Monday, June 10, 2024

Shere Khan and Kaa II

I talked about this sequence from the Jungle Book before. Here Shere Khan interrogates Kaa, the python, about the man cub. The storyboards were drawn by Vance Gerry and Floyd Norman.

Again I am utterly impressed with Milt Kahl's staging of the two characters. He takes the main idea from the story sketch and draws them in a way that creates a strong visual connection between them. You can see in those rough lines of the tiger that weren't tied down (because those areas are off screen) how hard Milt worked to get the drawing, the shapes and the overall staging just right. Absolute perfection!

Here is the link to a previous post with more of tiger/snake staging masterpieces:

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Richard Sherman Interview

You all heard by now that Richard M Sherman passed away recently. He would have been 96 years old next week on June 12. 
Richard was amazing in so many ways. Everybody who met him has a Richard Sherman story. He was happy to meet anybody who wanted to meet him. You might have seen Richard in bonus material on some of Disney's home video discs. 
I just came across this fantastic interview with him on Youtube. It was conducted in 2011 by Scott Feinberg. Richard is very much at ease here at his home. He reflects on his songwriting career with his brother Robert, as well as working with Walt Disney, PL Travers and others. 
Great stories from someone who was a true genius, an entertainer and an optimist. He will be greatly missed.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy the story of Richard Sherman.

Here is the link:

Thursday, May 23, 2024

A Milt Kahl Sketch Explained


Recently I had the good fortune to purchase this beautiful sketch by Milt Kahl. It was part of the Marc Davis Auction at Heritage. So what the heck is going on here visually?

I remember seeing the drawing framed in Marc and Alice's home years ago. At that time Alice explained: The woman portrayed is Alice's mother Mildred. Marc and Milt Kahl had been colleagues as well as best friends for many years. Alice thought it was high time for her mother to meet Milt. But beforehand Alice warned her mom over the phone that this friend of the Davis' often used vulgar language in his conversations. During the actual visit everybody got along great. Then there was Mildred's poodle who exhibited "romantic feelings" toward one of Milt's legs. The next day Alice called her mom again, this time to apologize for some of Milt's profanities. She responded by saying that she thought he was perfectly charming... and if he couldn't use any bad language, he would not be able to speak at all. 

True story. So on her upcoming birthday Milt sent Mildred this sketch. After her passing Marc and Alice ended up with the drawing. 

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.