Friday, October 13, 2017

Sword in the Stone Vis Dev

A mix of Bill Peet and Vance Gerry sketches that show personality and environment exploration for The Sword in the Stone. I love Peet's sketch above of Merlin as he takes a nap in a Kem Weber studio chair...wearing tennis shoes. An early indication that Peet's approach and interpretation of T. H. White's book would be irreverent.
It's interesting to note that Peet stated he based his designs of Merlin on Walt Disney. Milt Kahl, who came up with Merlin's final design, denies referencing his boss in his work.

A great Peet sketch of Wart, which served as inspiration for Milt's more stylized design.

The liberties you can take in animation! Archimedes, the owl, could never sit on Merlin's hat like this because of his weight, but who cares? It looks believable in the film.

The following four sketches are the work of Vance Gerry, who could draw and develop just about anything for a Disney film.

Bill Peet gave Merlin a unique set of eyebrows. They point upward no matter what the character's mood is. Milt Kahl didn't adapt this idea exactly, but instead created  his own version of eyebrows for a very old man:


  1. Thanks again, Andreas!
    I love this movie and feel it's a bit under-appreciated ...

  2. I love Bill Peet's work here. I would like to point out that Merlin wearing tennis shoes is completely in spirit with The Once and Future King books. Merlin experiences his centuries-long life backwards, allowing for the entire book series to be replete with (often humorous) anachronisms. As far as tone goes, few would be as perfect a match for TH White's material than Peet. The Disney adaptation of course lacks the original's political and philosophical ruminations, with its heavy WWII subtext, but I still love the film. I kind of wish the series would get another 2D animated adaptation that explored those heavier themes as well as the lighter ones – not unlike what Miyazaki does with his movies.

    I cannot for the life of me decide whose Merlin I like better, Peet or Kahl's.

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