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. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Character Lineup


I gifted this drawing to Peter Schneider who was head of Walt Disney Animation from 1985-1999. Now being offered at Heritage Auctions.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The Jungle Book is 55 Today


The year 1967 saw movies like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Dirty Dozen and Bonnie and Clyde. And then there was Disney's The Jungle Book. Actor and Academy governor Gregory Peck was so impressed by this animated film that he lobbied for it to be nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Academy Awards the following year.
Here are a few character cels from this remarkable film.

If there is ONE tiny thing I would have changed in the film, it's the appearance of the deer Shere Khan is stalking. I am not bothered by the fact that this is re-used footage of a scene with Bambi's mother. But since the deer in India (Chital deer) show spots on their back, it would not have broken the bank to add just a few of those markings. The character would have fit much better into an Indian jungle setting