Sunday, May 12, 2013

James Bodrero


James Bodrero (in the center of the photo) could draw horses.
And Walt Disney knew this, that's why he asked Bodrero to storyboard large sections of the Pastoral sequence in Fantasia. All that interaction with Bacchus and the Centaurs is his work.
Not much later Bodrero was chosen to join Walt and El Groupo on a trip through several South American States to study and sketch local culture and folklore.
Not much sketching going on in the photo above, but he seems to be enjoying a dance lesson which is being filmed by Walt Disney himself.

A stunning character design sketch depicting a couple of centaurettes and a faun.
This casual situation reminds me of the work of Heinrich Kley.

These drawings made during the South American trip leave me somewhat speechless.
They seem effortless, and yet everything from anatomy to the characters' outfits is so well observed and put on paper with sheer joy. Some of my favorite Disney drawings  ever! These horses….oh boy!!

Animator Frank Thomas becomes a subject in this Bodrero sketch.

Bodrero left Disney in the mid fourties, he enjoyed traveling and particularly fell in love with Spain.
Him and his wife had residences in San Francisco as well as Andalusia on the Costa de Sol. 
In 1965 he published a book titled "Long Ride to Granada", a sort of travel log through the South of Spain. Here are a few beautiful illustrations from the book.

James Bodrero in his later years.
He passed away in San Francisco in 1980 at the age of 79.


  1. Yes indeed, amazing drawings. Just few incredible smooth lines, and that the horse.

  2. What a wonderful time for Disney. So many talented people under one roof is enough explanation for how they could make so many amazing films and shorts in so few years. One question, do you know how Walt Disney decided who went on El Grupo?

    1. I guess he felt that these artists would be most qualified for the trip. I need to check the film "Walt & El Groupo".

  3. Florencio Molina Campos was an Argentinian painter that colaborated with Disney's artists on Saludos amigos and The Three Caballeros. He had a particular and funny way to draw horses. The Bodrero's horses, remember me the Molina Campos style. But the horses drawed by James Bodrero are more dinamic,more fresh,and have more life that the Molina Campos horses. Thanks Amdreas!

    Here you can find some stuff about Disney and Molina Campos.

  4. Oh man, what a post! Thanks for those gorgeous Bodrero drawings

    1. beautiful drawings!Funny "dancing men" photography

  5. "He could draw horses" is quite an understatement! :D

  6. I keep coming back to look at that centaurette drawing again and again. So gorgeous! There's something that feels so effortless about it.