Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Disney Art in Arlington, Texas

There are a few days left to visit an exhibition in Arlington, Texas. The title says it all, plenty of gorgeous original art from countless Disney classics. I am one of the lenders to this rare and special exhibit.
If you live in the area, I highly recommend a visit. 

Some of my own personal work as well as character drawings from my Disney career are included in the show. 

Here is the link to the website:

Thursday, August 25, 2022

London 1987

Back row:  Chuck Gammage, animator - Phil Nibbelink, animator - Don Hahn, animation producer 

Middle row: Ken Ralston, visual effects supervisor - Uli Meyer, animator - me, animator - Chris Knott, animation effects supervisor

Front row: Robert Zemeckis, director - Arthur Schmidt, editor - Richard Williams, animation director - Steve Starkey, associate producer

This was a sequence turnover meeting, where we looked at live action footage and discussed the animation that needed to be added. 

Roger Rabbit, a once in a lifetime experience! The idea behind the film was irresistible.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Vasily Vatagin, The Jungle Book

I recently came across this fabulous Russian artist who worked on several editions of Kipling's The Jungle Book. Vatagin lived from 1884 until 1969. 

These illustrations show not only his knowledge of animal anatomy but also of specific animal behavior. Most of all it is clear to see how much he loved the natural world.

I found these interesting infos online:

Vatagin illustrated a great number of children’s books by Ernest Thompson Seton, Jack London, Vitaly Bianki and others, thus becoming a real live classic of Soviet book illustration. But it was Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” that brought him fame and popularity. Vatagin started his work at the book in 1922 and continued it up to the 1950s. He created an enormous number of illustrations, about 200 in all, and returned to them many times. A book which came out in 1922 included about 100 illustrations. The 1934 edition of the book featured three to four small drawings on each spread, which show the plot development. In the 1965 edition there were fewer but more developed, expressive and finished illustrations. Vatagin made the drawings in black-and-white, with ink and pencil, in the auto-lithography technique. The wildlife here is full of danger, and the combination of black and white conveys the feeling of tension in the jungle (“Maughli Learned to Jump from Branch to Branch”, “The Herd was Already Unable to Stop”, “Hathi Stepped Forward — It Was Clear That He is the Master of the Jungle”). The artist also pays great attention to the details of Indian life. In all, there have been 12 editions of the book with the artist’s illustrations, and readers have loved his drawings just as they loved Kipling's tales

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Bambi at 80


Disney's Bambi premiered 80 years ago. Originally not a boxoffice success, it now ranks among the most beautiful films of all time. The film's opening multiplane scene through the forest with its haunting musical choir arrangement leaves me speechless each time I watch it. And the character animation is -I said this before- poetry in motion. 

Earlier this week the BBC aired a great interview with Bambi's voice actor Donnie Dunagen. Now at age 87, he still remembers vividly his association with the character and the film. It is well worth listening to:


A newspaper scrapbook page from Dunagen's own collection.

In 2011 I had the chance to spend time with Donnie Dunagen, when he was promoting the film's release on Bluray. 


Sunday, August 7, 2022

More Milt Jungle Book

These drawings didn't make it into the Jungle Book exhibition.  We had so much great material, we could not include all of it. Most of these Milt Kahl "outtakes" are sketches made for other animators.

Colonel Hathi for John Lounsbery, King Louie and Baloo for Frank Thomas and the Girl for Ollie Johnston. 

As Milt proclaimed in an interview:"I was the Disney style!"

Here is a link to a post full of Milt Kahl Jungle Book drawings, from over 10 years ago:


Thursday, August 4, 2022

Lucky Emil

Milt Kahl sent this magnificent drawing of Bagheera to one lucky person called Emil. Probably in 1965. In studying the sketch I think this might be an outtake from an actual scene. Remember when Bagheera gives Baloo a hard time, who just announced that he is going to take care of Mowgli and teach him all he knows? This pose is from that section of the film. Milt added the branch and a personal note, folded the drawing, and off to lucky Emil...

Monday, August 1, 2022

Advance Copy

I just received an advance copy of the catalogue/book about the Jungle Book exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum. 192 pages. It couldn't have turned out better. I am very thrilled with the printing quality and page layouts.

What can I say...I highly recommend it!!