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:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Madame Mim as an Elephant

Here are a few color frame grabs from a scene, animated by John Lounsbery. During the wizard's duel Madame Mim has turned herself into an elephant as she attempts to crush Merlin. At the moment she notices Merlin as a mouse, she freaks out and runs away.
Lounsbery choses an interesting and not an easy way to get this elephant to move screen right.
Mim rears up, sort of human like, as she tries to get away from the mouse. Then comes this complex turn, with all four legs scrambling. Milt Kahl gave Louns the first drawing for model reference, who took it from there. This is pretty cartoony motion, but Mim moves with believable weight and anatomy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Kley in Color

Some extraordinary Heinrich Kley pieces were offered and sold recently at Kunkel Fine Art.
Drawing treasures from about a century ago. What joy to study these master drawings.

Here is the link to the website:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bambi Academy Tribute

Great evening last night at the Academy.
Host Leonard Maltin led the panel, and it showed how much knowledge and appreciation he has for the film. While Disney art director Paul Felix and myself represented a newer generation, Donnie Dunagan and Peter Behn were the real stars of the evening. They recalled how they were selected as the voices of Bambi and Thumper. Behn remember how frightened he was watching the forest fire during the film's premiere screening. Dunagan at age 5 fired his manager, who thought the audition at Disney for a baby deer wouldn't be worthwhile. 
It really was a historical evening. Disney provided a 2 1/2 min. pencil test from the film which left the audience in awe.
There was also a tribute to Tyrus Wong, whose fingerprints are all over this movie.

The two kids who made movie history: Donnie Dunagan and Peter Behn.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

George Darling

Many of you know that the father in the film Peter Pan was largely animated by John Lounsbery.
Milt Kahl animated the character in the final sequence of the movie. He kept the animation subtle and believable. See image above.
But this really is a Lounsbery character. He established Mr Darling during the film's opening sequence. Here are copies of a few rough Louns drawings where the father stumbles over the dog Nana. "And that's my last word on the matter!" (about Wendy getting her own room).
Lounsbery didn't draw hands as well as Milt, but who cares? His strong use of squash and stretch is legendary. I am telling you, if you flip the first drawing with the lastone, lightbulbs will go off. The shift of volumes is just beautiful. Lounsbery went broad on this character in order to avoid another straight, live action based personality. It was a good choice!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pinocchio Water

I recently did a post on "Drawn Water" in Disney films. Here are a few images from Pinocchio showing various stages of production, concept art, story sketch, a cel set up (below) and final frames.
All artists had an amazing vision of how water should be handled in the film.
The final animation is obviously based on realism, but it is also stylized. The wave patterns in the ocean scenes have an elegance that beautifully matches the fluid character animation.
When I see water these days in CG animated films, it simply duplicates the real thing. Where is the artistic interpretation that makes you feel something?

The last two images show water effects that were largely achieved without animating water. There is ONE painting for the water level. A plate of rippled glass was then moved across it. Simple, inexpensive, and very effective.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sleeping Beauty Article

Pageant Magazine published this article to help promote Disney's Sleeping Beauty. It is not very in-depth, but it does include some artwork I haven't seen before.


One of the final book illustrations from the opening of the film.