When you strip Looney Tunes from all its characters and movement and music, you discover this hidden dimension filled with beautiful images that are abandoned, silent, and kind of creepy sometimes. It’s the complete opposite of what Looney Tunes is. Filled with life and very loud. These background images are liminal spaces. Spaces that are usually filled with life, but are now dead silent.
He further explains how the art was created through layout designers and background artists.
Layout designers come up with the designs and the lighting and the camera angles for each shot of the cartoon, and those initial designs are then used by the background artists to create the actual backdrops. These artists are the unsung heroes of the Golden Age of American animation. An age that ran from the 1930s up until the early 70s.
He also showcases the work of Maurice Noble, an iconic background artist whose career spanned more than six decades.
One of the things he quickly threw out the door was a style of realism that was often used at Disney. …He said that if you have characters that are mainly lines and flat color, you should follow the same approach in your backgrounds. And if your characters are caricatures of reality, your background art should be a caricature as well. For instance by adding lots of exaggerated imperfections or by using stretched out and distorted perspectives.
Finally, he notes how famous works of art inspired the background artists.
Okay, first take a look at this background from a Looney Tunes cartoon. And now look at this painting by Edward Hopper. Here’s a De Chirico and a Looney Tunes background. Looney Tunes, Rockwell Kent. Salvador Dali, Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes, David Hockney. You just cannot look at these backgrounds without noticing some art references. In fact the images are little works of art themselves. They don’t need the Looney Tunes characters and the music and all that jazz to be complete.
Here are some examples courtesy of Looney Tunes Backgrounds
via The Awesomer