Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jungle Cubs

Even at a young age, Baloo couldn't stand Shere Khan.

The blog will be updated again on Sunday. Have a great week everybody!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kimball pokes Fun at Davis and Kahl

I really need to ask Alice Davis (the owner of this gag drawing), about the meaning of this Ward Kimball illustration, featuring Marc Davis with an abstract dog and Milt Kahl with many realistic dogs. I will post her comment as soon as I find out. In the meantime you can come up with your own captions!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ken Anderson's Robin Hood II

Ken Andeson has a huge fan base (and deservedly so). My 2012 blog post featuring some of his character designs for Robin Hood is BY FAR the most visited during my 5+ years of blogging.
Here is the link to that popular post:


Here is another photo of Ken in front of some of his many concept sketches for the film.
To the upper right of his head you see a sheet with head studies of the rooster Allan-a-Dale. Those are by Milt Kahl.
Ken also storyboarded several sequences for Robin Hood. Below is Sequence 1. It's astounding to realize how close the animators stayed with Ken's poses and staging. This section of the film was animated by John Lounsbery (Wolves and Sheriff, also Robin and Little John walking toward camera, then falling into the water), Ollie Johnston (most of L. John) and Milt Kahl (Robin and some of L. John). Milt decided to have Robin Hood stand up during his opening dialogue scenes, instead of sitting down.

I posted a B&W version of this model sheet before, here is the color version.

And this is what you get when combining the talents of Ken Anderson and Milt Kahl. Even miscellaneous characters turn out looking fantastic.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sleeping Beauty/Behind the Scenes

Another time travel post to the 1950s to explore what's going on at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. A cameraman with the help of an assistant is photographing painted cels of Fauna and Merryweather, two of the Three Fairies from Disney's wide screen spectacle Sleeping Beauty. I wonder what these guys might be thinking: What phenomenal art...I hope I didn't leave any fingerprints on the cels...or, what's for lunch?

A fun story sketch by Bill Peet, who boarded the "Boy meets Girl" sequence for director Eric Larson.
I don't think Peet enjoyed working on such story material. He preferred exploring contrasting, character rich situations.

A dynamic story sketch featuring the entrance of Maleficent. The character's design is still at an early stage, based on Marc Davis' preliminary research.

Frank Thomas is discussing a scene with Ollie Johnston. Ollie is in the middle of animating the Three Fairies' reaction to Maleficent's sudden appearance at the castle.

You can see Ollie's animation drawings up close in this previous post:


Early designs concepts for the Fairies looked like this. You have to start with something!

Marc Davis and John Lounsbery teamed up for scenes involving Aurora in the forest interacting with the animals. This is still a younger looking princess. The animation was kept, but re-drawn to represent a more mature looking woman.

Maleficent as a dragon climbs up a rock to fight Prince Phillip. Great drawing, possibly by animator Eric Cleworth.

A few Eyvind Earle's concept sketches, so powerful and cinematic!

Earle alienated some of the animators who felt that his production backgrounds were way too detailed, and took away from the animation. Most of us just love them for being different and so extravagant. As I mentioned before, in the end your eye will always go to what is moving on the screen...the characters.
When Earle saw the finished film after his departure from the studio he was "displeased" to find out that several of his background paintings had been airbrushed over, in order to soften the look.
Not an easy thing to realize for an artist with such integrity.

Some images Heritage Auctions.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Roger Rabbit Scenes VI

My final scenes from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
After Roger shakes hands with Eddie -holding a buzzer- he realizes Eddie is not amused.
"Don't tell me you lost your sense of humor already" Roger mumbles.
Hoskins replies: "Does this answer your question?" he then picks up the rabbit by the neck and plants a big smooch.

Classic Jessica Rabbit line: "Come on, Roger, let's go home. I'll bake you a carrot cake." We had Roger look right into camera with an "anticipatory" look.
Jessica was animated here by the brilliant Russell Hall.

And the film's final scene. I did Porky Pig only: " Ok, move along. There is nothing else to see. That's all folks. Hmm...I like the sound of that. That's all folks!"
For the following Tinker Bell animation we re-used the iconic Les Clark's scene from the Disney TV shows.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Cool it Boy, unwind Yourself!"

Animator Eric Cleworth drew the first few scenes that introduce the character of King Louie in The Jungle Book. But it wasn't until Milt Kahl animated this moment, when Louie picks up Mowgli off the ground, that the animation shows real personality.
At the start of the scene Mowgli is yelling at a bunch of monkeys, who had just dropped the kid to the floor. King Louie is watching this for a while, as he scratches his back with his left hand. He then puts his right foot into his mouth, thinking something like: Now what do we have here?
Milt takes full advantage of the comedic idea that with a big ape hands can become feet, and feet can act like hands. (Milt later animated the scene in which Louie stands on one arm, as the rest of his limbs are pointing at himself).
You don't see the scratching hand in these rough animation drawings. That piece of action is on a different level, as is Mowgli. There is a nice balance in the character's movement. As his upper body moves downward, his rear goes up, before Louie lowers himself into the throne.

These drawing copies come from the estate of Frank Thomas, who used them as reference for his own brilliant animation. Frank animated most of King Louie during the song "I wanna be like you."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Behind the Scenes of Jungle Book and Aristocats

Some wonderful never before seen photos featuring a look into the production process of The Jungle Book and The Aristocats recently surfaced on Getty Images.
The pic above shows voice actors Sebastian Cabot, Sterling Holloway and Phil Harris during a reading or recording session. Bagheera, Kaa and Baloo in the same room!
Clint Howard (director Ron Howard's brother) is lending his voice to Colonel Hathi's son.

Background painter Al Dempster is arranging stunning Jungle Book backgrounds on story board panels. 

Ollie Johnston animates a scene with Bagheera, the panther.

Director Woolie Reitherman, John Lounsbery and a couple of assistants are reviewing pencil animation on a moviola.

It turns out they are looking at Lounsbery's fight sequence with Shere Khan and the Vultures.

The same group is inspecting Jungle Book character models, which were used to promote the film.

Al Dempster is inspecting a cel from a King Louie scene, animated by Frank Thomas.

A cel set up featuring Mowgli's confrontation with Shere Khan is being reviewed, before being sent to the camera department.

Woolie's mind is already on the next animated feature The Aristocats. He is looking at Ken Anderson's character research.

More of Ken's work is being discussed.

I don't know when these rate photos were taken, but my guess would be sometime in 1967. Jungle Book wasn't released until later that year, and Aristocats was in pre-production.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fred Moore's Legacy

Yesterday was Fred Moore's birthday. As Marc Davis said once: "Fred WAS Disney drawing!"
Ollie Johnston talked often about how much he learned from him, while he was Fred's assistant and during the years that followed. Kimball, Frank Thomas and Milt Kahl had nothing but praise for Moore's work. No wonder Walt Disney sent most of his animators to see Fred, in hopes that some of the genius would rub off on to others. And it did. Because of his gutsy use of squash and stretch and his dimensional, appealing drawing style, Moore established what Disney characters (the cartoony ones) were made of: some kind of doughy, squishy substance, that is enormously fun to watch in animation.
I would say that his type of drawing and design influenced Disney's features from Snow White on, to Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo.
By the time Bambi went into production Milt Kahl had taken over the role of the studio's drawing policeman.

Here is a "Happy Birthday, Fred Moore" post from a few years ago: