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 🙂

25 thoughts on “Making Anime: Positions in Anime Industry

  1. wow… I love how thorough most of your posts are; I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this blog

    keep it up

  2. I’m going through art college at the moment, so this post was definitely helpful in getting to know more about the career prospects in the anime industry. (: Some of our subjects even covers some of the jobs slightly already-like character design etc! Nevertheless art can be grueling-and expensive, ahaha. Thank you for this post!

    1. I am glad it was helpful for you 🙂 It sounds like your college education is interesting 🙂

      If you had a choice, what position would you take?

  3. Very awesome post!

    The editor you mentioned, Kazuhiko Seki, worked on Akiyuki Shinbo’s Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Natsu no Arashi but not his Maria+holic. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons why I think both are far superior to Maria+holic. Especially since I often thought Maria+holic felt lazy and not as sharp as the other two.

  4. Art Director. I enjoy drawing landscapes. (: Would be cool to visualize the concept art for a film production, anime or live action! Our college is definitely interesting, but they really push you I suppose, so that we will deliver more when we go out to look for a job later.

    1. Yes, Art Director is an interesting specialty 🙂 Post your landscapes if you have some 🙂

      Pushing students a little is good as long as it is done in moderation.

  5. Question, I’m doing a paper on outsourcing in the Japanese anime industry, and I need a source on how all it’s structured. What all sources did you use?

    Due at 6pm today 5/21, and it’s 2:50pm now. Help please!

  6. Thank you again, this article was very useful. Actually I think I am about to do something big right know even tough I am young. My dad took my sketch book to his work today and he showed it to his co workers, one of them use to do comics and I have been planning two comics for two months and already.

    1. I am glad you found it useful 🙂

      If you are into comics, I recommend books by Scott McCloud, especially Understanding Comics. One of the most interesting sections is chapter seven where he describes a path that any creation in any medium will follow 🙂 It is also a nice perspective on a growth of an artist. It is an interesting reading not only about comics, but about art in general 🙂

  7. wow…much work from your part…It clarified some things yet I still get confused at some responsibilities. And a question: what is a ‘key’? *blush*
    Very enlightening work. Thanks!

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