Thursday, August 2, 2018

Johnny Appleseed II

As many of you know, Mary Blair created many works regarding color and background styling for a great variety of Disney films. Seldom did her personal vision make it to the screen though. Background painters as well as animators didn't know how to incorporate Mary's simplified almost abstract style into the film's final look. More often than not through the animation process compromises were made, and the project ended up looking like the familiar Disney house style.

Johnny Appleseed (1948) is one exception. This final background above could have been painted by Mary Blair herself. Her naive, childlike expressiveness actually made it intact to the screen, as far as art direction.
The character styling is still round and dimensional though, a quality that would change a decade later with Eyvind Earle's artistic contribution to Sleeping Beauty.

A cel from an Eric Larson scene.

A couple of Mary Blair color concepts.  

A cel set up from the film. The character cels show some airbrush shadow areas, something that was done at the studio before being offered for sale to the public.

Here is the link to Johnny Appleseed I:


  1. All due respect, I think that the Wintertime sequence in Melody Time is closer to Mary Blair's artwork. It's round, but flat at the same time..

  2. my second favourite short with "Benjamin Franklin"

  3. I really like the 1956 short "A cowboy needs a horse", and was wondering if perhaps Mary Blair was the designer for it?

  4. Hello Mister Deja
    We are two french journalists working on a documentary about Mary Blair. Knowing your erudition on the Disney history, we were wondering if you could share some of it about her art and her life.
    Thank you by advance for your reply