Studio Ghibli's 2013 New Years Day Card

Every year, Studio Ghibli issues a New Years Day card, usually hand-drawn by Hayao Miyazaki.  2013 is the Year of the Snake, and serves as the mascot for this year's illustration.

Have you noticed how Miyazaki's drawing style has become more loose and free in recent years?  It's become more prominent in his anime films like Ponyo and Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess, and continues (to a lesser degree) in Katsuya Kondo's character designs in From Up on Poppy Hill.

Finally, can I point out how masterful an artist Hayao Miyazaki continue to be?  Observe how he can achieve character and movement with simple lines.  His youthful ambition was to become a manga illustrator, and his work as design and layout artist on such productions as Peppi Longstockings, Panda Kopanda, and Heidi are legendary.  It's fascinating to see the debt Japanese animation owes to comics.  Perhaps this is something animators in the West could learn.

Let this be the art lesson for the week: Study This Illustration.

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