Friday, June 15, 2018

Mike Peraza

My multi-talented friend Mike Peraza created this beautiful poster design. I just love it. Check out Mike's blog:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

One of Milt Kahl's last Drawings

Just a few days ago I found out that this little gem of a drawing was offered at Heritage's Comic Strip auction, which took place in January. It was sold for just about nothing (or an "apple and and an egg", like we say in Germany). I truly believe that the amount would have been 10 to 20 times larger, had the sketch been offered at one of their Animation Art auctions.

This of course is a Milt Kahl drawing, done for a fan on his last day at Disney, on April 30, 1976.
I think Milt spent most of that day doing sketches like this one. Many of them featuring Madame Medusa, his final character for the studio.

PS. I re-read this lot's description, which says that this is a signed print.
Now I wonder where the original might be...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Why isn't he finished yet...

 ...because our team is relatively small, and it takes time to maintain quality. We were thinking earlier this year, if  everybody gives it an extra push, perhaps we could finish the project by the end of this year. But this would mean compromising here and there in order to get it done. That's not going to happen. So we will go into next year with the hope and intention to finish by mid-year.

To be honest. there were times when I thought, what't wrong with a seven minutes format?
The fact is, I need 25 minutes to tell this particular story.
And we are making progress, with five sequences in final color very soon.

The scene above shows Sarah after she arrives in Eastern Russia. She is sent upstairs to her "room".
The camera follows her as she walks across her new home. She trips, then runs into a spider web before arriving by the window on screen left, where she opens her suitcase.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Milt & Roger Miller

Great behind the scenes photo of Milt Kahl and Roger Miller, the voice of Allan-a-Dale, the rooster from Disney's 1973 film Robin Hood. As far as character designs, this is one of my favorites. This character needed to be depicted in some kind of period costume. How do you do that with a rooster?
Milt did have some experience with clothing on poultry, having designed and animated Ludwig von Drake in the early 1960s.
For an extensive post on Allan-a-Dale from 2011 go here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Geppetto Head Studies

I should have put in a bid on these two sheets that were just up for auction. I was busy animating and forgot about S/R's animation art auction. Most of you know that Art Babbit animated the character of Geppetto in Pinocchio, but I believe these drawings are by Fred Moore.  
What do you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Family Affair

The opening night for the Nine Old Men exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco was magical. Most of the Nine's families showed up, and to talk to them while visiting the various galleries...what can I say, once in a lifetime.
Wherever you are in the world, if you can afford it, come to SF to see this exhibit. It is the largest the museum has ever mounted. I was planing to take a ton of photos, but ended up talking to family members instead.

Here are three generations of the Kahl family. Milt, Sibyl, his daughter and Zoe, his great-granddaughter, who did inherit Milt's artistic talent (she is super creative, winning awards in all kinds of art competitions).

Go see this show!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mothers' Day

This unconventional mother-son relationship represents one of Disney's most heartwarming short stories (Lambert the Sheepish Lion). This is a basically a Bill Peet story, even though Ralph Wright and Milt Banta also received story credit. The film was released in 1952 and it stands out among other Disney short subjects produced during the 1950s. It holds up because it fits in with today's modern diverse families.
Such a beautiful message.
A couple of top notch animators, Eric Larson and John Lounsbery supervised the animation, while Milt Kahl helped with character designs:

Saturday, May 12, 2018


A great sketch of a frog by Swiss animal expert Fritz Hug. I love frogs. Their arms and legs always remind me of human anatomy. (Part of the reason I could never eat them.)
Below are beautiful sketches by Disney's Bernard Garbutt. What amazing observation.
Perhaps a dose of this kind of body structure might have helped the frog characters in Disney's The Princess and the Frog, one of the studio's last hand drawn films .

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ex Libris

A couple of book plate illustrations by Wilhelm M. Busch (who else?)
Competent, honest draughtsmanship in its purest form. Can't stop admiring and being inspired by his beautiful work.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Sullivant Original

I do own a few TS Sullivant originals, but not this one. It was offered by Heritage Auctions late last year.
Just like every Milt Kahl drawing, each Sullivant illustration represents an adventure in humorous, graphic exploration. EVERYTHING is entertaining, the animals' anatomy, the insane sense for caricature, staging and on and on.
The caption is very funny, too. Here is what Heritage said about the piece:

Thomas Sullivant Life Magazine Illustration Original Art (Life Publishing Company, 1921). Before LIFE magazine was purchased by Henry Luce in 1936 and become the long-running photo-magazine American institution it is remembered as, it started in 1883 as a humor magazine similar to the British Punch. This whimsical cartoon illustration from 1921 features only a portion of the caption, but in it, Mrs. Hippo asks Mrs. Gnu how her children are. Mrs. Gnu replies that one of them has gnumonia, to which Mrs. Hippo says that is "bad gnus". At least this Dad-joke has charming artwork crafted in ink on an oversized 25.5" x 17.25" sheet of Bristol board. Signed in the lower left of the image area. Toned, with edge wear, torn caption, and a missing bottom left marginal corner. In overall Very Good condition. 

Over the years I have posted numerous times on Sullivant's art. Here is the first one:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

More Early Black Cauldron

I found a few more of my early character concept art currently being offered at Heritage Auctions.
They date all the way back to 1980/81. Drawn in an office on the second floor of the original Disney Animation building. As I mentioned before, my office mate was Tim Burton, for about a year.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Roger Rabbit Poster

I drew this illustration of Roger Rabbit eons ago for some Disney travel department or Disney theme parks. I remember having fun with it.
Black felt pen and Magic Markers. Very much influenced by what Hans Bacher taught me about markers and color.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The 9 Old Men at the Walt Disney Family Museum

A once in a lifetime exhibition is being presented at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. NINE OLD MEN will be open to the public on May 17, it will run into January of next year. The curator is Don Hahn, who got in touch with family members of the nine, and was able to secure rare items, such as personal art, student work and pieces associated with their hobbies.
Below are a few examples. The majority of art will of course be animation related. Hundreds of rough drawings, flip books  and a new documentary film.

Early Milt Kahl

Frank Thomas student work

Les Clark

A great caricature by John Musker of himself with Eric Larson.

There will be an exhibition catalogue for sale. And Glen Kean's own fabulous exhibit is up simultaneously. If you ever wanted to visit the is the time!!!

Here is the official link to the museum:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Martin Provensen

So I have a confession to make. These are early model sheets of the villain for the 1946 short film Peter and the Wolf. The artist is the incredible Martin Provensen. His sketches greatly inspired me during the pre-production phase of The Lion King. I remember, I was looking for any kind of visuals that might help me to get a handle on Scar. Well, when I saw Provinsen's wolf drawings I suddenly found Scar's main attitude. Not very strong physically, but very crafty and scheming.
I honestly have no words to describe the genius behind these sketches. I am still in awe.

This is a scene I co-animated with the brilliant Mark Henn, who drew young Simba. Mark was working at the Florida studio while I was in Burbank. We never spoke about how to play the scene, it just seemed obvious.

Martin Provinsen and his wife Alice, probably in the late 1940s after he left Disney. The two eventually became first rate book illustrators. They pioneered a flat graphic visual style, which in turn would influence Disney. (Sleeping Beauty)
Martin died in 1987, his wife Alice is now 99 years old, and as far as I know still illustrating.

It's funny how the work of another artist can give you a lift and help you with your own assignment.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Just a Beautiful Drawing Wilhelm M. Busch for a bookcover.
An ordinary pose, drawn in an extraordinary fashion. This approach applies to animation as well.
Often you get to do a scene in which the character does something ordinary. How can this scene come out looking interesting. Of course the first thought should be around the character's personality. Is there a way to be unique and specific in your acting choices. The same goes for drawing and staging. A woman is sitting on a chair. What is she thinking? Who is she? Once you know that, then the drawing challenge follows. How can I portray this woman in the most beautiful and insightful way, so people want to look at her.
Well, I do want to know more about this woman. I guess I will have to read the novel.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Prince John Goes Berserk

A beautiful scene with Prince John, animated by Ollie Johnston. The character is very consistent throughout the film -drawing and personality wise- because Ollie handled just about every scene with Prince John. 
Here at the beginning of the archery tournament he says:
"That insolent blackguard...ooh...I'll show him who wears the crown.". 

The film's draft gives the following description:
MCU - Prince John reacting to the mention of Robin Hood's name - slams paw down on arm of chair, which causes crown to bounce off his head and down into position covering eyes.

The action goes great with the dialogue, because obviously he is not wearing the crown very well.
I also love how fast he raises his arms on "ooh", he goes from being upset to severe outrage.
Great overlap on the heavy sleeves.

Did anybody notice that up until frame 60 Prince John has five "fingers", but from then on shows only four?