Sunday, December 4, 2016

More on Milt's Merlin

These sheets were put together during production of The Sword in the Stone. They show partial Milt Kahl drawings, focusing on Merlin's head as well as his hands. At that time Milt couldn't be bothered with creating model sheets that show the character's construction, turn around etc. 
He would start off with a few scenes for a character, then it was up to one of his assistants to arrange poses for model sheets. The tricky thing is that other animators like Frank, Ollie and Lounsbery had to figure out by themselves what the exact proportions are and how to work with Milt's graphic shapes dimensionally. Not an easy thing to do!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jafar by Nik Ranieri

Nik animated a bunch of great scenes with Jafar way back. He also did this sketch of - I think you know who. This was late in production when we were animating Jafar with a Sultan hat.

I sure wish Jeffrey well in his future endeavors.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bruno Bozzetto

Bruno Bozzetto is an Italian genius! This photo shows him outside the Disney Animation building with Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas and Eric Larson sometime during the late 1970s.
Bruno has won acclaim and many awards over the years for his exquisite feature films as well as short subjects. Signor Rossi (below) is a character I enjoyed watching on German TV as a teenager.
He is your everyday Italian man, who copes with life's challenges.
Wonderful design!!

Bozzetto produced and directed several animated feature films such as The SuperVips (My Brother the Superman) from 1968. Limited animation used brilliantly.

Probably his most famous animated feature is Allegro Non Troppo from 1976. This film is a tribute/satire on Disney's Fantasia, and it is "fully animated", 12 to 24 drawings per second. After I saw the film as an art student I was mesmerized by its craftsmanship, its intelligent storytelling and its beauty. I wrote Bruno a fan letter with an added sketch, and he responded by sending me a letter with an added sketch!!
Ward Kimball loved this film. He told animation students to study the Ravel/Bolero sequence. To him it included some of the best animation ever done.

A frame from the film's the Sibelius/Valse Triste sequence. So brilliant!

The Bolero illustrates the beginning of life on Earth...the Bozzetto way.

For the love of God, if you like hand-drawn animation, get a DVD copy of Allegro Non Troppo:

Try Ebay as well. The film is a masterpiece!

I had the chance to meet Bozzetto on a couple of occasions. He is one of the nicest men still working within this art form, and my conversations with him continue to stimulate me.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Studying Sullivant

I did these sketches based on T.S. Sullivant's illustrations a few years ago. When a particular artist fascinates you, it's a good idea to take a closer look and analyze why the stuff looks so amazing.
By re-drawing, not tracing, you can absorb the unique line work, shapes, rhythm, forms, and proportions in a way that makes you think. Maybe there is something there that you can incorporate into your own work. It's not a question of wanting to draw like this artist, but instead letting yourself be inspired.
I applied this method to Heinrich Kley, Albert Uderzo and others. 
Some people call this: Standing on the shoulders of Giants.

Here is the link to my first Sullivant post, many more followed:

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Great Lounsbery Scene

John Lounsbery animated this hilarious moment from The Jungle Book. Colonel Hathi prevents the Bugler elephant from sounding the alarm prematurely. 
Bugler forms the instrument with his trunk, and responds to Hathi:"Yes, sir!" He then blows the "horn" before Hathi's trunk blocks the air flow. What a crazy idea to have the now trapped air backfiring, filling up Bugler's cheeks. At he end they deflate with a silly sound effect, his ears wiggling. 
Great drawing, great timing, great comedy, (before the gag was re-used in Robin Hood).
I love the way Louns works with all that loose flesh during squash and stretch.

Everyone of these drawings is priceless.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mary Blair

Much has been written about Mary Blair and her work on Disney films as well as Disneyland attractions. There is a sophisticated simplicity going through her work that Walt Disney was attracted to, and so are we. This lady was a trendsetter, who helped define modern art and color in animation during the post war era and beyond. Here are a few candid photographs toward the end of her career at Disney, followed by Peter Pan development art.
Did you know that she sewed many of her own clothes?

Monday, November 21, 2016


My friend Tom Bancroft has this thing for Wonder Woman and Captain America. He keeps a sketchbook handy and asks other artists to sketch their version of those characters. I did this drawing for him the other day.
I wonder what Stitch would look like as Captain America. That's a drawing for Alex Kupershmidt.

Check out Tom's blog: