these postings. If you are, please let me know by posting to the comments link below. I would appreciate knowing which of our postings have most useful to you. Please comment on the appropriate page and link to your own sketches that have been inspired by our postings. This blog is yours.
The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive is at the disposal of artists, so if there are specific things that would help you in your work, let me know by emailing me at email@example.com, and if we have any material that fits your needs, I will prioritize digitizing it.
Kay Nielsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1886. His first success as an illustrator came with the book we digitized for inclusion in our media database today... "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". Nielsen differed from his contemporaries, who were steeped in the European tradition, by following the lead of artists from the art nouveau movement like Aubrey Beardsley, as well as Persian and Asian art.
Nielsen's interests shifted from book illustration to design for the theater; and in 1936, he was brought to Los Angeles to design a production at the Hollywood Bowl. He decided to join the Disney Studios as a concept artist and made a significant contribution to "Fantasia". In fact, you can see early precursors of the designs for the Pastoral Sequence in a couple of the illustrations from "Twelve Dancing Princesses" below.
The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive was fortunate to obtain a first edition of "Twelve Dancing Princesses" to digitize. The vivid colors and sharp details in this vintage book do justice to Nielsen's genius better than the fuzzy, faded reproductions in later collections do.
Nielsen's pen and ink drawings are just as beautiful as the color illustrations. If you would like to see all the images from this book, stop by the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive anytime during office hours.