Lamar Graphic Design Blog

Lamar University's Graphic Design Department Blog

Inspiration for Illustrators: Tim Burton by Ashley Schurtz


On August 25, 1958 in Burbank, California, a worldly known artist was born. Influenced by classic horror movies and Dr. Seuss, he started drawing characters of things that go bump in the night. With a dash of horror and child-like fantasy, he turned his characters into something real.

Tim Burton wasn’t afraid of being different. He carried out his creepy-like until he attended the California Institute of Arts. There, he made them real. Burton is most famously an animator, but was an illustrator first. He is known for his animation movies such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and The Corpse Bride, just to name a few.

Alice in Wonderland concept art - tim burton

Blending together the imaginative horror and fantasy themes, he grabs the attention of children and teens without causing too many night terrors. His characters are creepy, but friendly. It’s as if Dr. Seuss has become gothic with his art. Burton uses lots of crooked houses with uneven doorways and rugged swirl-like designs through out his artwork and movies, the most notable being the famous hill in The Nightmare Before Christmas. He plays with darker color combinations such as black and purple for a more morbid feel. Aside from his animations, much of his illustrations has been presented in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Seol Museum of Art just to name a few. As the internet became more and more popular throughout the decades, he now has an online gallery of his illustrations, in which it is viewed like an illustration – type video game at (which is incredibly fun given that you have a measly 5 minutes to spare during your strenuous working hours).


Besides the obvious darker themes of his illustrations, he played an important role by bringing illustration into the every day world. By word of his animation movies, his art has been portrayed on the web, clothing, and other merchandise. He has introduced the younger generations to the illustration world through fads of the gothic scene up to the movie world. In my opinion, his work has announced the world of illustration has gone ‘main stream.’

You can learn more about the author of this post, Ashley Schurtz at:


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This entry was posted on May 26, 2013 by in Illustration, Student Writing.
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