Monday, August 12, 2019

For Alan

Here again are some interesting pieces up for auction.
Apparently a young Disney fan named Alan celebrated his 10th birthday in 1979. How he was able to get so many Disney artists (some of them had already left the studio) to do character drawings for him is astounding. And there are many more pieces than I am showing here.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Dwarfs Revisited

An interesting piece is currently being offered at auction. Fred Moore drew these four dwarfs ( Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy and Bashful) probably sometime during the late 40s or early 50s.
You can see how Fred's drawing style had changed. 
From round, thoroughly dimensional designs for the original film to spunky, graphic depictions of their personalities. 
Of course I like both approaches, because Fred Moore, at any time, couldn't make a drawing without tremendous appeal. 
So much fun to discover this sketch!

Here's how Fred drew the dwarfs for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wouldn't You Know?

I have often wondered if there are any Disney feature film characters that didn't get the final Milt Kahl polish, when it came to finalizing the designs.
I have never seen any Cruella De Vil sketches by Milt Kahl, or Luzifer, the cat, or Tony and Joe from Lady and the Tramp. But Milt did have something to do with the look of most Disney characters.
As he proclaimed in his episode from The Disney Family Album: "I WAS the Disney style!"

Well...he sort of was. In most cases his final designs were based on other artists' rough concepts.
Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, Ken Anderson and others.
So I shouldn't be surprised to find the above sketch of Cinderella from the dance sequence with the Prince. Currently for sale at Van Eaton Galleries.
That, for sure, is a Milt Kahl drawing. Eric Larson animated those scenes. There were based on live  action reference and needed to be drawn subtly and perfectly. I bet you Milt even did key drawings for the Prince in this scene. It might be Eric's animation, but the solid and appealing drawing style is all Milt.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Kimball Cars

An absolutely stunning exercise by Ward Kimball in animated motion range for a vintage cartoon car.
This was published in the magazine Asinine Alley,  also known as the Horseless Carriage Gazette.
I brought this piece to Pixar's attention, before they started the Cars franchise.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Pinocchio Layout

I am not really sure what to call this astounding piece of artwork from Pinocchio.
It looks like a layout for a camera move from the opening sequence. But it is in color.
Layouts were drawn usually in pencil before the background artist added the final mood in color.
I suppose this sketch was used for an early store reel, and since this is a very moody nighttime sequence, some color was added to help "sell" the camera over the village rooftops idea.

I re-watched the film's opening sections the other day. What a reminder for just how great this art form can be. Illustrations, paintings, drawings. In stark contrast to the hyper realistic approach of today's animated features.
It's like "art" has been sucked out of the medium.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A King Louie Cel

Somebody asked me a while ago:
"What's up with Milt Kahl's drawing style? He only uses straight lines in his animation."

That of course isn't true. Milt used straight as well as curved lines when defining a character pose or an expression. He was just very definite when balancing the two. Either very straight or very curved.
It gives the drawing a graphic simplicity and readability. 
King Louie's arms are boiled down anatomy, straight lines. By contrast his belly is a round ball.
This design philosophy started on Sleeping Beauty. It's what Amid Amidi calls CARTOON MODERN.
Limited TV animation beginning in the early 1960s applied these drawing principles wholeheartedly.
The Flintstones, Yogi Bear etc. They established a basic graphic, held character pose, and added limited animation for dialogue or body parts.
When it comes to Disney full animation though, you would have to be a genius to make such a sophisticated, graphic statement with EACH of your key drawings. 
Milt Kahl could do it, and so could Marc Davis. Kimball to a point.

But all of this doesn't really matter that much, because what audiences respond to is PERSONALITY.
And Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Lounsbery and many others had that going on in spades!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mickey Mouse

I am posting this lovely tweet by Steven to the Walt Disney Family Museum.

You can find more infos about the exhibition here:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Peregoy's Jungle Book II

An interesting pre-production color sketch by Walt Peregoy. As you can see the style is much looser here than the eventual final look of the film. I am not sure if Peregoy thought this should be the look of the production BGs or if he just set the overall color mood in this piece.
Interesting, too, is that Mowgli's poses are from an actual (rotoscoped) scene in the film, which at that time was already animated. To paint his loincloth red instead of white was a smart decision.

Here is another early Peregoy Jungle Book study:

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Remembering Eric Larson

Photo by Dave Block

It's not easy finding original animation drawings by Disney animation mentor to so many, Eric Larson. So I am grateful again to my friend Wil for providing scans for most of these beautiful sketches. Eric had a knack for communicating animation techniques as well as Disney's philosophy on entertainment to students. I remember his classes as if it were yesterday.
His articulate and passionate words of wisdom that some of us weren't able to comprehend until much later.
One of his comments which he repeatedly brought up was that Walt always gave you more than you expected. And that he lifted everybody up who worked with him.
When the Disney company entered regular TV animation during the early 1980s, Eric was not a happy camper.
The quality wasn't good enough for him, and he knew it wouldn't be good enough for Walt.

For those of us who were lucky enough to go through Eric's animation training program, he was a mix of  magic link to Walt Disney, the grandfather you never had and Santa Clause.

There are many posts regarding Eric Larson on this blog, here is the link to one of them:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ward Kimball Article

This is an article from STORYBOARD magazine, 1991.
Ward is in good form here, though real Kimball fans probably won't find too much new information.

Earlier this year this book by Todd James Pierce came out. A great read:

Of course we are all waiting for Amid Amidi's epic "Kimball Tells All" volume.

Monday, July 15, 2019

More Color!!!

      © Andreas Deja

Each new color scene for our film MUSHKA feels like a Christmas gift. Background paintings and character levels combined result in gorgeous images. These colors here are still too vibrant.
But after we add a color pencil texture plus some film grain everything turns out looking balanced and more muted.
We are closing in on more and more finished color sequences.

In this scene Sarah asks her father if she can keep the tiger cub. To find out about Dad's response you need to stay tooned.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Medusa is Interrupted

While studying the treasure map, Madame Medusa is suddenly disturbed by loud noise. She pauses for a moment before getting up from her chair to proceed toward the direction the commotion is coming from. (The alligators Nero and Brutus are out of control as they are chasing Bernard and Bianca.)
This terrific story sketch is by Vance Gerry, who boarded a few sequences involving Medusa.
It was Milt Kahl's job to animate this scene. There was no live action footage to help with her walk in perspective toward camera right. A piece of cake for an animator of Milt's stature.
I love the way Medusa pushes herself upward off her chair and transitions immediately into the walk.
Drawing #37 is that transitional drawing, and by itself it looks a bit odd. But in motion everything works absolutely beautifully.
Nothing more enjoyable to watch than Medusa being irritated and angry!