Friday, March 30, 2018

Sword in the Stone Vis Dev

Some beautiful visual development art by Vance Gerry and Ken Anderson.  
Ken Anderson art directed The Sword in the Stone, Vance got credit as a layout artist. But as you can see he did much more than production layouts, he created color environments for many sequences, including the one with Merlin and Wart as fish.
When I started at Disney in 1980, Ken was around, but was getting ready for retirement.
Vance on the other hand worked on quite a few more films, including Mouse Detective, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Eric Larson working -obviously- on 101 Dalmatians. I am not sure when this photo was taken. Perhaps during production or after the movie was finished. 
Everybody loved Eric. When interacting with animation students or newcomers to the studio during the 1970s and 80s, he was a very good listener. He wanted to know your background, your history.
His advice was always encouraging. Eric was fascinated by student's individual talents. 
And he always stressed the value of Walt Disney's approach toward entertainment. Bringing audiences up to what they didn't expect. 
When the studio got into TV animation, Eric was heartbroken. He stressed that Walt always wanted top quality, no matter what format. I read between his lines that Walt would have insisted on top quality for the then new Disney Chanel content. The Illusion of life, which it wasn't.

Compromise was not something Eric supported. He loved his old boss and tried to communicate to some of us that superior quality was an excellent business model that would always win.

That kind of philosophy stayed with me ever since Eric conveiged it to us. 
Perhaps I can convince John Musker ( who had great interactions with Eric) to host a full blown Academy Tribute on Eric's animation work as well of his teachings. This is so overdue.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Click's Magazine 1941

Here's a 1941 magazine article that promotes the release of Fantasia. Always fun to read about the current mood and situation during Disney's golden age of animation.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kley @ kunkelfineart

It's always thrilling to find new art by German artist Heinrich Kley. I google Kley about once a month to find out if any new illustrations have surfaced. Some of the images here have been offered at Heritage Auctions as well as certain galleries. Most of them were or are for sale at Alexander Kunkel's website:

This one is right out of Fantasia's Night on Bald Mountain.

The actor and the critic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Drawing Sculptures

I drew from these sculptures more than twenty years ago. The late renaissance and early baroque have always fascinated me because human figures in painting and sculpture had this amazing sense of motion. I studied this stuff because I hoped to improve the fluidity in my own work by re-visiting those European masters.
Brush pen and wet finger tip smudges.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

King Louie & Flunkey

Ken Anderson came up with sketches that defined the relationship with King Louie and the little langur monkey in The Jungle Book.
Louie is annoyed by Flunkey who imitates his own jazzy vocalization. The Anderson sketch shows a simple "shut up" approach. In the final footage, animated by Frank Thomas, there is more of a chase involved as Louie tries to silence the monkey. Frank did animate the Ken Anderson version, but for all I know that footage is lost.

Monday, March 12, 2018

More of Milt's Penny

I created these "model sheets" of Penny scenes animated by Milt Kahl...a long time ago.
Way back when production began on Oliver & Company I started doing experimental animation of the character of Jenny. What better inspiration than a girl character of the same age animated by Milt?
So much to learn from these drawings. When to draw the jaw line all the way to the ear and when not.
How subtle facial features like eyes, nose, lips work in perspective. Hands, clothing, and simplified anatomy in general. There is a lot to love here.

I didn't end up animating on Oliver and Company, (except for a handful of scenes with the dogs, Roger Rabbit was calling), but these sketches still present to me a standard of excellence when it comes to animating a young girl like Sarah in my film Mushka.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

More Wilhelm M. Busch

 Can't get enough of the extraordinary work by German Illustrator Wilhelm M. Busch.
The compositions, the intense search for portraying human anatomy in its most fascinating way...
so much to admire. Most definitely one of my favorite artists from the last century.
I so wished I could have met him when I was still living in Germany.
Art that makes you think about your own approach to seeing the world.