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[Earthsea mainpage] Gedo Senki
(Tales from Earthsea)

Goro Miyazaki's Blog Translation (Page 18)

16th January 2006

Number 18 - At Night, Can you see Mt. Fuji from Tokyo?

One of the impressive scenes in the film "Tales of Earthsea" is a moonlit night scene. Because it's not live photography but animation, we obviously have to draw it by hand.

Imagine a scene whether the moon disappears behind floating clouds and then reappears again. You know more or less the feeling, but if you were asked in practical terms what colour the clouds are, and how they change, you'd be in trouble, wouldn't you?

The colour of clouds in front of the moon changes at a bewildering rate. Now whiter now blacker, and now tinged with blue.
When the clouds are thinner they look whitish. When the clouds are thicker, they look blackish. Sometimes just the outlines are white.

This is not just limited to clouds on a moonlit night. Even with things you normally think you know fairly well, when it comes to drawing them, at that point the "vagueness" of your memory becomes "clear".

Whether background art or people's movement, without looking at the thing itself you can't say to anyone with confidence what it's like. This applies even more to artwork: If you don't make a habit of observing things really well, you won't be able to draw them.

I don't actually paint backgrounds or draw motion myself, but as the director I have to transmit my images to the staff, and make judgements about the finished product. So I try to practice "observation" as much as possible in my daily life.

For that reason I currently spend a lot of time looking up at the sky. How the colour of the sky changes, what shapes the clouds take, what colours they take - and so on, and so on...

Last Saturday, it rained for the first time in a while. When I got home from work and went up to the second floor of the house to look at the sky - about 11 p.m. - the rain had already stopped. The rain had taken the impurities out of the air and the clear air felt really good.

Looking to the west, a row of mountains stretches black across the earth.
Clouds are flowing in a belt across the sky, from North to South.
Watching these clouds steadily, between the clouds and the mountains a faint white shadow became apparent.
Don't tell me that's Mount Fuji?

Whether that was a cloud, or Mt Fuji, or just a trick of my eyes, I'm not clear, but this unexpected side benefit set my heart leaping. It was a midnight surprise.

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