Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Frank & Ollie

I just found this photo of Frank and Ollie online, and it brought back some memories.
It looks like they both are promoting the release of Snow White on home video.
Frank is wearing a Bambi sweater, while Ollie chose a Jungle Book shirt. Well, I gave Ollie that shirt, which I purchased years ago in Germany. The images are from scenes, he animated. And they were beautifully embroidered. (The Jungle Book still holds the record in Germany for most movie tickets ever sold.)
This is really how I remember both of them, in their retirement,  still full of passion for animated drawings. I miss them.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Kley's Artistic Evolution

Here are three Heinrich Kley magazine illustrations that show how his art evolved over the years.
The first one is titled "Summer Solstice in Heidelberg". I would date this piece sometime during the 1890s, even though there seems to be a later date indicated on the upper left side.
The depiction of men, women and children is realistic and rigid. It is a pretty illustration, but undistinguishable to other artists of that era.

The next one is titled "the late Hour" from 1896. A lot more going on here in terms of dynamic composition, inventive poses and personality. Just beautiful!

The third sketch represents what Kley became famous for. Fantasy illustrations that show, what Walt Disney would call "The Plausible impossible". Surreal, caricatured situations, drawn in a believable manner. In this case a violinist fiddling away while being eaten by alligators. Luckily the drawing shows the process' early stage.

Kley's work at this time also included assignments for the German steel company Krupp. Some paintings show plane architectural (but beautiful) renderings of their factories. But even in those environments he would occasionally include oversized evil, satyr-type or other characters.
His imagination is sometime difficult to figure out, since we always look for the meaning behind such unusual work.
What is easily accessible though is his drawing virtuosity. Way ahead of his time he could depict the most absurd situation and make it look beautiful and believable.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Kahl Witches

Heritage Auctions recently sold these design sketches by Milt Kahl from the movie The Black Cauldron. I believe that in the original books by Lloyd Alexander the three witches keep exchanging their outfits in order to confuse the group of lead characters.
This story concept isn't easy to get across in just a few drawings, but if anybody might have pulled it off in animation, it's Milt.
Great drawings, though in principle the characters borrow heavily from the designs of Madam Mim as well as Madame Medusa.

You can see a Tim Burton concept sketch of the three Witches here:

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...