Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Trying too Hard

I drew these characters from The Black Cauldron in this this publicity still a zillion years ago.
And yes, I tried too hard to make them look good. There is way too much focus on details like hands, fabric folds and fur. 
The staging and overall compositions are pretty weak. Embarrassing, There is no flow in these poses, everything looks overly chiseled. 
The humans in the photo are director Ted Berman on the left, then producer Joe Hale and director Rick Rich. 

I did a little better in some of these pieces.
A model sheet of The Horned King, signed off by SEVEN people.

A development sketch of Taran facing the Witches of Morva. Could be much better, but at least the composition reads ok.

I am going to brag a little about this drawing, it shows a visual idea for the Horned King's henchmen.
Marc Davis came by the studio to see what this new, inexperienced crew was working on. I remember him walking down a hallway, storyboards with design work on each side. He stopped at this sketch and said: "That's a great drawing." 
What? Did I hear right? I swear I remember Marc's comment as if it was yesterday.

These are my key drawings for a scene with Dallben. He is talking to Taran and taking a few steps toward the boy. They don't look too shabby, and the animation isn't all that bad either. But when I saw it in color I realized that the motion was strobing, the scene should have been on one-s.

This animation thing sure is a learning process. 


  1. After seeing the Horned King eat popcorn gleefully, I'm not sure I find him so scary anymore!

    1. Makes me feel a little sorry when he is consumed later on (loved still framing during that moment). :-P

  2. My congratulations !
    We want much more of this !
    Please do it !

  3. Great stuff! Thanks for taking the time to share.

  4. really impressive and inspiring stuff you did again! May I ask you what, with all those years of experience now, do you consider weak or what would you fix in your dev sketch of Taran facing the Witches ?

  5. Those henchmen ARE pretty great. :D

  6. It would be a lot of fun to see you redo the promo shot with all the knowledge you have now! Hint hint! ;)

  7. Awkward publicity photos including animation characters appear to have been a thing in the 80s.

    If I had gone to the movies one year earlier The Black Cauldron would have been the first Disney movie I ever saw in a theatre. The way it is it was The Great Mouse Detective.

  8. It would be cool to see your pencil tests from the black cauldron. It may be old to you, but I think you would have an enthusiastic bunch of people that would love to see them nonetheless. :)

  9. I still have an issue of the German "Cinema" magazine from that time with 5 pages on you, working on Black Cauldron. Many years ago Hans showed us drawings you did before getting into Disney's. A girl and her teddy bear, a dancing alligator, a bear, a rabbit. They looked like model sheets made from animation key drawings. All great and full of life. Were these from your graduation film? I would love to see that film. Do you have a copy and would you be willing to post it?

  10. What I really liked about "The Black Cauldron" was the evident fact that it's completely different from every other film in the canon. I really enjoyed the (extremely) dark, creepy tones of the movie, the backgrounds and layouts, and Elmer Bernstein's amazing score. I also really like the Horned King's design you and Phil Nibblink did, Andreas! I'm honestly really happy you guys (you, Nibblink, George Scribner, Mark Henn, Rubin Aquino, Mike Gabriel and the whole gang) went for your own designs and not what Milt, Frank and Ollie had in mind. I know, saying that sounds blasphemous to animation, but I'm being honest- the design you guys gave was A LOT scarier than Milt's.

  11. I like the publicity shot.Reminds us of the days when the films were fun...too serious now.

  12. Were those 7 people really...short miners?

  13. THE FOX AND THE HOUND's production number is 0136. So is it possible that THE BLACK CAULDRON with number 0128 was greenlighted earlier than it? Wish I knew for sure.

  14. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for The Black Cauldron. Thanks so much.

  15. Your henchmen designs were fun, but if they hadn't changed them to Mike Ploog designs I probably never would've been hired to work on BC...

    It was great following up on your and Phil's designs as well ;)