Thursday, May 2, 2013

Farm Animals

I believe these colorful story sketches for the film Mary Poppins are the work of Don DaGradi.
They sure foreshadow the movie's rich Technicolor look.

According to songwriter extraordinaire Richard Sherman, DaGradi was able to visualize just about anything in only a few seconds. That spontaneity made it all the way up to the screen.
The movie's storyline is very uncluttered, accessible and pretty darn magical.
For me the animated sequences are of course the highlight of the film. They were animated by Disney's top animators. Frank and Ollie did the penguin waiters, Milt Kahl animated the fox hunt, and John Lounsbery focused on the horse race, and earlier on the visit to the farm. All of it great stuff! 
Milt came up with the final designs for the farm animals, and every one of them is a gem.
Those sheep with their heavy wool make for great characters, and the lamb's anatomy is delicate and charming.
The work horse is a heavier version of the Captain from 101 Dalmatians, and the cow's design elements also remind us of that film. 
But it's the pigs who jump off the page. There have been a number of various pig designs in Disney animated films over the years, but these are hilarious. Basically a sausage shape for the body, the legs are tiny, and the eyes are a just couple of dots. 
By the way, these model sheets were printed and distributed exactly FIFTY years ago!
The reason these drawings still look so fresh today is because the quality of their designs remains unmatched. Call me old fashioned….


  1. Nothing wrong about liking something that's 'old fashioned' as long as it's creative and of good quality!

  2. Your so right about them staying fresh. You really see the similarities in design of the cow here and the ones in Home on the Range. That clever arc of the back and defined pelvic joints. Superb!

  3. Love the second color sketch! Nice how the characters are sorrounded by the animals.

  4. Those sketches could use directly as childrens books illustrations. :) Great oist again.

  5. Watch out, you'll be accused of having your 'nostalgia glasses' on. That's all I've got recently when saying I still prefer old 2D to CGI. 9_9

    I adore the animated sequences in this film. The penguin waiters always make me smile, and when I see some youth with his pants half way down his legs, I can't help but think of Dick Van Dyke dancing.

    1. "Watch out, you'll be accused of having your 'nostalgia glasses' on. That's all I've got recently when saying I still prefer old 2D to CGI. 9_9"

      Let them try that on me, I can take it!

    2. I prefer 2D too because it actually requires an ounce of skill, plus it's made by humans.

  6. oh my god... I love the farm animals from Mary Poppins! the designs will hold up for all eternity!

  7. I've always compared Poppins animation to Dalmatians animation ever since I was a kid. Did you know that Anita looks exactly like Julie Andrews. I did a couple of fan images about Anita looking like Mary Poppins.

  8. Ah, the farm animals, by Eric Larson. He's trained you well, Andreas, hasn't he? I only mention that because I read it in your post as #11 on the Top 50 Most Influential Disney Animators! I also heard you did a test of a witch on her broom that went very well. You even impressed some of the uptight old guard like Ed Hansen & Joe Hale. You're amazing! There's no other way of putting it! You know what Barry Temple once said of you? He said: “Me and Andreas started the same day and I remember seeing his portfolio and saying to myself there is no way I could ever possibly be that good. I thought everybody’s portfolio was that good but soon learned it was an exception.” Well, you know what? You ARE an exception, Andreas! AND you are a remarkably selfless person, sharing all of these animation bits done by yourself & so many other animation greats! It would be a privilege working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, but my drawing skills will need A LOT of work, so I've been practicing by drawing A LOT of other animated characters from Disney, Pixar & DreamWorks animated films! I hope they make more 2D animated films from Disney very soon! I look forward to hearing from you!
    Wakko Warner aka Eric Zimmer :D

  9. Those pigs crack me up! Totally amazing. I agree that the designs are unmatched today. Nobody designs characters like that today.