Thursday, April 19, 2018

Just a Beautiful Drawing Wilhelm M. Busch for a bookcover.
An ordinary pose, drawn in an extraordinary fashion. This approach applies to animation as well.
Often you get to do a scene in which the character does something ordinary. How can this scene come out looking interesting. Of course the first thought should be around the character's personality. Is there a way to be unique and specific in your acting choices. The same goes for drawing and staging. A woman is sitting on a chair. What is she thinking? Who is she? Once you know that, then the drawing challenge follows. How can I portray this woman in the most beautiful and insightful way, so people want to look at her.
Well, I do want to know more about this woman. I guess I will have to read the novel.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Prince John Goes Berserk

A beautiful scene with Prince John, animated by Ollie Johnston. The character is very consistent throughout the film -drawing and personality wise- because Ollie handled just about every scene with Prince John. 
Here at the beginning of the archery tournament he says:
"That insolent blackguard...ooh...I'll show him who wears the crown.". 

The film's draft gives the following description:
MCU - Prince John reacting to the mention of Robin Hood's name - slams paw down on arm of chair, which causes crown to bounce off his head and down into position covering eyes.

The action goes great with the dialogue, because obviously he is not wearing the crown very well.
I also love how fast he raises his arms on "ooh", he goes from being upset to severe outrage.
Great overlap on the heavy sleeves.

Did anybody notice that up until frame 60 Prince John has five "fingers", but from then on shows only four?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Fred Moore's Mickey


I found this image on the internet a while ago. Whoever the owner is...congratulations, this is a unique Fred Moore doodle sheet. Starting out with red pencil, Fred explores a variety of poses. Then, in usual fashion, he adds black pencil lines on top. Those lines are the ones that matter, the red under-drawing was research in order to get to the final form defining black lines.
There is just one unusual thing going on here.
The red under-drawings show Mickey's eyes with pupils, the "modern" design. The black lines refer back to the "old" eye treatment, solid black ovals.
There is no doubt that these sketches were made during Mickey's eye transition in 1938/39.
It's just that you'd think Fred would draw the old design first, then add the new Mickey with pupils on top.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Embattled Drawings

This is a Frank Thomas scene from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow section, which is a part of the 1949 feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. 
The animation is gorgeous. Here are just five drawings from this looong scene. Brom Bones is trying to rid himself of Tilda, who seems glued to the town hunk during the dance. 
In order to save money (and paper), the animator's drawings were rubbed down before a clean up artist added volume research in color pencil on the same sheet of paper. The final graphite line represents the last stage in defining the characters before the drawings were sent to the ink & paint department. 
These drawings show the creative battle animators and clean up artists go through in order to achieve the best results on the screen. Correct anatomy is only slightly compromised to ensure fluidity of motion. 
Since Milt Kahl supervised these two characters, he most definitely did key drawings, so Brom and Tilda look the way he envisioned them. But the animation is all Frank.
So much brainwork on everybody's part. Teamwork!!

Read the note on #411, from Amey to Hillary.  Hilarious!!
This scene is discussed in my book on THE NINE OLD MEN. Just thought I bring this up...

Friday, March 30, 2018

Sword in the Stone Vis Dev

Some beautiful visual development art by Vance Gerry and Ken Anderson.  
Ken Anderson art directed The Sword in the Stone, Vance got credit as a layout artist. But as you can see he did much more than production layouts, he created color environments for many sequences, including the one with Merlin and Wart as fish.
When I started at Disney in 1980, Ken was around, but was getting ready for retirement.
Vance on the other hand worked on quite a few more films, including Mouse Detective, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Eric Larson working -obviously- on 101 Dalmatians. I am not sure when this photo was taken. Perhaps during production or after the movie was finished. 
Everybody loved Eric. When interacting with animation students or newcomers to the studio during the 1970s and 80s, he was a very good listener. He wanted to know your background, your history.
His advice was always encouraging. Eric was fascinated by student's individual talents. 
And he always stressed the value of Walt Disney's approach toward entertainment. Bringing audiences up to what they didn't expect. 
When the studio got into TV animation, Eric was heartbroken. He stressed that Walt always wanted top quality, no matter what format. I read between his lines that Walt would have insisted on top quality for the then new Disney Chanel content. The Illusion of life, which it wasn't.

Compromise was not something Eric supported. He loved his old boss and tried to communicate to some of us that superior quality was an excellent business model that would always win.

That kind of philosophy stayed with me ever since Eric conveiged it to us. 
Perhaps I can convince John Musker ( who had great interactions with Eric) to host a full blown Academy Tribute on Eric's animation work as well of his teachings. This is so overdue.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Click's Magazine 1941

Here's a 1941 magazine article that promotes the release of Fantasia. Always fun to read about the current mood and situation during Disney's golden age of animation.