Thursday, December 29, 2022

Patrick Mate


Patrick Mate is an extraordinary artist, who works in the animation industry. He has worked for a variety of studios and is mostly known for his outstanding skills as a storyboard artist and character designer. The image above is his recent tribute to The Jungle Book. 

Patrick is also a master caricaturist. He painted these portraits of British character actress extraordinaire Margaret Rutherford, who played Miss Marple in four MGM movies during the early 1960s. I absolutely adore those films, my favorite being "Murder at the Gallop" from 1963. Amazon Prime offers pristine HD versions of all four movies.

What a great caricature of the one and only Greta Thunberg, as she tries to get her important message across with the help of a friend.

For much more on Patrick's outstanding work, go to his blog:

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas


The exhibition "Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece" is still open at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco until January 8. Treat yourself!

The exhibit's catalogue/book is just one click away.

Friday, December 16, 2022



What can I tell you? We just spent the most amazing week at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. This was all about final sound for MUSHKA. And boy...what an experience. These artists take your film to an entire new level. Through sound they plus your storytelling and add environmental atmosphere. I am in awe, these guys are magicians. 
And of course you get the Skywalker tour through the expansive property. It is still sinking in...but we are DONE with MUSHKA. And I enjoy finding out that the Skywalker crew loved working on our film.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

French Magazine

If you live in France you can pick up this magazine, which celebrates the "Renaissance" of Disney Animation. My friend Matthieu Saghezchi interviewed me for this edition, he also created three stunning illustrations for the interior.
Check it out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022



At the beginning of the 2013 documentary "Growing up With Nine Old Men" film maker Ted Thomas pulls this sketch out of a cabinet. He doesn't give an explanation for the image or who the artist might be. Looking back at the drawing now, I am 89.573 % sure that Milt Kahl drew this during production of Bambi. You remember the scene from the film with Thumper's line about hibernating.

Bambi is a caricature of animator Frank Thomas, Thumper is Milt, and Flower is drawn as Marc Davis, who drew most scenes with that character. 

Perhaps Frank and Milt had caught Marc taking long naps after lunch.

By the way, the entire documentary has been uploaded in HD on Youtube:

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Roughs from Bedknobs & Broomsticks


I couldn't resist to do a post on the soccer game from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971. As I am totally enjoying many of the current World cup Games. All these unpredictable scores so far...

I believe these rough animation drawings are by Fred Hellmich, with some help from Milt Kahl.  Hellmich started at Disney in the mid 1950s and stayed through the 1970s until picking up work from other studios. 

The scenes with the gorilla goalkeeper (Team Dirty Yellows) are so great. Way back I had the soccer sequence on Super 8 film, and I loved studying the animation frame by frame.

Does anyone have any interesting infos about Fred Hellmich? There isn't a whole lot about him online. 

Here is a previous post with Milt Kahl's stunning character designs for the sequence:

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Spinnaker


Milt Kahl is flipping through pages of Bob Thomas' 1958 book "The Art of Animation". The pic was taken sometime during the early eighties on one of my pilgrimages to San Francisco to see Milt. 
I had brought the book along for him to sign. 
We are at the Spinnaker restaurant in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco. It was one of Milt's favorite restaurants. He would always get the same table, in the far right corner of the restaurant.
See pic below.

Of course the view was fantastic, but I was much more interested in what Milt had to say...anything coming from him would be words of wisdom. I remember him asking me if I knew Richard Williams and Brad Bird. (At that time I hadn't met either yet.) Milt thought they both were talented guys.

He expressed his concerns about the future of Disney animation. This was of course before our "renaissance". Milt lit up whenever I asked him about his last animation for Disney on The Rescuers.
He was truly proud of his work with Medusa and Snoops. He said:"I probably had more fun animating Medusa than any of the other characters".

The Spinnaker still serves lunch and dinner. Next time you are in the Bay area and want to walk in Milt's footsteps...that far right corner table!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


I remember drawing these character designs of Creeper from The Black Cauldron, many years ago. We came up with a large variety of looks for this little devilish creature. Nothing got approved until one day I came up with this concept. 
Animator Phil Nibbelink drew most of his personality scenes. I didn't do any. Creeper's final color model  in the film is green... I still prefer the cold blue tones. There are very few animation highlights in the film, but Phil's Creeper scenes really stand out for complex and interesting motion and acting.

This over sized model sheet is currently offered by Heritage Auctions from the film's producer's archives.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Jungle Book Tribute

Daniel Ernesto created this beautiful tribute to The Jungle Book. Just when you think you are looking at a film still...things happen. 
Daniel is an effects animator, and he did a lot of stunning work on my film MUSHKA.

Check out his Instagram:

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Jungle Book Production Photos

Musician and voice talent Luis Prima with his alter ego King Louie and Baloo, probably at the Jungle Book wrap party in 1967.

That's layout artist Sylvia Roemer and Ken Anderson in front of visual development art for the King Louie sequence.

Bill Layne paints backgrounds for the night sequence with Bagheera, Mowgli and Kaa.

This gorgeous Milt Kahl scene is very well worth freeze-framing to study Bagheera's movement as he backs away from Kaa. Evan a panther needs to stay clear of a python. At the end of the scene Bagheera looses a step and ends up in a sitting position, but his rear legs keep back peddling. It's a great touch and shows his nervousness.

A cel set up is being examined at the Disney Animation Research Library. All art is always handled with white gloves there, but this photo cracks me up. It sort of looks like Mickey Mouse himself is looking at the background set up.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Pachyderm Interruption

"What beastly luck! Confound that ridiculous Colonel Hathi!" 
Those are Shere Khan's first words in The Jungle Book. He had been stalking a deer when suddenly Colonel Hathi with the Jungle Patrol comes marching by. 
Milt Kahl of course animated this scene, and these are copies of his rough animation drawings. Milt again applies his signature head shakes for the character, which works well here because of the disapproving statement in the dialogue. 
His rear body is on a single held cel.