Sunday, August 17, 2014

Victory Through Air Power II

I really didn’t think I would ever do another post on this unusual Disney feature from 1943, but I want to share these terrific design sketches by Marc Davis for the film. Marc is researching animatable versions of the eagle and the octopus, who face off during the film’s climax. It is a short but dramatic sequence, animated by Bill Tytla.
These studies show Marc’s unwavering belief that you need to know and understand an animal’s internal anatomy before you can animate it convincingly. The motion range of wings, neck and claws are thoroughly studied. Marc was a “no nonsense” artist, know your stuff from the inside out before you make it move. Wether cortoony or realistic, Marc always insisted on figuring out the character’s 
inner workings first. 

I remember Marc talking about drawing snakes. He mentioned that many artists draw them by using curved lines only, which results in weak looking images. “There are plenty opportunities to add straight lines to show strength and power”. 
The same can be said about these octopus studies. Whenever a tentacle stretches, it shows tension and stress. Magnificent drawings.

To revisit my first post on Marc’s story sketches for Victory Through Air Power, go here:

It’s time to -highly- recommend this new book on the art of Marc Davis. It gives you great insight into the creative mind of this multi-talented artist, whose career covered character animation, theme park attractions and fine art. Various chapters also describe Marc as a teacher, traveller and husband.
I was honored to write about his animal studies at the zoo.
(The drawings above are not included in the book.)
The book is already available in Disney parks, the Amazon link is here:


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  2. Thank you for this incredible post Andreas!!! Marc Davis is King!!! I love his works!!! Thank you!!!

  3. I have not seen this animated masterpiece from WWII. But looking at Marc Davis' drawings they look beautiful. Thank you for this incredible post.
    Andreas do you have any animation books besides this one about Marc Davis you can recommend for a college students like me to look into for studying animation?

    1. Get Richard William's "Animator's Survival Kit", "The Illusion of Life" and Canemaker's "Walt Disney's Nine Old Men, And The Art Of Animation" for starters.

    2. I believe I have two of those books in my bookshelf. Thank you so much Andreas. I'm really pleased that I'm talking to a famous animator like yourself on this blog. You and your team at the studios have given me so much ambition and inspiration to someday become an animator.

  4. Hi Andreas, I may be a bit OT...watching 101 dalmatians I always loved the scene where Cruella is on her red bed and after she made a telephone call she smiles....that smile really looks like a Milt drawing to me, do you know if Milt ever put his hands on Cruella?
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful gems

  5. Andreas, I own a few pages of eagle sketches that were preparatory studies for Victory Through Air Power. Could I email you images of them to get your thoughts on who might have drawn them? I'd thought they could be Marc's but they look a little different from these..