You can never get enough Gustaf Tenggren

Is it time for another one of our Gustaf Tenggren-inspired panegyrics? Yes it is, courtesy of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Seriously, you should just read that blog every morning and skip everything else. In this installment they talk about the evolution of the Golden Book illustration style. (Tenggren went from working for Disney to drawing The Poky Little Puppy, one of the most influential children’s books of all times.) How did Tenggren go from this:

tengtell24 You can never get enough Gustaf Tenggren

to this?

tengtell38 You can never get enough Gustaf Tenggren

All is shown in the link; illustrators take note.

But halfway through Tenggren’s Tell It Again Book comes a huge breakthrough in design. Instead of the full page plates, Tenggren begins to float his characters over the white of the page, wrapping the text around the compositions. Background elements are reduced to small islands on the page, rather than extending out to the edges of a square bounding box.


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  1. The great Gustav Tenggren also did many fabulous concept paintings for the Disney classic Pinocchio, commissioned by Disney himself– more in the spirit of Collodi’s original (sinister) story. Worth checking out, look for them in the inexpensive Illusion Of Life softcover, covering the famed “9 old men” era of disney films– an essential must-read for any cartoonist.

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