Monday, June 25, 2018

Kley's Artistic Evolution

Here are three Heinrich Kley magazine illustrations that show how his art evolved over the years.
The first one is titled "Summer Solstice in Heidelberg". I would date this piece sometime during the 1890s, even though there seems to be a later date indicated on the upper left side.
The depiction of men, women and children is realistic and rigid. It is a pretty illustration, but undistinguishable to other artists of that era.

The next one is titled "the late Hour" from 1896. A lot more going on here in terms of dynamic composition, inventive poses and personality. Just beautiful!

The third sketch represents what Kley became famous for. Fantasy illustrations that show, what Walt Disney would call "The Plausible impossible". Surreal, caricatured situations, drawn in a believable manner. In this case a violinist fiddling away while being eaten by alligators. Luckily the drawing shows the process' early stage.

Kley's work at this time also included assignments for the German steel company Krupp. Some paintings show plane architectural (but beautiful) renderings of their factories. But even in those environments he would occasionally include oversized evil, satyr-type or other characters.
His imagination is sometime difficult to figure out, since we always look for the meaning behind such unusual work.
What is easily accessible though is his drawing virtuosity. Way ahead of his time he could depict the most absurd situation and make it look beautiful and believable.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Kahl Witches

Heritage Auctions recently sold these design sketches by Milt Kahl from the movie The Black Cauldron. I believe that in the original books by Lloyd Alexander the three witches keep exchanging their outfits in order to confuse the group of lead characters.
This story concept isn't easy to get across in just a few drawings, but if anybody might have pulled it off in animation, it's Milt.
Great drawings, though in principle the characters borrow heavily from the designs of Madam Mim as well as Madame Medusa.

You can see a Tim Burton concept sketch of the three Witches here:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Mike Peraza

My multi-talented friend Mike Peraza created this beautiful poster design. I just love it. Check out Mike's blog:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

One of Milt Kahl's last Drawings

Just a few days ago I found out that this little gem of a drawing was offered at Heritage's Comic Strip auction, which took place in January. It was sold for just about nothing (or an "apple and and an egg", like we say in Germany). I truly believe that the amount would have been 10 to 20 times larger, had the sketch been offered at one of their Animation Art auctions.

This of course is a Milt Kahl drawing, done for a fan on his last day at Disney, on April 30, 1976.
I think Milt spent most of that day doing sketches like this one. Many of them featuring Madame Medusa, his final character for the studio.

PS. I re-read this lot's description, which says that this is a signed print.
Now I wonder where the original might be...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Why isn't he finished yet...

 ...because our team is relatively small, and it takes time to maintain quality. We were thinking earlier this year, if  everybody gives it an extra push, perhaps we could finish the project by the end of this year. But this would mean compromising here and there in order to get it done. That's not going to happen. So we will go into next year with the hope and intention to finish by mid-year.

To be honest. there were times when I thought, what't wrong with a seven minutes format?
The fact is, I need 25 minutes to tell this particular story.
And we are making progress, with five sequences in final color very soon.

The scene above shows Sarah after she arrives in Eastern Russia. She is sent upstairs to her "room".
The camera follows her as she walks across her new home. She trips, then runs into a spider web before arriving by the window on screen left, where she opens her suitcase.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Milt & Roger Miller

Great behind the scenes photo of Milt Kahl and Roger Miller, the voice of Allan-a-Dale, the rooster from Disney's 1973 film Robin Hood. As far as character designs, this is one of my favorites. This character needed to be depicted in some kind of period costume. How do you do that with a rooster?
Milt did have some experience with clothing on poultry, having designed and animated Ludwig von Drake in the early 1960s.
For an extensive post on Allan-a-Dale from 2011 go here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Geppetto Head Studies

I should have put in a bid on these two sheets that were just up for auction. I was busy animating and forgot about S/R's animation art auction. Most of you know that Art Babbit animated the character of Geppetto in Pinocchio, but I believe these drawings are by Fred Moore.  
What do you think?