Friday, May 31, 2019

Woolie's Gaucho Goofy

Woolie Reitherman's animation of Goofy as a Gaucho in Saludos Amigos, 1943, is astonishing!
In this slow motion scene the audience is supposed to find out about the gaucho's hunting technique on horseback.

These are clean up drawings over Woolie's roughs. You can see clearly how the animator "messed" with his animation. Multiple color passes, erased positions and re-timed numbering.
The end result is broad, highly comical motion that somehow remains believable because of solid drawings based on real anatomy.
A masterpiece!

Click on the images 2x. For some reason they become sharper that way.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Pinocchio Story Problem

I remember years ago when I had a conversation about Pinocchio with Frank Thomas.
As usual I was gushing over the film and its animation.
Frank recounted certain sequences he was involved with in terms of animating the title character.
When it came to the section where Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket returned home after escaping treasure island, Frank got suddenly agitated.
He really disliked the way the two characters were informed about Gepetto's absence and his whereabouts.
They re-introduced the Blue Fairy as a dove, dropping a written message right in front of them, Frank remembered. "I thought that was a terrible idea" he complained. 
It didn't work for him way back, and it didn't work for him still.

I had seen the film numerous times and never questioned this story issue, but I realized Frank had a point. 
How else this information might have gotten to Pinoke and Jimmy I won't even try to elaborate on.

Here are a couple of Frank's rough animation drawings from that sequence, followed by their corresponding film still.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Another Great Marc Davis Sketch

I forgot how long Marc Davis worked on story for Bambi. He told me once, I think it was about five years. Marc skipped Pinocchio and Fantasia in order to focus on the challenge to develop sequences with realistic but expressive animal characters for Bambi
In this particular sketch it's Thumper who just kills me. What an appealing, gorgeous, all around wonderful caricature of a rabbit.

I this photo, years later, Marc is pretending to work on Lady And the Tramp.
As a matter of fact, he skipped this film as well, so he could do designs for the next Disney film Sleeping Beauty. Marc created endless characters for crowd scenes, but as you all know, focused on Aurora and Maleficent.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Marc Davis Bambi Research

A few sheets with beautiful development drawings for Bambi by Marc Davis were recently offered at S/R Labs auctions.
They remind me of what Frank Thomas once said, that without Marc's thorough deer studies quality character animation would not have been possible.
Marc found just the right balance between realistic anatomy and human expressiveness.
He developed appealing designs that could be animated.
Animated by only a few artists who were willing to take on this challenge of studying the heck out of deer anatomy, then adding subtle caricature and acting.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Steps in the Making of the Jungle Book

Disney created educational panels like these off and on to help promote a new upcoming animated feature. They were hung in the main hallway of the animation building, ground floor, or at the movie theatre where the film premiered.
I recall seeing Steps in the Making panels for Sleeping Beauty, The Aristocats and The Rescuers.

For The Jungle Book the character of King Louie guides you through the animation process. 
Sketches by Ken Anderson, storyboards, and animation drawings by John Lounsbery and Frank Thomas help explain how Louie makes it from early development to final cels on to the screen.

All pretty basic stuff, but still lots of fun to follow nevertheless.
Milt Kahl is featured in the photos, and yes, I do own his animation desk.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Jungle Encounter

An absolutely charming and unique T. S. Sullivant illustration. And as usual full of surprising poses, expressions and textured line work. A visual treat!

Friday, May 3, 2019

More Black Cauldron Designs

Heritage Auctions is again offering never before seen animation art, including a few more of my early character designs for Taran and Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron
I remember having a conversation with Glen Kean about the idea for designs that reflect a mix of the drawing styles of Milt Kahl and Fred Moore.
These sketches are an attempt to achieve this. Seems like 100 years ago when I drew them.
Black felt pen and Magic Markers.