Art Directing 'Song of the Sea'
A moving Irish storybook.
Happy Thursday! In this issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter, we’re opening up the art direction of Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea (2014).
Cartoon Saloon is the center of Irish animation, an indie team that’s pulled off five Oscar nominations for its artful films. Song of the Sea was its second feature — a perilous moment. Director Tomm Moore compared it to “a second album,” with all the associated risk of sophomore slump.
The Secret of Kells (2009) had put the studio, and Moore, on the map. A big reason was its visual look. Inspired by medieval art, especially the Book of Kells, it’s a mesmerizingly and at times disorientingly complex-looking film. But it balances the artistry with an accessible story — it’s an odd combo. How could Cartoon Saloon follow it up?
That’s what we’re exploring today. Here we go!
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