Jess Hutch.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

3D on 2D

Surprised you there, didn't I? I'm always going on and on ad nauseum about 2D on 3D, like my embroidered dolls. There was a great post on whip up about these types of dolls back in May.

I'm now extending my obsession to include 2D items that depict a 3D environment. Of course, the most common example of this is... a photograph, but I'm particularly interested in photographs of fully manufactured 3D environments and figures. The most exciting examples I've found of this type of image include of course Dare Wright's Lonely Doll series of books, and old viewmaster fairy tale reels (like this one), and your typical lenticular postcard. Rose of the wonderful Crafty McGee blog recently posted about vintage children's books with 3D illustrations, created by a company called Shiba Productions (the one of the kid astronauts is amazing).

Given my interest in this sort of thing, I was so thrilled recently to discover the work of Bill Sass and Maxwell Dorne, artists of the 50s & 60s who created "Claytoons", exemplified by these incredible Gay Nineties "Snack Mats" I found on eBay recently (inspired by a similar purchase by Kallisti of blastmilk, an amazing doll blog). They also created the 3D and 2D illustrations in this Mother Goose book I purchased (for nuthin') from alibris, along with many other children's books of that period. I'd like to learn more about Sass and Dorne, if anyone knows anything - I can't really find anything online.

Oh, and then I came across the work of Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio, through Penelope Dullaghan's Illustration Friday site - she interviewed him a while back and showed some of his work. I'm stunned by his stuff. I have always loved stop-motion, particularly the Rankin-Bass holiday movies, and his images really depict that same beautiful world that clearly exists in "real life", although it is not depicting anything real or alive. Just wonderful.

Did I happen to mention that this stuff makes me a bit giddy? My primary creative joy these days comes from making toys and taking photos of toys in various environments - I'm looking forward to doing more of this, and these examples really inspire me.


At 6:53 PM , LLA said...

Have you read the biography of Dare that was released a short while back?

It was fascinating.... (The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: the Search for Dare Wright - Jean Nathan)

At 10:11 PM , Maitreya said...

I bet you would also like the Windy series of books by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman. The illustrations are photos of little dolls and dioramas made from ephemera. There are some good pictures from the books at Buy Olympia:

At 5:34 AM , Elli said...

There was a piece on This American Life (episode 153 "dolls") about Dare Wright that I recall being pretty interesting...she was quite an unusual woman :)

At 5:41 AM , Sorka said...

Hey I have that Mother Goose book (the first edition) sitting up on my shelf.
I always thought the illustrations were rather interesting..
Many of the books I had when I was young were like that.. (am I dating myself? really I'm not that old..) But I always did like that style and gravitate toward it when I see books of that style of illustration for my children..

At 5:53 AM , fillyjonk said...

I remember those books with the "lenticular" covers and the doll-pictures on the inside.

I always associate them with doctor's offices because the baby-doctor my mom went to when she was expecting my brother had those books in the waiting room, and for about eight months when I was five or so, it seemed that I spent a lot of time in that waiting room.

I also adore the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials and try to make sure I have time to watch them when they show the 'marathon' of them every Christmas.

At 3:00 PM , hillary said...

ooh, great stuff! love those Shiba Productions books!!

At 6:53 PM , Rose said...

Thanks for all of the amazing links, I hadn't heard of Chris Sickels before. I also second the recommendation of the Dare Wright biography.

At 7:24 AM , Snowbear said...

I too like this type of stuff--- thankfully I still have some viewmaster reels from back in the day. Last Christmas at Target they were selling viewmaster reels from Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer; one of my all time favorites--that's what started my kiddo's new collection!

At 10:42 AM , Jane said...

Oh, I have that Mother Goose book too, although ours is pretty beat up, it was my brother's before it was mine and therefore, quite old. ;-)
I think I had some of those placemats too, wow, brings back so many memories.

At 2:55 PM , Anonymous said...

Hello! If you like Rankin/Bass and dolls check out "The Cat Who Wouldn't Come Inside" book and website by Cynthia von Buhler at Reviewers have been comparing her book to
viewmaster books even though these are no lenticular. They are a 3-d world photographed and printed as a children's book.

Best, Hannah


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