Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jiminy Cricket II

A little bit more on Jiminy Cricket, Kimball's iconic character. This is gorgeous frame from one of the opening sequences of the film. Rembrandt lighting in a Disney film.
Young Ward, a kid really, working on a close up scene during the "Give a Little Whistle" song. ( ...which includes some dance moves by the cricket that blow my mind.)

That scene is part of this pencil test continuity sheet. Ollie Johnston did the Pinocchio scenes .

A beautiful layout featuring one of the film's first scenes. Even in pencil form, all that intricate lighting is worked out.

I never heard Ward talk in person about live action reference for Jiminy. Maybe he ignored the reference at the time, or he didn't want anybody to know. He shouldn't have worried, there is no trace of any live action in his brilliant animation. But...having seen some live action footage, I can see an influence.


  1. The shot of Jiminy on the violin is not directly from the film but one of the publicity shots specially recreated by the studio (the same as live-action films re-posing scenes for the publicity still camera).

    The background is the production background, but the cel of Jiminy and his umbrella has been traced and painted afresh, from a new drawing based on the production drawings. The 3 notable differences from the production cels are 1: the gold hatband (Jiminy's hobo-costume hat was bandless, presumably lost long ago) 2: Jiminy's left-hand fingertips - here painted glove colour, but in the film flesh-coloured, as his bare fingertips protrude from the worn gloves, and 3: the production cels have pink shading on Jiminy's nose and cheek. Oh, and 4: for some reason the centre of the rolled jacket acting as a pillow has been painted an ugly black, when in the film the centre is more fold lines with the same colour fill.

    The shot in the film is further enhanced by a subtle partial-exposure shadow cast by Jiminy on the background, and the scene is either slightly under-exposed or filtered to represent the reduced illumination as the room is now only lit by Geppetto's bedside candle.

    These differences between film and publicity stills always fascinate me. The adding of the hatband occurs in all the publicity shots - presumably to maintain consistancy in the character design with his later immaculate costume - but the missing band is part of the shabbiness of Jiminy's hobo costume.

    1. Is it me, or did they forget to color in Jiminy's pants?

    2. You both a highly observant. It takes a keen mind to focus in on such details. I was started to learn that the crow in "Dumbo" was also voiced by Cliff Edwards. Such a different kind of character than beloved Jiminy.

  2. Ward Kimball's characters always find some way to look like Ward Kimball. I wonder if it's because of the mirrors animators use for facial expressions.

  3. I love looking at concept art from the studios. I agree there needs to be recognition to this movie's 75th year anniversary. I still can't get over the design on Monstro and the charcoal medium used in his monstrous climax. I noticed that a recent movie Studio Ghibli made called Tale of Princess Kaguya, they made the entire film using the medium of water color. Just watching the entire movie it felt like it was all hand drawn animation.
    Wasn't Ward Kimball in the Reluctant Dragon showing the newest Goofy cartoon in the movie?

  4. Pinocchio backgrounds are already marvel, and beyond that there is the unique and superb animation.
    Even the layout drawings were master sketches!
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Jiminy Cricket falls from the shelf and bouncing on the saw. Until Jiminy has two legs up for a bounce. I watched "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too" the scene of Roo bounce down from the tree into Christopher Robin's coat. It was fun and bouncing.

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  7. Incredible post! The storyboards look to have layout clean ups in there. What a major undertaking and an absolutely magical moment in history.