Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The World of Bruno Bozzetto

This is what I call an early Italian Christmas. I just received this incredible box set of films by Bruno Bozzetto, on blu-ray. Available at Amazon/Germany. It includes three of his feature films:

- Allegro Non Troppo

- West and Soda

- The Super Vips

Also, a booklet, most of his award winning short films and two documentaries. Language choices are Italian and German. This whole collection is a dream come true. The picture quality is fantastic!

I highly recommend this box set.

Here is a link to a previous post on Maestro Bozzetto:


Sunday, December 5, 2021

Milt Kahl's MacBadger

"Angus MacBadger is trying to straighten out the tangled finances of his gregarious but irresponsible friend Toad. Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole come to help when MacBadger sends out a distress signal. These drawings were done in 1941 for an earlier version of the film, which was shelved due to the war."

John Canemaker, in the 1982 publication of Treasures of Disney Animation Art

This scene does appear in the final version of the film though. After MacBadger fights off Toad's lenders, Rat and Mole show up and escort the exasperated Badger from the front door of Toad Hall back into a study. There he collapses against a writing desk. 
Milt's work is pretty rough here, and it represents his drawing style during the early 1940s. His animation roughs from Pinocchio look like this. 
Of course I admire his drawings and animation from any period of his career. Wether loose like these or meticulously designed during his later years, they all show true genius.


Friday, December 3, 2021

Frank and Ollie Interview


Here is a link to a terrific interview with Frank and Ollie. Michael Barrier talked to them in 1987. It is fascinating to see them both talking so candidly. This conversation is more about what went wrong during their time at Disney, and less about what went right. Since many of us know that part already, to hear about their frustrations and disappointments is super interesting. 

At one point Frank talks about how difficult it was to animate Cinderella's stepmother. I had always thought that he enjoyed the challenge of drawing this subtle, powerful villain...apparently not that much. The role wasn't "juicy" enough for him. Frank criticized Milt Kahl's early character designs for Lady Tremaine. Too realistic! You can find those drawings here (followed by a few of Frank' animation roughs):


Here is Mike Barrier's interview:


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Bill Peet Books

I haven't had the chance to see any of Bill Peet's life drawing (from a nude model), but Milt Kahl told me way back that "they knock your socks off." Milt was a huge fan of Peet and his storyboard work for Disney. As were all of the animators.

Heritage Auctions offered this concept piece for the cover of his 1989 autobiography a while back. The final version for the book removes the artist from the composition. What an outstanding storyteller, at Disney as well as in his "Childrens' Books". (They can be enjoyed by adults as well.)

Peet started to illustrate books in 1959, while still working at the studio. His first book was "Hubert's Hair-Raising-Adventure". 

Here is the Wikipedia link to Peet's life and work:


I am just so thrilled to have met him, and I recall our lively conversation during the reception of my wire sculptures exhibit at Disney in 1989:



Sunday, November 28, 2021

101 Dalmatians, Behind the Scenes V

Last part of images from an Italian booklet about the production process from Disney's 1961 animated feature 101 Dalmatians
When you create something that's innovative, beautiful and entertaining, it will be for the ages. 
101 Dalmatians falls into that category.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Brave Little Tailor's Giant

 You really can't overstate the inventive animation Bill Tytla produced during his time at Disney.

Just take his work on the Giant from the 1938 short The Brave Little Tailer.  On the surface his design is pretty cartoony. Around this time Giant personality types similar to this one showed up in short films from other studios. But Tytla's animation shines because on top of basic animatable forms he applies real human anatomy. Each hand, leg or foot is a study in a classical sense. The way finger- and toenails are drawn in proper perspective shows that this man was a master artist who knew the human figure. 

And then there is this tremendous feeling of weight in the animation. WEIGHT !! One of the most important components in any kind of animation.

These clean up lines were drawn over Tytla's rough animation, on the same sheet of paper. That's why the drawings have such vitality as well as beautiful dimensional volumes. Groundbreaking work.

Are young animation students today still studying this kind of stuff? I sure hope so.