Saturday, September 21, 2019

Can't Get Enough of Kley



I really can't.
Each new Kley piece I discover online or at auction takes my breath away. Maybe it's our common German background.
This drawing was titled by Kley "The Patient". Not sure of the date.
What a wonderful whimsical situation. An unwell dragon, an eccentric doctor and a princess.
Just for a moment...imagine this being animated, moving, as is in the illustration!
What a glorious film this could be....





Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Genius of Milt Kahl



Another example of the immense creativity of Milt Kahl during the production of Lady and the Tramp. Milt was able to animate just about any situation with a four legged animal at this point.
He knew a dog's anatomy like nobody's business, and he could animate any scene believably in a masterful way. Milt liked this movie, he thought this film represented some of the studio's better efforts.

More on Tramp here:

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2019/03/a-lady-tramp-masterpiece.html

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2012/06/one-year-anniversary.html

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2011/07/tramp.html

Friday, September 13, 2019

A Father Daughter Story



I remember animating this sequence from The Little Mermaid. 
King Triton is having a serious conversation with his daughter, who has disobeyed the rules by going up to the ocean's surface. 
His tone of voice has concern, anger, frustration and disbelief. I was in the middle of animating this, when suddenly it dawned on me that all of his feels too familiar. My older sister Christa had started dating way back, and she would go out to have a good time at a nearby disco. 
My dad told her to be back home by 11pm, but of course Christa had a habit of being late. My father would wait in the living room until she returned in order to face her and read her the riot act.
He was very loud in his rants, and he got close to my sister, pointing at her, but never touching her. 
My sister held her ground. 
How could I not reference my dad when animating this? It was a case of art imitating life.

Years later I told my father that his personality and demeanor made it into a Disney animated film.
He wasn't sure if this was a good or a bad thing.

More on King Triton in this sequence here:
https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2016/03/king-triton-stuff.html
https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2015/12/king-triton.html


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Mystery Video Tape



This item is currently being offered on Ebay.
The year is 1994, and Disney Art Editions invited Marc and me to have a conversation about our careers and animation in general. The video would be distributed to animation art dealers in the mid 1990s.
Disney Art Editions in those days produced re-created cels of Disney characters from the films' memorable moments.
This is 25 years ago, and I remember vividly what a hot afternoon it was. And also what an amazing honor to spend time with Marc on camera in front of the original Burbank animation studios. What I don't recall is what we talked about specifically.

I actually owned a VHS copy of this, hopefully I will find it and have it transferred to a digital file.
And then post it!





Update: Found it!

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Princess and the Frog at the Academy




Great night at the Academy last Thursday. A 10th anniversary screening of the film and a panel.
So nice to see everybody again. I was asked: "Does it feel like 10 years ago to you?"
Heck yes! So much has happened since we made that film. 

After Frog Disney  gave us one more shot at pencil animation with Winnie the Pooh.
As soon as it was announced that that film's release date had changed to go head to head with the last Harry Potter film, we knew...

Anyway I had fun working on both films, Mama Odie was a blast to animate (she should have had one more sequence in the film though, perhaps the at the ending)

Here are a few Vis Dev pieces by various artists from the movie.



















Saturday, September 7, 2019

Mickey Mouse at 20

In 1948 members of the National Cartoonists' Society congratulated Walt Disney on the occasion of Mickey's 20th birthday. Quite the line up of who is who in American comic strips.




Which reminds me to remind you all that the exhibition MICKEY MOUSE, FROM WALT TO THE WORLD at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco will run until early January. 
Go visit the wonderful museum and the Mickey exhibit next door. 

For more Infos:


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Richard Williams



Just like all of you I was saddened to hear about the passing of Dick Williams.
This is how I remember him most, working on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. We had met before this, in LA at Academy events and film festivals. I shared Dick's profound enthusiasm for animation, and we enjoyed just talking about Disney, Warner Brothers, or the medium in general.
One day he called me and said that he might work for Disney after all. There was this high level project in development at Disney and Amblin, a combination of animation and live action. But it would have to be done in a way never attempted before.
I recall him coming to my house for dinner and telling me a little bit about the film whose main character would be an animated rabbit. Before leaving, Dick pulled out of his car's trunk a model sheet of Roger filled with his drawings. 
A few weeks later he phoned me and asked if I was interested in joining the animation crew in London to work on the film. Of course I would still be employed by Disney. Here's the thing: I said no, I had just been in LA for a few years, and that I wasn't ready to return to Europe.
I think another couple of weeks passed and animation producer Don Hahn and Dick asked me out for a Mexican dinner. I believe it was Don Cuco in Burbank. 
Anyway we had dinner and margaritas... and I signed on.
One of the best decisions I ever made regarding my professional career.

After my flight to Heathrow I was picked up by a driver, not to my new apartment, but straight to the studio in Camden. There was no time for jet lag...here is your first scene...GO!!!
It had the ostrich from Fantasia in it, interacting with Eddie Valiant. Photostats and all.
It really was the beginning of a terrific year, there was a buzz around the studio I'd never experienced before. We really were doing things that had never been done.

Here is the link to a post about that first ostrich scene:


Monday, August 12, 2019

For Alan



Here again are some interesting pieces up for auction.
Apparently a young Disney fan named Alan celebrated his 10th birthday in 1979. How he was able to get so many Disney artists (some of them had already left the studio) to do character drawings for him is astounding. And there are many more pieces than I am showing here.












Friday, August 9, 2019

Dwarfs Revisited



An interesting piece is currently being offered at auction. Fred Moore drew these four dwarfs ( Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy and Bashful) probably sometime during the late 40s or early 50s.
You can see how Fred's drawing style had changed. 
From round, thoroughly dimensional designs for the original film to spunky, graphic depictions of their personalities. 
Of course I like both approaches, because Fred Moore, at any time, couldn't make a drawing without tremendous appeal. 
So much fun to discover this sketch!

Here's how Fred drew the dwarfs for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2016/02/dwarfs.html


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wouldn't You Know?



I have often wondered if there are any Disney feature film characters that didn't get the final Milt Kahl polish, when it came to finalizing the designs.
I have never seen any Cruella De Vil sketches by Milt Kahl, or Luzifer, the cat, or Tony and Joe from Lady and the Tramp. But Milt did have something to do with the look of most Disney characters.
As he proclaimed in his episode from The Disney Family Album: "I WAS the Disney style!"

Well...he sort of was. In most cases his final designs were based on other artists' rough concepts.
Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, Ken Anderson and others.
So I shouldn't be surprised to find the above sketch of Cinderella from the dance sequence with the Prince. Currently for sale at Van Eaton Galleries.
That, for sure, is a Milt Kahl drawing. Eric Larson animated those scenes. There were based on live  action reference and needed to be drawn subtly and perfectly. I bet you Milt even did key drawings for the Prince in this scene. It might be Eric's animation, but the solid and appealing drawing style is all Milt.






Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Kimball Cars



An absolutely stunning exercise by Ward Kimball in animated motion range for a vintage cartoon car.
This was published in the magazine Asinine Alley,  also known as the Horseless Carriage Gazette.
I brought this piece to Pixar's attention, before they started the Cars franchise.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Pinocchio Layout



I am not really sure what to call this astounding piece of artwork from Pinocchio.
It looks like a layout for a camera move from the opening sequence. But it is in color.
Layouts were drawn usually in pencil before the background artist added the final mood in color.
I suppose this sketch was used for an early store reel, and since this is a very moody nighttime sequence, some color was added to help "sell" the camera over the village rooftops idea.

I re-watched the film's opening sections the other day. What a reminder for just how great this art form can be. Illustrations, paintings, drawings. In stark contrast to the hyper realistic approach of today's animated features.
It's like "art" has been sucked out of the medium.


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A King Louie Cel


Somebody asked me a while ago:
"What's up with Milt Kahl's drawing style? He only uses straight lines in his animation."

That of course isn't true. Milt used straight as well as curved lines when defining a character pose or an expression. He was just very definite when balancing the two. Either very straight or very curved.
It gives the drawing a graphic simplicity and readability. 
King Louie's arms are boiled down anatomy, straight lines. By contrast his belly is a round ball.
This design philosophy started on Sleeping Beauty. It's what Amid Amidi calls CARTOON MODERN.
Limited TV animation beginning in the early 1960s applied these drawing principles wholeheartedly.
The Flintstones, Yogi Bear etc. They established a basic graphic, held character pose, and added limited animation for dialogue or body parts.
When it comes to Disney full animation though, you would have to be a genius to make such a sophisticated, graphic statement with EACH of your key drawings. 
Milt Kahl could do it, and so could Marc Davis. Kimball to a point.

But all of this doesn't really matter that much, because what audiences respond to is PERSONALITY.
And Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Lounsbery and many others had that going on in spades!


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mickey Mouse




I am posting this lovely tweet by Steven to the Walt Disney Family Museum.




You can find more infos about the exhibition here:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Peregoy's Jungle Book II



An interesting pre-production color sketch by Walt Peregoy. As you can see the style is much looser here than the eventual final look of the film. I am not sure if Peregoy thought this should be the look of the production BGs or if he just set the overall color mood in this piece.
Interesting, too, is that Mowgli's poses are from an actual (rotoscoped) scene in the film, which at that time was already animated. To paint his loincloth red instead of white was a smart decision.

Here is another early Peregoy Jungle Book study:

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2014/02/walt-peregoys-jungle-book.html