Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Axed Scenes


I've always liked this sketch that shows Ward Kimball sulking in self pity over the cut of his "Soup Eating" scene from Snow White. He drew this image himself, and it effectively represents the sentiment of an animator mourning the loss of some terrific work. 

Many of us have been there. For my last feature film at Disney (Winnie the Pooh) I animated an early version of Tigger's entrance. That sequence was then rewritten, and instead of Tigger's interaction with a wooden sign, he now messed with a red baloon.  

The one cut that hurt the most was the so called "Bedtime Story" sequence in Lilo & Stitch. I had animated Lilo telling her sister Nani a story she made up in the moment about a bear called Toaster who has no friends because he smells bad. It was such an emotional scene, because Lilo identified with Toaster being lonely, and was actually talking about herself. 

Someone posted the pencil version on Youtube:


There have been other cuts and re-does of scenes throughout my decades at Disney. I agreed with most of them. But that scene with Lilo......

Friday, May 27, 2022

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Random Disney Mix

Here is a variety of artwork from classic Disney films over the years. What I love about the Dumbo sketch is the fact that even though this is a back view, it still reads like a symbol for the character. There is personality and entertainment.

Some Milt Kahl goodness from Bambi. Dick Williams told me once that he was astonished how the Disney animators were able to draw these deer with such dignity and grace. 

A beautiful development sketch for The Rite of Spring. Artists worked in all kinds of mediums when exploring this prehistoric world. 

This sensitive drawing was made for the 1938 short film Farmyard Symphony.

A clean up drawing of Donald Duck from a 1930s short. All of Donald's temperament is captured here. 
Great fluidity, weight and dimension. Animation probably by Fred Spencer.

Great caricature studies of one of the greatest animators ever, Fred Moore. That young man set a new standard for Disney personality animation.

Actress Helen Stanley acts out a scene for the character of Cinderella. Live action reference can be tricky and lead to stiff results on the screen. But Eric Larson and Marc Davis knew very well how to apply the reference while maintaining fluid animation. 

What amazing colors for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. The Disney color model department was out of this world.

A beautiful story sketch by Joe Rinaldi. Terrific attitudes and staging. People still mistake his work for Bill Peet's. 

A large cel of Trusty from Lady and the Tramp. Again, beautiful colors and impeccable inking. Just a joy to look at. 

A quintessential scene from The Jungle Book. This is a touch up drawing, meaning that the clean up artist worked over a rough animation drawing by Ollie Johnston, on the same sheet of paper. Look at how thin and delicate the lines are. Unfortunately the current streaming version lost this particular quality. The film's original format was close to 4:3, but when you zoom into the image to create 16:9, you loose the top and bottom of the screen as well as the thin line quality.
Be sure to plan and visit the exhibition of Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece. It opens next month at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

1990 at Disney Animation


We had just screened a work in progress version of The Prince and the Pauper for two Disney icons, Marc Davis and Joe Grant. Here they are commenting on story, animation and general entertainment. This is 32 YEARS AGO!!! That might be the reason why I don't remember one thing these two legends said. At that time I had been at Disney for 10 years. And I was so lucky to have gotten to know Marc and Joe, but also Frank and Ollie, Kimball, Milt and of course Eric Larson. 

That's Dan Rounds on the left, the producer of the film. He not only imitates my pose, but also my sense of fashion... ;) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A Medusa Cel


What a great cel of Madame Medusa from The Rescuers. Milt Kahl was very concerned about how the final cels with his animation would turn out. In the end he was very happy with certain visuals that mattered to him. During a conversation with Penny Medusa has taken off all of her eyelashes. At this point Milt wanted to show no eyelashes at all, not even her natural ones. The xerox line defining the edges of her eyes was eliminated, and a flesh colored ink line was added. This is all about contrast. Big eyelashes at first, then none at all. That's a clear graphical statement. 

Earlier on Medusa removed half of her lipstick, and again, that side of her mouth doesn't show any lip definition at all! Contrast, contrast!

To some viewers this might be gross looking, and it is, but sooo in character. I just love this sequence.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Another Look at Sleeping Beauty

Marc Davis draws Maleficent. This is not a scene from the film Sleeping Beauty, the sketch was made for publicity purposes. As I pointed out before, Marc worked on this film longer than any other animator. He actually skipped the production of Lady & the Tramp, so he could focus on and animate the movie's heroine as well as its villain. Aurora and Maleficent. This was a first, and it hasn't been done since. 

A live action photostat of Jane Fowler (later Boyd) as Maleficent. Voice actress Eleanor Audley also acted out important scenes for the animators.

A Frank Thomas sketch of the Three Fairies, pretty much as they appear in the film. But it took many exploratory versions to get to this point.

This is early live action footage for Aurora and Prince Phillip. Believe it or not, but that's Kathryn Beaumont (of Alice and Wendy fame). I don't know who her acting partner is, with his full hairdo.  

King Hubert, King Stefan and his Queen represented by actors Don Barcley, Hans Conried, and again Jane Fowler. 

 Camera moves planning and a clean up layout. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022



A photo from quite a few years ago, taken at the home of Marc Davis. Alice Davis is giving a tour of Marc's art on display in their home. A visit to the Davis home is like walking through a museum, filled with extraordinary art from one of animation's grand masters. It makes your head spin, so much to look at, so much to appreciate and be inspired by.

That is Jake Friedman on the right. His new book on the infamous Disney strike is about to be released. Jake has a new book and I have a new animated film about to come out!


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Mark Adlington


Mark Adlington is a terrific contemporary animal artist from the UK. I came across his beautiful work by accident online. He draws his subjects in their natural environments, before refining the sketches in his studio. 
Adlington has a great sense for observation, he can paint any kind of animal very well. 
I found two publications featuring his work on Amazon. One focusing on African lions, the other one on polar bears. 

Here are a couple of great videos with him talking about his work:

All images copyright Mark Adlington.