Art Director (Bijutsukantoku)
Art Director creates illustrations of the key locations, defines the setting, colors, detailed settei (model pack) for background artist and key animators, and “art boards” with rough backgrounds.
This is a sample from an art director Nizo Yamamoto (Anne of Green Gables, Castle in the Sky, Fantastic Children, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke).
Art Set (美術設定, Bijutsusettei)
Background (背景, Haikei)
Screenshot from the movie
You can see how the art was implemented in this AMV:
My favorite art director and background artist is Kazuo Oga (Cat Returns, Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, On Your Mark, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Whisper of the Heart). His work emanates warmth that is rarely seen in current mostly digital animation.
See the artist in action 🙂 This is a condensed video of painting process that took six hours to finish 🙂
From July 21 through September 10th, 2007, the Museum for Contemporary Art Tokyo held an exhibition of over 600 Oga’s works. Here is a brief glimpse of the event and documentary on his work 🙂