Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sleeping Beauty Story Meeting

The artists attending the meeting from left to right are sequence director Eric Larson, story artist Joe Rinaldi, production designer Don DaGradi and directing animator Marc Davis.
The storyboards behind Eric are part of the "Boy meets Girl" sequence, which he directed.
Everything went into this section, the most elaborate backgrounds, multiplane shots with animation from Milt Kahl, Marc Davis and John Lounsbery. All this turned out to be very expensive, and when the sequence went far over budget, Walt Disney was not too happy about it. I am sure he had a word or two with Eric.
Next time you watch the film, keep in mind that Eric did his best to make this an outstanding sequence, but he caught some flak nevertheless.

The boards being discussed show the Three Fairies in the jewel box. If you remember they are trying to figure out how to deal with Maleficent's curse.
Marc Davis brought some of his character designs of Maleficent and the raven to the meeting. They are on the floor along with DaGradi's compositional studies.

What a great captured moment in Disney history!
I might read too much into it, but Eric Larson looks a bit distraught while Marc Davis' expression seems sympathetic toward him: It's gonna be ok, Eric.
Click twice on the image, and you are in the room with these guys.

Here are copies of Marc's sketches. He depicted Maleficent's colors in black and red, a concept he saw in a book on medieval art. Marc told me years ago that he felt strongly about those colors, but background and color stylist Eyvind Earle had other ideas and settled for black with purple.
Sometimes teamwork isn't easy.

Extraordinary sinister poses for the raven. What beautiful shapes!

Marc also did design work for various crowd scenes, in vibrant colors. 
The crowds in the final film are more of a backdrop and show less personality.
If these are supposed to be caricatures of studio personal, then the guy in the middle back is a dead ringer for a very old Milt Kahl! And maybe...just maybe the character on the left is a self portrait.