Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Vintage Jungle Book Merchandise


Photo - The Walt Disney Family Museum

It was so much fun putting together a collection of vintage merchandise for the exhibition "Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece". In the end we had too many items, a few didn't make the selection for the exhibit. I remember listening to those LP record albums...a lot!

In Germany we had the hot chocolate company KABA offering a series of activity/picture books. Even though I realized that the quality of the illustrations wasn't up to the art from the movie, it didn't matter. Any kind of merchandise from The Jungle Book was good enough for me.

The exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum runs through March 5, 2023. You don't want to miss it!

Monday, February 20, 2023

Friday, February 17, 2023



Ever since I saw this little scene in story sketches, I was hoping to animate it when the time came. It was so unexpected (or was it?) that after Lilo placed Stich's claw on the vinyl record, she opened his mouth and Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Mind" came out of it. 
This moment always got a big laugh during story screenings. One of the funniest things I had ever seen. 
It was so much fun to draw both characters. The scene was also easy to animate, not a whole lot was moving. Staging and timing had pretty much been worked out in the story sketches by Chris Sanders. 
To this day I get a kick out of watching people's reaction to this little comedic gem. There is usually disbelief at first, followed by laughter.

Here are a few first pass roughs that my assistant at the time had kept for a while.

Here is a Youtube link to the sequence:

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Sketches of Wart

I think I said this before, but Eric Larson found Wart very difficult to draw. "Boy...that kid was so skinny", I remember him saying. But then again any character design by Milt Kahl was hard to follow in those days because Milt had developed his own personal drawing style. For the most part Walt Disney approved Milt's character designs for a new film, but occasionally there were design details that the boss didn't like. And he called for changes such as Wart's profile, his nose in particular. Milt told me way back that Walt did not find this early version appealing enough. On Jungle Book it was the character design of King Louie that went through subtle changes. Walt asked for larger eyes and some hair on top of his head. "You are thinking too much in terms of a real orangutan" he told animators Frank Thomas and Milt, who had just presented their ruff animation of the King Louie sequence. (In the same memo Walt praised both of them for the great character animation).

One thing that really cracked me up is when Milt told me that Walt asked him to stop drawing the characters in the Hanna-Barbera style. "He was playing with me, you know."