Books &Frame Grabs &Illustration 25 Jan 2008 08:54 am

Steadman’s Animal Farm

- I saw Halas & Batchelor’s Animal Farm at a seminal point in my animation development, so I guess you could say I was struck over the head at just the right time. The same is true of Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty or Magoo’s Christmas Carol. They, and a number of other films from that period, have enormously affected how I see animated cartoons and what it is that I like. Somehow, I think I’ve mentioned this before.

I am also a big fan of Ralph Steadman‘s work. For some inspiration, I was looking over his illustrations for Orwell’s book. The story vibrates in his hands. I thought it might be interesting to post some of these and find relative images from the film to see how they compare.

Make no bones about it, I think Steadman is as close to an artist an illustrator can become, and I have no similar thoughts about the artwork for the Halas & Batchelor film. I am interested, however, in how different people view images they get from the same text.

___On the left, we have the book’s dust jacket, cover. On the right, Steadman offers a
___caricature of George Orwell holding rats in a cage. A reference out of “1984.”

___The inner cover of the book’s front features this double page collage/painting by
___Steadman. Politics of Orwell’s time is put front and center.

____Napoleon and Snowball closely align with each other and give each other support.

_______All the animals meet in the barn to create a plan. The pigs take the lead.

___The major battle with the humans ends with the farmers running away from the
___animals who have joined together to take over the farm.

The pigs post new rules that they’ve created.


________________The horse, Boxer, is the strongest and most loyal worker.


The Halas & Batchelor Film

__________The Halas and Batchelor film starts out with master shots of the farm.



__The animals push the farmer and his drinking buddies off the farm and end the
__sequence with a rousing animal song around a fire.

The rules are written on the barn wall while cross cutting to Napoleon hiding newborn puppies in the hayloft. We’ll later learn that he’s trained these dogs to grow into attack guards for him when he takes over the farm. It’s interesting that the French version of the book calls this pig Caesar.
______(As ever, click any image to enlarge it.)

9 Responses to “Steadman’s Animal Farm”

  1. on 25 Jan 2008 at 11:37 am 1.Emmett Goodman said …

    I never knew Ralph Steadman illustrated “Animal Farm.” Those illustrations are beautiful. Real gritty yet flowing and expressive. I have to check this out. What medium did he use to color his images?

  2. on 25 Jan 2008 at 1:25 pm 2.Tom Minton said …

    I always wanted to see Steadman’s stuff animated but no artist short of Richard Williams in his prime could’ve really pulled it off.

  3. on 28 Jan 2008 at 1:42 am 3.Eric Noble said …

    Ralph Bakshi was actually going to do an animated version of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” based on Ralph Steadman’s illustrations. However, Hunter’s girlfriend wouldn’t allow it (I think she had the power of attorney, correct me if I’m wrong). It would have been interesting to see that happen.

  4. on 01 Feb 2008 at 4:58 pm 4.Luke Farookhi said …

    Ralph Steadman is one of my favourite illustrators. I would love to see his take on Mervyn Peake’s ‘Gormenghast’, or Rabelais’ ‘Gargantua and Pantagruel’. Some of the creatures and characters in ‘Pantagruel’, in particular, seem made for his particular style.

  5. on 02 Mar 2008 at 11:32 pm 5.Chris said …

    With regard to your comment “I am interested, however, in how different people view images they get from the same text.” During my exhaustive searches for “Animal Farm” items from Halas & Batchelor’s production, I have come across various illustrated interpretations of the novel. I will have to send you images from the Argentinian edition, 1948, the Danish edition, 1947, and my personal favourite, La Fattoria Degli Animali, the Italian full comic strip version published in 1947.

  6. on 10 Mar 2010 at 9:28 pm anonymous friend said …

    The movie and the book suck. He completely cut snowball out; it’s not fair he was a hero and would have been a much better leader.

  7. on 11 Mar 2010 at 9:06 am 7.Michael said …

    Anonymous friend. In the future, if you want your comment posted, you have to attach your name to it. If you want to trash something you’re in your right, but you better be able to stand up to it with your name.

  8. on 23 Apr 2010 at 3:29 pm 8.Steven Hartley said …

    I read the book “Animal Farm” almost eight months ago, and I thought it was a wonderful, awe-inspiring book, and then after that I saw the animated-version, and I really thought it was a gorgeous, well-animated film, (brilliant film score), and I really like because it mainly stuck to the original novel, (unlike Tim Burton, who, I think, was not following the story of Alice in Wonderland, and made it into a completely different story), and its interesting that very few animators worked in this one film, (ex-Disney animator John Reed) was the animation supervisor, I wonder what he did, maybe he did some effects animation as well as character animators, I wonder if he animated the ending, where the animals are charging to Napoleon and his army of pigs, (wonderful sequence).

  9. on 03 May 2012 at 6:38 pm 9.Ralph Steadman illustre “Animal Farm” d’Orwell (Harcourt, 1995) | Le blog de Shige said …

    [...] Les images viennent du site Michael Sporn Animation. [...]

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