A peek into the art of Coraline.

For anyone who knows me, will know i am a massive stop animation fan.

My favourite film is Coraline based on the book by Neil Gaiman, directed by Henry Selick and created by Laika Studios, although the book and film are typically targeted at a younger audience, adults worldwide took to the story due its dark meaning, and beautifully terrifying storyline.

The pictures below are just some of the official Coraline development art that was previously auctioned off. The artists represented include, Aaron Sorenson, Mike Cashuela, Tadahiro Uesugi, Stef Choi, Bill Boes, Dan Krall and director Henry Selick.

coraline_f (1)

The above is a pair of concept/character development paintings of Coraline’s Mother and the Other Mother. painted in watercolour and graphite. Artist: Robert Best.

coraline_e.jpgEarly original concept, showcasing the Other Mother eating spiders in front of a mortified Coraline. Artist: Dan Krall.


The above is one of my favourites from the collection. I love seeing early development sketches, because you can usually identify the character but they are clearly still developing certain aspects. This a hand-drawn animator’s model sheet of an early Coraline design. It shows 11 facial designs and a sketch of Coraline reading a book and daydreaming, while her Dad is at work on his computer. Artist: Dan Krall.


Original character design artwork of Coraline’s Real Father, drawn in graphite over pen and ink. Artist: Aaron Sorenson.


Another great concept piece of Coraline with her Other Mother in the Other World. This was done with a mix of styles including Pen, ink, and watercolor. Artist: Dan Krall.


Here you can see they started to introduce colour to the character. This is a concept lithograph created from a Tadahiro Uesugi original watercolor painting that showcases his concepts for Coraline’s many outfits used throughout the film.


Lithograph of Coraline in Other Mother’s Living Room. Created from original watercolor concept painting by Chris Turnham.


Lithograph of Coraline’s Other Father at the piano. Created from original watercolor concept paintings by Tadahiro Uesugi, whose paintings were used to build the story as well as to create the color palette for the movie.

coraline_p (1).jpg

The above are a mix of concept drawings of the Evil Other Mother drawn by the film’s director Henry Selick. You can see from the above sketches that he was figuring out the shape of the character. His use of harsh and pointed lines indicates his clear intentions for the other mother from early development stages.

Henry Selick’s design concept sketches also include a third, full-figure, drawing of the Evil Other Mother labeled “Hungry Other Mother” done in graphite on vellum. and a photograph of the Animator’s Maquette of the Evil/Hungry Other Mother that the sketches helped to develop.


If you haven’t already picked up on it, I’m a bit of a fan-girl when it comes to Laika studio’s work. Since the release of Laika’s hits; Coraline, Boxtrolls and Paranorman, i have been on the look out for related merchandise, but unfortunately the market is very limited. This is when i decided to take to Etsy because i was adamant there would be fans out there creating artwork for these kind of films.

I found a small store called Butterfly Creation who creates original artwork of classic films. I saw she had previously created a similar piece for an @Voo_doolady who is a toy photographer and collector, so i got in touch and requested a commission piece.

image1-2-1440x1080 copy.jpg

“One boring blue boy, in a painfully boring blue painting”

image1image1-2-1440x1080 copy

For anyone who is familiar with the book and film, you’ll get this. If not, this probably isn’t the most exciting post for you. (Sorry not sorry)

The frame and painting is 2×2 so is very small, which makes it even more amazing because the attention to detail is insane for something so little!

Tifini (Artist) made the piece this small to go alongside my NECA Coraline doll which is roughly 7 inches.

I am such a sucker for detail and anything that is subtly nerdy. I like the idea that you can appreciate the artwork without knowing what its from, but at the same time if you’re a Coraline fan, you’ll definitely recognise it.

If you haven’t read Coraline i highly recommend it. Gaiman is well known in the world of adult literature, but Coraline was the first book for children. It’s undeniably a required taste but it’s fun for kids who like creepy tales. The black-and-white illustrations by Dave McKean are correspondingly sinister. Not everything will make sense to young readers, but they will find Coraline to be a brave character who uses her intelligence to not only save herself, but also others the Other Mother trapped. Plus, the plot rolls along fairly unpredictably with a few good scares. Same as applies for the film, for children and adults alike.

Hope you enjoyed this post, it was a bit more of a marmite post but hopefully theres a few of you out there that appreciate it!








Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.