Saturday, June 12, 2021

Muzzle Off


This is a beautiful example of classic Stretch and Squash. The beaver opens his mouth extremely wide as he holds the top part of Lady's muzzle right between his upper and lower teeth. This is top notch staging because you want the audience to focus on the upcoming bite. The beaver's stretched open mouth is an anticipation in animation terms, but the viewer is also left anticipating and wondering if the bite will be successful. And you guessed it, the animator is Milt Kahl.

To see a few rough animation drawings of this character by Eric Larson, go here:

Thursday, June 10, 2021

10 Years


I can't believe it's been 10 years since I started this blog. 10 years!!! So much fun to share my passion for hand drawn/pencil animation with you. It's glorious history and... doubtful future, as far as Disney full fledged articulation is concerned. What I love is the fact that animation these days tells all kinds of stories.

Political, social and commercial statements.  But I do miss Walt's  drive for personality driven hand drawn stories. I feel so proud of having been apart of the modern "revival" of animation. 

Here is a pic of me working on King Triton for "The Little Mermaid". The maquette  you see is the only one in  existence. It was deemed too large to be cast and reproduced. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Mushka Scenes

Those scenes represent a little over half of the film. I need more scene stackers. There are other piles of scenes around my studio that need to be stored properly. 
Home stretch, bits and pieces of footage left to animate, and one long important scene. I guess I'll sell some of these animation drawings to benefit charities that are important to me...

Monday, May 31, 2021

Remembering Hercules


I drew this sketch for a friend many moons ago. Before production on the film began I struggled like crazy to try and set the design for Hercules. Gerald Scarfe was our inspiration for the overall visual design of the film. I think I was the last animator to get my character design approved. The Scarfe influence is more subtle than in most of the other characters. 
Tate Donavan gave a terrific vocal performance, I think he was just perfect for the role.
The crazy thing is that when Tate was a young aspiring actor, way before Hercules, we lived next door to each other for some time in a neighborhood near Lake Hollywood. He shared a big house with a few other acting students. During that time I ran into him occasionally, but who knew that we would work together in the future. 

When the movie premiered in New York in 1997 we both did press interviews together. A lot of fun.
Unfortunately at that time my dad passed away. So I had to stop my PR work and fly back to Germany for the funeral. But afterwards I did join directors Ron and John in South America to continue promoting the film.

One thing I want to say about Tate, he is a terrific actor, somewhat underrated. Just check him out in the TV drama Damages (2007 - 2012) next to Glen Close.

Friday, May 28, 2021

A Sullivant Original II


"Darling, something tells me that the baby has fallen out of bed again."

Another original illustration by TS Sullivant, published in LIFE magazine on July 19, 1923. It measures 22 x 14". Be sure to  click on the image twice for full size and resolution. I find it somewhat unusual but interesting that the sofa chairs' armrests visually almost create two extra "legs" for the hippo couple. But that doesn't bother me, Sullivant can pull off unusual staging like no one else.

Unmatched cartooning artistry.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Rescuers Article

John Culhane wrote this article at the time of the film's release in 1977. He inadvertently had became the model for one of the characters, Mr Snoops. As a longtime Disney fan and historian, John was elated to have been "immortalized" by animator Milt Kahl. Who wouldn't?

The article gives you a pretty good idea where the studio was at, regarding the transition from the old guard to a new generation of Disney artists.

I miss John. When it came to animation he was so enthusiastic and always fun to talk to.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Medusa Original Rough


Medusa has just thrown one of her boots toward Snoops, when she lets out a gleeful "Ha!" There is some weird but wonderful stuff going on here drawing wise. That one line starting at her lower back  flows right past her shoulder and arm to end up in her fingertips. Crazy! I love that Milt exposed so much gum above her teeth. That adds so much character and menace. You would think that all those hair lines would boil and distract when seen in motion, but it all works.

I know that Milt Kahl would have kept on breaking conventional rules in his work had he stayed on for another film or two after The Rescuers. But he thought the overall Disney standard had fallen too low for him to stick around. In any case, Milt enjoyed eleven years of retirement before passing away in 1987.