Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Ralph Hulett Christmas, part 4

Ralph Hulett Christmas card
Click on the thumbnail for a full-sized image

Mr. Hulett did different types of cards: landscape, Christmas scenes, and "character cards" featuring animals and people who appeared year after year. There was Santa, of course, but also court jesters, Catholic monks, and this butler, forever doing butlerish things ...

© Estate of Ralph Hulett


Anonymous said...

Please forgive me for my traditional art ignorance, but how was the background of this piece made? I've become so used to looking at digital art and recognizing techniques (e.g. gradient fill, solid color box with low opacity custom brush for texture, characters on top layer, etc) that seeing this and realizing it was created long before computers "made art easier" (or "took the fun out of things") filled me with a sense of awe and curiosity.

Are all the elements of this image on one sheet, or where they done separately, cropped, and photographed together? How was that amazing texture created and was it done prior to adding the character and gradient background? What was the medium and final size?

Superb work!

Steve Hulett said...

Done on white board. With background paints from Disney.

Done with a brush.

An important thing to know is that Ralph painted seven days a week, year after year, from a young age. I mean, it was his work and his hobby. Put that much time into brush work, and you get proficient.

One example of all the mileage: A veteran Disney b.g. painter told me that once, when she was painstakingly creating a starfield on a dark blue sky one dab of white paint at a time, my father happened by.

He looked over her shoulder and said: "Annie, that's not the way you do that. Do it this way ..."

He dipped a big-bristled brush into white paint, then moved the brush above the dark sky while flicking the bristles.

"He made a perfect star-field," Annie said. "In five seconds."

It's called "having command of your media."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your Dad's work! It really is outstanding and wonderful! I've enjoyed seeing them this season as well as last year!
I hope we get to see a lot more!

Happy Holidays to everyone in Cartoon Land!:-)

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering when you're going to post the new dreamworks slate just announced?

any guesses.. Madagascar 3 and 4, Kung Fu Panda 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and How To Train Your Dragon 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Think I'm kidding?

Anonymous said...

Sequels? So what? Will union members be employed? Thats the main thing. Some of you seem to be your own worst enemy. You have answers for everything, only you know everything, you're the ultimate authority on everything. The main thing is these pictures will keep union members working, feeding their kids, making their house payments and these days thats a big deal. Don't want to work on a sequel-you're too good for that? Hey there's always McDonalds...or the Valley Cab Company!

Pete Emslie said...

If I might, I'd just like to offer my own speculation on the painting approach to answer the query of the first Mr. Anonymous, as I've painted all my life with gouache as well. I suspect that Ralph would have masked out both the figure and the doorway with frisket, a thin clear plastic film with adhesive backing that is cut around the area carefully with a sharp X-acto knife. He then would have painted the blue background, adding the texture colour with a sponge. Once that was dry, he'd have peeled off the frisket covering the door frame and painted that, using a ruler raised up on it's edge slightly as a guide for running his brush along to get those perfectly straight edges. Finally, he'd have peeled off the frisket from the butler, leaving the figure a clean white silhouette on the bare board on which to paint all the main colours and details. Small fiddly details like the mistletoe and perhaps the coattails would not likely have been masked off, as they're easier to add in on top of the painted background areas.

Anyway, that's just my best guess, looking at Ralph's painting and figuring out how I myself would have approached it in a practical manner. Yes, Photoshop would make some things easier, but I maintain that a digital painting will never have the charm and warmth of a real painting on illustration board.

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