Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Facial Expressions & Dialogue

...will be the topics of my next lecture with Virtual Animators this Saturday, March 7.
Over the years I've had the chance to animate characters with a variety of facial configurations. Each one of them required a unique approach to the way they talked. It was always fun to try and come up with new mouth shapes and expressions I hadn't used before. 
That's part of being an animator, putting your own personal stamp on your character, and doing it differently than your colleague next door would. That's the stuff I'll be talking about.

If you are interested in joining the lecture, here is the link to Virtual Animators:

Marc Davis, Fine Artist, Animator

I have written before about Marc Davis' many artistic talents. Here are a few more examples that showcase the wide scope of his skills. I just love the nude study above which goes all the way back to 1939. Marc had finished clean up animation on Snow White, and here he shows his expertise for depicting the female form. Come to think of it, that type of pose is actually quite ordinary, but loose brush strokes, gorgeous color and a semi abstract back drop make this an extraordinary image. I think Marc did about a handful of these bold, quick sketch nudes.

The confrontation of a bull with a big cat is not dated, but my guess would be the mid 1950s.
A beautiful composition in which the animals are pictured with "decorative anatomy", for lack of a better word.

At the studio Marc had no problem switching over to realistic animation. Many of you might not have known that beside his astounding portrayal of Tinker Bell in the film Peter Pan, he also animated Mary Darling.
An amazing man, who continued to experiment throughout his life as a fine artist as well as an animator.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Think Magazine 1959

A brief, but nice article on Walt Disney from 1959. I like the personal approach in the write up, you get to know Walt a little. What I don't understand is that there is no mention of Disney's latest animated spectacular Sleeping Beauty, which was released in theaters about three months before the article was published.
I enjoy the candid photos as well.

Some poster art from only a few of so many Walt Disney Productions.

Disney/Heritage Auctions

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cinderella's Romanticism

From the moment the storybook opens we find out that romance is the predominant visual theme of the film. What a lovely way to take us into this world through gorgeous book illustrations and the soulful narration by Betty Lou Gerson ( who would later voice Cruella De Vil).

Cinderella's background paintings remind me of grand stage sets for a Viennese Operetta by Johann Strauss. Everything is exaggerated in order to enhance a dreamlike, sentimental mood. The movie was made on a shoestring budget, yet the its visual presentation is opulent and luscious. You combine that with rich storytelling, and you get a classic for the ages.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Aristocats Doodles

For the film The Aristocats individual assignments were given to each of the supervising animators. Milt Kahl developed the relationship between the movie's human characters like Madame Bonfamille, her lawyer George Hautecourt and Edgar, the butler. Ollie Johnston drew key scenes with Duchess and her three kittens, and Frank Thomas animated O'Malley's song as well as the two dogs in the countryside, Napoleon and Lafayette.
John Lounsbery was put in charge of designing and animating most scenes featuring O'Malley's jazzy musician friends. It was Ken Anderson's idea that the five of them would be from different ethnic backgrounds and speak with individual accents like Russian, British, Italian etc.

Here are a few of Lounsbery's character doodle sheets, in which he explores a variety of shapes and proportions for the cats, as well as props that might link them to their respective country.

I've had a number of posts featuring Lounsberys work, this was the first one with an overview of his characters:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wilhelm M. Busch 1959

Busch illustrated Balzac's Les cent contes drôlatiques in 1959. This German 200 pages + edition has a ton of incredible drawings, spontaneous and bold, showing master draughtsmanship. Inventive staging and unconventional characters make these sketches a delight to study. Work like this inspires me to no end.
It is breathtaking!
Here is a selection of images from the first half of the book. If you'd like I can do a part II in a later post.