British illustrator Ronald Searle (1920-2011) has had an immeasurable influence on the animation industry. It’s hard to quantify his impact on animation, but if I had to, I would guess that at least a quarter of all the development art created for feature animation nowadays bears Searle’s influence, either indirectly filtered down through other artists like Milt Kahl and Tom Oreb or directly inspired by his work. This staggering contemporary ‘tribute’ to Searle’s art, however, hasn’t done anything to diminish his own prodigious output, which stands apart for its inventiveness and spirit of graphic exploration.
A taste of Searle’s vast body of work is currently on display at the Cartoon Art Museum’s new exhibit, “Searle in America.” The exhibit, which focuses on his reportage assignments in the United States was organized by Pixar story artist and Searle Tribute blog curator Matt Jones. It will be on display through March 30, 2014: