Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Odds and Ends


As I am trying to organize my studio space, I came across a few things from my Disney past.
The sketches above are character designs for Queen Moustoria from the 1986 film The Great Mouse Detective. I tried to model her after Queen Victoria. Looking at the drawings now, decades later, I think they are not great, but not half bad either.

These are dog studies for Oliver & Company. Most of them were drawn from life at the studio, the first sheet with motion continuity was drawn from video footage. I have always loved this early stage of production, just doing research. In the end I didn’t do much animation on the film, I think just a handful of my scenes ended up in the movie. This was a time when Roger Rabbit was taking shape in London, and I switched over to that production.










If I remember correctly, I did these pigeon/character drawings AGES ago for Dave Michener. He was helping Ken Anderson during the early 1980s to get a movie called “Scruffy” off the ground. And there was this pigeon character. I don’t remember much about him or the story, but what bothers me is the fact that I drew this pigeon with a thin neck. How weird!  Pigeons don’t have thin necks!




Correction: The pigeon was not designed for the proposed film "Scruffy", instead he was originally a character in "Great Mouse Detective".

17 comments:

  1. Great drawings, full of life. I love that thin-necked pigeon. I saw one like just that on Trafalgar Square, I swear.

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  2. Amazing and beautiful drawings! Especially dog sketches, example on sixth paper´s, where´s dog leaning, there´s so much thinking prosess going in dog´s head and that can see even from that view angle.
    Those doesn´t pale in comparison to Wilhelm Busch´ sketches.

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  3. I can't wait for this book to be in my hands:

    The Nine Old Men: Lessons, Techniques, and Inspiration from Disney's Greatest Animators - Andreas Deja

    Thank you so much, hope there are going to be many lessons as possible about classic animation!

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  4. A thousand thanks for the Queen Mousetoria art. Great Mouse Detective is my obsession!

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  5. Thank you as always Andreas! Every post is such a treat and a learning experience. I had the fortune of organizing a 2-day seminar with Glenn Vilppu here in Tokyo last month. Looking at your dog sketches (and some of your past life sketches) I dare say it seems you have a technique similar to Glenn's (at least when he was drawing in his sketchbook) --- it almost seems like you "trace" out the subject, rather than "constructing" it out of visible geometric forms and such. I saw Glenn do it several times in front of my eyes and it still baffles me how one could use such minimal lines (in pen of course) and still convey perfect volume and weight. If it was a "graphic character" I could understand how...but.. I guess my question is, "How do you do that??" Not tooting my own horn, I can draw pretty fast but not like that! Is this just a matter of milage?

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  6. Yes the pigeon has a thin neck. But he's so well drawn and appealing and beautifully sketchy it doesn't matter.

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  7. Andreas: We used to have a "stool" pigeon in "Basil" who was eventually cut as we simplified the structure. Dave was going to direct the sequence with the pigeon. I believe your drawings were done for that, not "Scruffy"? Or do you have other pigeon drawings in your files?

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    1. I think you are right, John. I remember showing Dave these designs, and he still had some "Scruffy" stuff on his walls.
      So this is a "Basil" outtake.

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  8. your queen Victoria mouse is great! She deserved a greater part in the film.

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  9. They are not great... hehe I wish I could draw as half as good as that!!

    Great animal sketches, I love the way the trace changes depending on the breed.

    Thanks for the lessons!

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  10. Do you happen to remember who animated Fidget and Toby in Great Mouse Detective?

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  11. Hey Andreas, do you think you could give the pigeon his own post? I'd love to know more about his role in the film! Also, I'd like it if you could please do a post on Scruffy?

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  12. I'm sorry if this comment isn't in the right spot but I've been waiting a very long time to express how much I like your work, especially on Scar.
    As a kid I doodled endlessly, and dreamed of growing up to work for Disney. Of all that I saw though, it was the brilliance of Scar that still gives me the shivers. I'm the one that is on the edge my my seat babbling about a particular line, or pausing the video to excitedly point at a leg, a hair, a facial angle. I just have no idea how to say just how much your work on that film inspires and amazes me.
    I never did grow up to be an animator, but I still wish I had gone that route and had the chance to work under you. Your expressive line work is truly captivating!

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    1. Thank you very much, I appreciate the compliment.

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  13. I love "The Great Mouse Detective"!

    I got this drawing of yours from a scene at the end of the movie from Howard Lowery:

    https://flic.kr/p/MpCd9m

    It came with a corresponding image of a lady mouse whose hand he was holding :)

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