Friday, July 29, 2022
Saturday, July 23, 2022
A while ago I posted about an Ollie Johnston scene featuring the snake Sir Hiss. I find the depiction of a snake acting like a human utterly hilarious. At least when it is done in such a clever way:
Frank Thomas did the same with Kaa from The Jungle Book. Mind you, the animator can't get all the credit for the comedy in scenes like these. A story artist will have given the scene some thought long before the animator gets his hands on it. The story sketches already provide the main idea for a personality gag. But the animator of course is responsible for the scene's final comedic acting, timing, staging and draughtsmanship.
At the Jungle Book exhibition we show a few key drawings of Kaa during a conversation with Shere Khan. Suddenly he realizes he said something he shouldn't have. In a case like this a human would raise the shoulders and cover the mouth with one hand. Well... a snake doesn't have any of those human extremities. But Frank turns this moment into a completely believable -and entertaining- piece of character animation.
Thursday, July 21, 2022
A beautiful sketchbook page by German illustration genius Wilhelm M. Busch. I would date these drawings to the 1970s, early 1980s. There are a handful of artists whose work I admire to a point where I love everything, and I mean everything they ever created. Busch is one of them. Every new sketch or illustration I discover is a gift, and an adventure to study. Here's to artistic idols that continue to inspire way beyond their lifetime!
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Jungle Book View Master
When The Jungle Book premiered in Germany in 1968 I had to have the merchandise that came along with the new Disney release.. One of my favorite items was the Jungle Book View Master. I thought those 3-D scenes were produced beautifully. Did you know that the View Master sculptors actually checked their maquettes with director Woolie Reitherman and the animators for approval? A photo of such a meeting is included in the exhibition catalogue/book.
We had originally planed to give the View Master (enlarged) images some space in the exhibit, but we ran out of room.
Saturday, July 9, 2022
The Walt Disney Family Museum opened on October 1, 2009. Here is a pic from one of the opening ceremonies. Museum founder Diane Disney Miller greeted every single guest. It was at this event when Diane told me:"We should talk Mickey sometime." A few years later I ended up curating the exhibition: Mickey Mouse, from Walt to the World.
That's Roger Viloria on the left, and photobombing in the back is friend and author Mindy Johnson.
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
A Grand Entrance
How about this great idea for entering The Jungle Book exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum? I knew we were somehow going to use the image of the book from the film. Then Marina, the exhibit's designer, suggested that we cover one of the front doors. It adds a nice, whimsical touch.
Friday, July 1, 2022
"Have Two Bananas!"
This scene in which King Louie is offering Mowgli "two bananas" was animated vertically on 16 field paper. It makes sense, because the camera moves from a medium close up down to the feet, as they shoot off one and then another banana toward Mowgli.
I love King Louie's facial expressions, You can see on some of the in-between drawings that his eyes used to be a lot smaller, and he was almost bald. As I mentioned before, Walt asked for those changes. According to Dave Michener, who assisted Milt Kahl on Jungle Book, Milt was not in the mood to take care of these alterations. He told Dave:"You do it!"
I also really like the way King Louie's feet squeeze the bananas and turn them into fruity projectiles. The Jungle Book is full of these kinds of personality gags.