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. 



Tuesday, November 9, 2021

101 Dalmatians, Behind the Scenes IV

Here is the fourth installment of artwork and production photos from 101 Dalmatians. (One more to go.) Somebody mentioned that this material should be included in a coffee table sized book on the making of the film. I couldn't agree more. Any of Walt Disney's animated features deserve a deluxe book, showing the behind the scenes process. Pierre Lambert has been publishing gorgeous books on Disney films filled with original artwork. 

But it is time for a series of books that lift the curtain and give readers an indepth look on how these cinematic masterpieces came to be. Storyboards, character designs, layouts, backgrounds, photo stats and photos of the artists at work should all be included. What do you think?







Monday, November 8, 2021

Runaway Brain Article


Here is a new insightful article by Drew Taylor about the troubled production of the Mickey Mouse 1995 short film Runaway Brain. I have nothing but great memories working on this project in Paris, out of all places. The French animation crew was fantastic, so talented and enthusiastic.

I did a post on Runaway Brain a while ago:

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Halloween, Ollie's Birthday

It is still October 31 on the US west coast, Halloween. A good time to remember Ollie Johnston, since today is his birthday. Ollie is not very well known for his animation on villains, even though he animated a few. Brom Bones, Cinderella's stepsisters and Smee all benefited from his comedic touch toward villainous characters. 

Ollie IS known though for his work on Prince John and Sir Hiss from Robin Hood. Here are a few sheets showing explorations for scene continuity and character layouts.

This is actually a Frank Thomas sketch.


Friday, October 29, 2021

Sword in the Stone Art


The discussion about The Sword in the Stone continues to this day, as fans and historians disagree whether this is a great or mediocre Disney film...or even a bad one. The movie certainly has strong sequences like the Wizards' Duel, the squirrels section and Madame Mim. But the film's key relationship between Wart and Merlin could be more interesting, more nuanced and more entertaining.

As Ollie Johnston said, what we had going on with Baloo and Mowgli, we never got with Merlin and Wart.

Here is a sampling of artwork from the film, starting with an animation drawing of Wart by Milt Kahl. 

These Merlin studies were drawn by an assistant, who traced animation drawings by Milt. 

A cel from the film's finale. 

A couple of cels from the Wizards Duel, animation by John Lounsbery. 

A cel set up from a scene animated by Frank Thomas. 

Lounsbery's long suffering wolf. 

Ollie Johnston animated this scene. 

A color model for Sir Ector. 

Another Ollie Johnston scene, which received a little drawing help from Milt Kahl:


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Lion Lesson


I have nothing but great memories from that day, when a bunch of wild animals (mostly lions ) took over one of our conference rooms at Disney Animation. I believe at this point the drawing session is over, and most artists have left the building. Ruben Aquino and myself were asked to stick around for some B-roll footage that was to be included into the Making of the Lion King documentary. 

What an amazing day...some of us could have died.  ;)

Here is the link to a previous, more extensive post covering this event: