Saturday, May 27, 2017

More on Cleworth's Dragon

I posted about animator Eric Cleworth before regarding his work on the dragon fight sequence from Sleeping Beauty. It is a powerful piece of animation. Woolie Reitherman directed this section of the film, and if he hadn't directed at the time, he would have animated it himself. Known for his chase and action animation, Woolie was ideal to get involved in the film's dramatic climax.
But it was Cleworth who brought Maleficent to life as a horrific monster, while maintaining some elegance of the villain's human form, animated by Marc Davis.
I love everything about the rough sketch above. The flow within the pose as the dragon threatens and approaches Prince Philip. The search for stylized yet solid anatomy is breathtaking. A master drawing full of energy and guts.
There had been numerous design versions of the dragon before, this one comes close to the final design.
Eric Cleworth, underrated Disney artist.

Her is a link to a previous post on the same subject:


  1. Before seeing these posts, I assumed that Marc Davis animated Maleficent in both of her forms. Shows how much *I* know...

  2. Thanks. That is a great piece to use for my essay on Sleeping Beauty, especially on my chapter for the creation of Maleficent (dragon form). Did you know that Eric Cleworth based his animation from a Rattle snake for reference?

  3. This is one of my favorite scenes from Sleeping Beauty. I have a print-out of Eyvind Earle's concept art for this scene. It's fabulous and the final result is surprisingly true to the concept art.

    With the 20th anniversary of Hercules coming up next month, I'm quite excited to see what other goodies and insights you've got up your sleeve!

    1. Hercules 17th anniversary is out on bluray in 2013, 3 years ago.

  4. I went to school with his granddaughter! She was very passionate about making sure everyone knew he was responsible for dragon Maleficent.