Sunday, May 19, 2024

Indian Wildlife

A little while ago, while I was working on the Jungle Book exhibition for the WDFM, I had the idea to come up with sketches of the actual animals being portrayed in the film. The set is still not complete yet, but here are the first three.







Sunday, April 28, 2024

Aristocats Art


People don't talk much about the art direction for The Aristocats. I think it is beautiful. After the conventional, painterly backgrounds for The Jungle Book the Disney team decided to go back to a more graphic look with black line work. Earlier 101 Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone had started this trend. When you have amazing background artists like Al Dempster, Bill Layne and Ralp Hulett you can be assured to have terrific art no matter what the style may be. 



A Ken Anderson development sketch.


The human characters still blow me away. Milt Kahl designed and animated them realistically, but their anatomy shows sophisticated, simplified graphic designs.













John Lounsbery helped Milt with the animation of Edgar, the butler. as well as the old lawyer George Hautecourt.


I believe this is a Frank Thomas scene.



Currently there is no good version of The Aristocats to watch anywhere. The film looks unrecognizable in its over-restored state. The old DVD still has a somewhat authentic look.

Backgrounds Disney ARL, cels Heritage Auctions.

 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Earth Day/Marc Davis



Happy Earth Day! Today I hope we can all reflect and contemplate the importance of the natural world and its wildlife. One of its biggest champions was Marc Davis. He and his wife Alice supported several environmental and wildlife protection organizations. Of course we all know about Marc's immense talent for depicting animals. He was an expert in anatomy and motion study. This is evident in his animation, theme park designs and his personal fine art. Here are a few masterful pieces that were recently part of a big Marc Davis art auction at Heritage.

 





















Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Anatomy of Motion

This is the title for a book that Marc Davis had been working on for many years. Unfortunately it was never published, but all of Marc's research still exists. Motion range as well as comparative anatomy among a number of species are top subjects. Also many studies of bone and muscle structure. 

The book was intended for artists, animators and physicians. I will post Marc's initial sketches (he also produced final illustrations) from time to time, and I highly recommend studying them. Print them out and create your own Marc Davis Anatomy booklet!

I believe some of this material dates all the way back to the late 1950s.












Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Another Ward Kimball Post

It always fascinates me to see an artist's style change over the years or decades. Ward Kimball drew these caricatures of colleague Harper Goff sometime during the 1950s. Goff was a Disney story man/art director for the film 20.000 Leagues Under The Sea. Alongside Kimball he also played the banjo in the Disney artists jazz band Firehouse Five Plus Two. I just found out that later he would art direct the iconic, original Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Kimball's graphic style is very much - labeled as - mid century modern. Sort of non Disney,  experimental. But let's not forget that he co directed the 1953 short film Toot Whistle, Plunk & Boom at a time when a few Disney artists were trying to branch out into new visual horizons. 

 



Here is a reminder of Kimball's drawing style a decade or so earlier. Fred Moore was setting the Disney style at that time. The characters looked round, dimensional and as Art Babbitt would say "juicy".

Both styles of course absolutely brilliant!!!






Saturday, April 6, 2024

Otto Dill


Up until a few days ago I have never heard of Otto Dill. I don't know how that's even possible, since Dill is a German Painter who lived from 1884 until 1957. As soon as I googled him I fell in love with his work. He was known as the painter of lions, but his work includes a vast variety of animals as well as landscapes. I am still trying to analyze his impressionistic style, and who might have influenced him. I can see hints of Delacroix  and Daumier. 

Dill started drawing and observing animals in zoos, before traveling to North Africa, Italy, France and Spain for further study and painting. He was an extremely prolific artist, but unfortunately a large collection of his work was destroyed in 1943 during a bombing in WWII. Still, much of his art is still around and sought after by collectors and museums. In 2001 his home town Neustadt an der Weinstrasse opened a museum in his name. They only exhibit his work. 

I don't know about you guys, but I ask myself the question: Where have you been hiding all my life?















This painting of a tiger knocks me out...for obvious reasons. 


Friday, March 22, 2024

Milt Kahl's Birthday

Today, March 22, is Milt Kahl's birthday. I have posted many tributes to Milt over the years, so here is something different.
As I pointed out before, Prince Phillip was his least enjoyable animation assignment. But as always he did a terrific job, the way he brought him to life with subtlety and humor. 
Years ago I was lucky enough to purchase all key drawings from a Phillip scene that ended up being cut from Sleeping Beauty. That scene has the Prince seated at the beginning, before he hears Aurora's singing in the forest. He gets up, walks screen left, then comes to a stop and looks to the right. He is trying to figure out where this beautiful voice is coming from. It might have been Milt's first production animation of the character, because the design looks different from the final version. As you can see in the first image, his face is a bit more stylized. 
Walt Disney asked for a change in the character design. Apparently Phillip did not look handsome enough in Milt's early version. 
The second image shows a few adjustments, particularly in the facial area. This look would become the final model, and I have thought that Milt drew this sketch as well. But in taking a closer look, I believe that somebody else did the "draw over". It is my educated guess that Marc Davis re-drew this Phillip pose.
There is an attempt to simplify the shoulders and the chest, and the line work reminds me of Marc's graphic style. 
As much as I prefer Phillip's final design, the first drawing is a masterpiece.
Then again all of Milt's drawings are.




 
Here is the link to my first first post on Milt Kahl years ago...: