Activity 2A: Analyzing Landscape and Concept Art
Landscapes in Book Illustrations
You may consider using a database to find out if a local library has these books.
- The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
- Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, Dr. Seuss
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, written by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett
- One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale, Demi
- Soul Looks Back in Wonder, edited and illustrated by Tom Feelings (various authors)
- Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold
- Zomo the Rabbit, Gerald McDermott
- Flotsam, David Wiesner
Emily Carr was a Canadian painter who traveled alone through First Nations villages of British Columbia. She fought against deforestation and aimed to record and remember the cultures of First Nations People, whose ways of living were under siege. She is best known for her landscape and totem paintings.
A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth (1932–35)
Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky (1935)
Old Tree at Dusk (1936)
Gao Cen is known to have made art from 1643 until after 1682 and was one of the Eight Masters of Nanjing. Gao Cen made very small paintings—the pages of the album Landscapes After Ancient Masters are just over 8 inches tall. In these landscapes of Nanjing, Gao Cen drew upon antique styles of Chinese painting.
Landscapes After Ancient Masters (1667), from Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
John Constable was an English farmer and merchant’s son who wrote, “I should paint my own places best.” Instead of painting idealized landscapes (landscapes that express an ideal rather than depic a realistic natural environment) popular at the time, he favored naturalism in countryside and domestic scenes. His depiction of the countryside where he grew up led to its nickname, “Constable Country.”
Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds (1825)
Weymouth Bay from the Downs Above Osmington Mills (1816)
Salvador Dali was a Spanish painter from Catalan who was fascinated with the use of illusions, symbolism, and psychology in the making of art. He was a major contributor to the Surrealist movement. Though his paintings are quite fantastic, elements of his landscapes—such as the cliffs in the background of The Persistence of Memory—are influenced by the real landscapes of his native Catalonia.
The Persistence of Memory (1931)
Maynard Dixon began painting in the late 1800s in America. At a time when many of his fellow artists were heading to Europe, he preferred to depict the landscape of the American West and celebrate the open spaces he found there. He was married to the famous photographer Dorothea Lange.
The Cloud (c.1940, Coachella Valley, California)
Horseshoe Meadow (Toulumne Meadows) (1921)
José María Velasco
José María Velasco believed in studying disciplines not related to art, such as biology and geology, to strengthen his skills as an observational painter and to express the beauty of Mexican landscapes. His work helped define 19th century landscape painting in Mexico. He was also a teacher of the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera.
El Valle de México Tomado desde el Cerro de Santa Isabel (The Valley of Mexico Viewed from the Saint Elizabeth Hill) (1877) (analyzed in the unit)
Cardón, Estado de Oaxaca (Giant Cactus, State of Oaxaca) (1887)
El Valle de México desde el Tepeyac (1905)
Lu Zhi was a Chinese artist born in 1496, who spent his retirement years in the mountains west of Suzhou. Planting Chrysanthemums includes a poem he wrote to his friend and neighbor, Tao Qian, celebrating their secluded mountain homes and complimenting his friend’s garden.
Planting Chrysanthemums (Ming dynasty)
Note: As concept artists’ galleries change often and some may have objectionable content, it is recommended that teachers review Web sites and choose image links that will be suitable for their students.
Pixar (Red Studio)
Color analysis in Finding Nemo (2003) (analyzed in the unit)
Once you are on the site, click on "Ralph Eggleston speaks about Pixar and animation" > "For the Birds, Toy Story, Finding Nemo" > "Making Nemo's World?"
Galleries contain many landscapes and cityscapes. For example, this piece shows his color palettes:
Ed Li’s Web site has a range of sketches, paintings, and completed works for landscape and structure concept art. Click on “sketches,” “paintings,” and “projects.” Note the variety of quick sketches and how he outlines details of buildings in a sketch before creating the painting.
With 25 years of experience, Stephan Martinere’s Web site includes all styles of concept art, from book covers to character sketches to computer games. An Emmy nominee, Martinere’s work primarily focuses on science fiction and classic fiction.
Bathhouse concept art, from Spirited Away (2001)
Howard Van Lyon
His galleries contain several good landscapes and a few pieces showcasing the design process. He is most notable for using a number of distinct styles.
This Web site provides examples of a wide range of concept pieces, including landscapes. Click on small images to see larger versions. Mathias vVerhasselt is currently a concept artist and matte painter for games at Blizzard Entertainment.
Concept art director Feng Zhu has worked with George Lucas and Industrial Light & Magic, as well as with many gaming companies. His Web site includes detailed environment and technology pieces, including game and movie set designs.