Revisiting Leonardo

One of the first posts on this blog pointed to Leonardo Da Vinci as an early pioneer of animation.  I still stand by that assessment.

In that post I pointed to the sequence of poses from Leonardo’s notebooks that sketch the motion of a man chopping wood:

Man chopping wood - Leonardo DaVinci

Man chopping wood – Leonardo DaVinci

I recently came across a book that had these images in a bit clearer format and in clearer context and was tempted to purchase the book.  However, I realized those tiny images would very likely be the whole reason for buying the book.  As with most notebooks Leonardo added notes to these images so there is much more to be gleaned from studying the originals.  Maybe some other day…

The thing that set Leonardo apart from other artists (as an ‘animator’) is his intense and never ending study of movement.

Yes, my friends… animation may be ‘the illusion of life’ but movement… basic movement of all types is present in animation too.   In fact that ‘movement’ is what creates a compelling illusion.

Leonardo understood movement and how it relates to us in ways that even in our day and age we often do not.

Another recent book on Leonardo that I have not purchased covers theories of how he created the illusion of movement in still paintings.  I should buy that book too.  Some day…

Keep on animating!


And here for the curious are some additional ‘pose studies’ by Leonardo.


If anyone can share links to larger images of Leonardo’s motion studies on the internet or provide additional context concerning his affinity with motion/animation I will be most grateful to you.



About Rodney

Cartoonist and Animator! I'd tell you more but then I'll have to debrief you.
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