Monday, September 13, 2021

Sullivant Original IV

 


From the Jungle Gazette:

Young Wilbur Lion is home from his triumphal tour with the Mammoth Circus. "Welcome home, Wilbur."

Life Magazine, fall 1925

This beauty measures 16 1/2  x  10 1/2". Drawn almost 100 years ago. Sullivant's quadrupeds are walking on their toes here. By contrast Disney would later put the bodyweight of anthropomorphic animals on the whole length of the foot, like humans (Song of the South, Robin Hood etc.) As so often in his work Sullivant keeps the background to a minimum, so the characters read clearly and beautifully. 


Friday, September 10, 2021

Ward Kimball...20 Questions

 


Here is another one of those questionaires that someone sent to various artists from the entertainment industry, years ago. Kimball answers them in typical fashion. 

I posted Ollie Johnston's answers a while ago:

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2016/02/ollie-johnston20-questions.html


Sunday, September 5, 2021

"Listen Friar..."

"...you're mighty preachy and you gonna preach your neck (right into a hangman's noose.)" The Sheriff of Nottingham is not happy with Friar Tuck's confrontational comments about taxes and the poor.
This is a Milt Kahl scene, and these drawings were photocopied before a clean up artist would erase some of the construction lines and eliminate extraneous ones, on the original sheets. 

But these animation key drawings are pure Milt. The back of the head leads the motion, and when the head arrives at the high position, Milt goes crazy with with the character's dialogue. The word "mighty" is about to come up, and for the middle vowel he just about breaks the jaw for an extremely large open mouth shape (drawing 53).

No other animator at Disney would take it this far. There are people who love this kind of stuff, others resent it. (Ollie Johnston wasn't crazy about Milt's oversized mouth shapes).

To me this works when applied only occasionally to a loud, strong vowel. If you only use big mouth shapes in your dialogue animation, the character will end up grimacing, instead of talking naturally.

Great scene!













 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A Roger Rabbit Crowd Scene



This cel from the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit was recently sold at Heritage Auctions. As if animating the whole movie on ones and following the live action camera wasn't tough enough, toward the end of production we still had a large amount of crowd scenes to do. Filled with characters from different studios.
I animated one early shot in which a huge number of characters come running toward camera to inspect what's left of the villain Judge Doom.
There was Mickey, Minnie, Pinocchio, Betty Boop, the Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny and others. For me this was the first time I animated classic cartoon characters. These scenes were usually split up between two animators. One drew the front rows of characters the other added the back end of the group.
I remember that I needed to study the characters' movements in classic short films on Video Cassettes, frame by frame. They all had to run "in character", so that needed some analysis. 
Betty Boop swings her arms sideways when running, the Roadrunner has these Beep, Beep stop and go moves etc.
I also remember that it took me forever to get those scenes done, particularly the running one. Despite pressure from management I had a ball animating famous "toons" trying to get them as close to the original versions as possible. 
This scene here appears a little later when the gang has already arrived and some of them are commenting on the situation. Here I animated Pinocchio, Daffy, Baby Herman, Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, Bugs, Betty Boop, Tweety, Donald and Sylvester.



Friday, August 27, 2021

101 Dalmatians, Behind the Scenes II

Here is part 2 with production photos and artwork from 101 Dalmatians. We need a coffee table size book on the making of this brilliant film. To this day the most modern Disney animated movie of all time.
























Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Few Beautiful Rough Animation Drawings

 


These terrific drawings were recently offered at various auctions. Cinderella was drawn by Marc Davis, and technically this is a "touch up" drawing. Marc's rough lines still shine through underneath the clean up pencil definition. This is a clean up drawing on top of Marc's rough. I don't know who did clean up on this character, perhaps Clair Weeks. But look at that face...if you are off by half a pencil width, Cinderella would look like E.T. The immense challenge of delicate Disney realism. 

These beautiful young adult Bambi analytical studies were not drawn by Preston Blair, as you might think. This is the work of Milt Kahl.





John Lounsbery experienced a career high during his work on Lady and the Tramp. Pure genuine character rich depiction. A solid, fun drawing, full of personality. 




Ollie Johnston had always been a "dog person". He raised several of them at his Flintridge home during his lifetime. I love the perspective in this sketch of Trusty, as well as the feel for loose, old flesh on his body. High standards all around in all of these animation drawings. 




Saturday, August 21, 2021

Online Talk, Walt Disney Family Museum


I will be giving a virtual talk/presentation about my work at Disney Studios on Wednesday, August 25 at 5:30 pm PT in connection with the Walt Disney Family Museum.

For anybody who might be interested in joining me, here is the official link:

https://www.waltdisney.org/education/talks/my-career-disney-animation-andreas-deja


Monday, August 16, 2021

Bianca

 


I always feel flattered when art students compliment me on my work at Disney, and when they tell me what it means to them. I can sympathize because I gave Frank and Ollie and the others earfuls of praise. I know they appreciated it, and I do, too. 

Bianca gave me this precious illustration during the last CTN Expo. The way she stylized the characters I had worked on is super charming. I just noticed the somewhat sad expression of Mickey on the left. I wonder if this might be a subtle statement about me leaving Disney. 

Bianca, wherever you are, your artwork made me smile and happy!


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

101 Dalmatians, Behind the Scenes



These images are scans of book pages from an Italian booklet that was published to promote the DVD release of the film in that country. I happened to be in Rome for Disney at that time and snatched it up right away. There are great production photos, Bill Peet story sketches, final film frames and more.
I will post more pages in the coming weeks.





















Saturday, August 7, 2021

A Ward Kimball Talk

 


Here's a publicity pic of Kimball when he was involved with the cat sequence in Lady & the Tramp. In the end his animation footage was considered too wild to fit the overall film. And wouldn't we all love to see those scenes that were cut. Wild or not, I am sure they were brilliant.

On August 6 and 20, 1956 Ward gave a talk to upcoming animators (I presume at the studio) on various topics of character animation. Everyone in class is being asked to produce a 28 foot long test scene...which is extremely long, considering these were junior artists. 

I got a copy of these notes from Dick Williams way back during my Roger Rabbit days. It's interesting that Kimball covers technical as well as philosophical aspects. I'm sure he was a tough teacher to please. But that goes for any of these guys.







Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Fairy Godmother by Marc Davis

 

Heritage Auctions are currently offering an original model sheet of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. Their description doesn't include the name of the artist, but it is clear to me that this is the work of Marc Davis. 

This character started out originally as a realistic figure during the storyboard phase of production. Compatible to the look of the Stepmother. Milt Kahl lobbied for a screwy, eccentric, funny concept, but Walt didn't see it that way. These Marc Davis sketches show a compromise. There is realism with potential for some eccentricity. So Milt took it from here. I do like Marc's abandoned idea of the Fairy Godmother hovering above ground (sketch #3).

Here are a couple of links to earlier posts about Milt Kahl's Fairy Godmother:

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2012/04/fairy-godmother.html

https://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2016/03/cinderella-live-action-reference.html




Sunday, August 1, 2021

A King Triton Issue

 


The first sequence I animated in The Little Mermaid shows King Triton interacting with Sebastian as they discuss Ariel's character. Actually this might be the very first scene issued to me. After completing this section it dawned on me that there was something that doesn't feel right. Triton seemed to be sitting on his "throne" on dry land. The scenes lacked a sense for being underwater. It was his hair! I drew it resting on his back, his beard positioned on his chest. Shoot!!

In all of the following scenes I animated I made sure that the hair was drifting almost weightlessly...like underwater. Sometimes you don't get it right at the start of production. It bugs me to this day...

On a different note:  Most of my Youtube videos can't be accessed at the moment. We are working on resolving this. Thank you for your patience, ladies and gentlemen.