studies 2

30 09 2008

some more of my color studies…





birds

29 09 2008

because of the smaller size of the birds in this musical spring opening in disney’s BAMBI the camera shows more details of the forest. some beautifully painted blossoms, foilage in all different greens and a few branches. the color is fresh, in friendly yellow-greens, a big change after the cool blues and greys of the winter scenery before. following are a few recreated backgrounds from the bird sequence.

© disney enterprises, inc





spring

28 09 2008

two more recreated pan backgrounds from disney’s BAMBI, from the spring sequence. the basic color range is here more in the fresh yellow, light olive green range. I will post more of the bird-opening part within the next days. it might be a bit less regular because I am in taipeh, taiwan for lectures until oct.12.

© disney enterprises, inc





paul julian 1

26 09 2008

whenever you watch a warner brothers short from the forties and fifties you can spot backgrounds painted by PAUL JULIAN immediately. they stand out because of the choice of colors and their unique style. JULIAN was a fine artist with exhibitions in art galleries. I quote from the book THE ART OF FRIZ FRELENG – …according to julian ‘backgrounds are used both to stage the character and stay behind the character’…and ‘I did a great deal of special design stuff that I kept hidden and various kinds of staging, taking liberties with perspective, and doing what I could to keep the audience’s attention directed toward the main animation with as much elaboration as I could put behind it. I tried deliberately to build the space around the characters so they were, in effect, working in a kind of tunnel…’ further …when the actual painting commenced, julian concentrated on colors, coordinating his efforts with those of the ink-and-painters…he had two six foot tables and could get the whole six minute picture laid out on the table to make sure everything went together smoothly…
the following 5 recreated pan BG’s are painted by JULIAN, they are from the 1949 WB-short BAD OL PUTTY TAT with tweety and sylvester.
later julian left WB and designed at UPA – THE TELL TALE HEART, another stylistic masterpiece.

bad ol putty tad.credits

bad ol putty tad.pan 5

bad ol putty tad.a

© warner brothers





corals

25 09 2008

recently I did some stylistic designs for an animation project of a studio here in manila. one of the locations that had to be developed was a coral reef. I had never designed underwater-worlds before. and I never did snorkeling, not even here around some of the 7.000 islands. just to paint what I studied in reference photos would have been too boring, so I created different textures and other elements they give you the feel of the coral world, but they come from completely different origins. there is wallpaper, textile texture and architectural-design bits and pieces. I used a lot of my now 15.000 photoshop-brushes and created even some more.





snow

25 09 2008

some very dramatic scenes in disney’s BAMBI happen in winter, in the snow. in the latest disney DVD release of BAMBI all these scenes are moody blueish, what is more a color you would use for romantic joyful scenes. I remember that the color range was very different in a few stills I had seen. so I checked the color in every single scene in that snow sequence using the WHITE BALANCE. that means, in case the white is right, all the other colors are right as well. and the result was very different from the colors presented to us as you can see below in the recreated BG’s. I don’t know why original colors are constantly changed by the color-correction technicians, – maybe following the order of some executives – make it more colorful!
when I was responsible for the color correction of the disney releases from 1996 until 2002 I had some funny experience with that. for example baloo in the JUNGLE BOOK was brown in the first VHS and laserdisk release a while back. that could not be right, since I had seen so many original cels where baloo was grey. following my advice the color correction specialist ( MITCH DRECKMAN as far as I remember ) found out that by tweaking the bear’s color to grey the jungle became much more vibrant. of course, before it looked dull olive with all that red mixed in. I did a lot of film corrections with mitch and it was a great experience. another ‘specialist’ was supposed to correct the color in RESCUERS. I nearly got blind when he showed me the first reel. he said he had added some more saturation, in his opinion the film needed that. I didn’t continue the job with him.
anyway – in BAMBI’S snow you see a lot of yellow what really makes the snow glow together with the complimentary indigo blues. and it adds a touch of danger, yellow is in that context not a very pleasant color. see yourself…

© disney enterprises, inc





nature 1

24 09 2008

© disney enterprises, inc





forest

24 09 2008

a few weeks ago I participated together with about 200 artists worldwide with artwork in an auction initiated by some pixar artists to save a forest near tokyo, hayao miyazaki’s TOTORO forest. not that I care too much about that particular forest, forests in indonesia being used for japanese chopsticks and newspaper or the systematically destroyed amazon jungle are in greater danger. hopefully there will be initiatives as well to save some of our oxygen resources, the endangered forests worldwide, the coral reefs. anyway, I participated for a different reason – TOTORO is one of my favorite films and I am an admirer of miyazaki’s work.





brush

24 09 2008

from 1948 until 1960 disney produced a series of nature films, the TRUE LIFE ADVENTURES. most of them were shown in the DISNEYLAND tv-series, a few were released theatrically. the reason for that was, they were filmed in 16mm format, what is not the best quality format for the big screen. when JOHN LOWRY with his digital restauration got involved in restauring all the disney classics he told me that with his process he could make 16mm films look like 35mm quality. for that reason I proposed to release some of the nature series theatrically again, – well at least a lot of the series is out on DVD now, unfortunately not restaured.
some of my favorites were THE LIVING DESERT, THE VANISHING PRAIRIE, SECRETS OF LIFE and MYSTERIES OF THE DEEP. in those days there was no national geographic tv, these were the best nature documentaries you could see. and I was always fascinated by the opening, the brush that painted the landscapes and introduced you to the geography. especially the opening of THE VANISHING PRAIRIE. I recreated a pretty long stylized pan BG with the icons the brush was painting. it looks even more stunning when you see it in its entire length ( pan direction is from the right to the left ).

© disney enterprises, inc





log

23 09 2008

another beautiful recreated pan from disney’s BAMBI. very simple, painted in oil on cardboard, only one foregroundlayer to create the illusion of depth.

© disney enterprises, inc





limited

23 09 2008

WARD KIMBALL directed a series of specials for the DISNEYLAND tv-series from 1955 until 1959. I always liked them because of their stylistic diversity. UPA had introduced a new style direction in the early fifties, opposite of what the big studios were doing. the artists were inspired by modern art and even most of the stories were not necessarily for a mainstream audience, except maybe the mr.magoo series. some very unusual stylistic and experimental shorts were produced by very talented artists. a lot of them had worked with disney before, like JOHN HUBLEY and JULES ENGEL. these UPA films were the foundation of a different style in animation, especially in europe. but disney saw the potential of a different look than the feature films and shorts as well and decided to experiment with it in his disneyland tv-series. the simplified style made it easy to use limited animation, even as part of the style. during the war years in films like VICTORY THROUGH AIRPOWER limited animation had been used for cost reasons as well. but here in specials like MAN IN SPACE, MAN AND THE MOON, MARS AND BEYOND, OUR FRIEND THE ATOM and EYES IN OUTER SPACE they used it in a very different way. for funny effects – like a face is a hold except the mouth moves, but in the best tradition of full animation. or a moving car is shown, only the tires are rotating – but the smoke clouds behind the car are fully animated. these specials don’t look limited or cheaper than disney’s other productions. and the subjects were very attractive and extremely successful. as far as I know, no other films at that time were informing the audience about this very new space science.



© disney enterprises, inc





4 masters

22 09 2008

during the production of disney’s MULAN I had the once in a lifetime chance to work with incredible artists. I want to show more of their work in the future. here now is ALEX NINO, a philippino comicstrip artist who is still the biggest idol for the young generation over here. alex worked for probably over 40 years in the US comic strip scene, for marvel and most of the other big publishers. I saw his first work first when I was still in gymnasium. well, alex did tons of designs for mulan, usually one a day. every single one a jewel!
SAI PING LOK is from china, a painter very well known in the fine artist scene in the US. he translated black/white sketches done by the numerous visual development artists as well as from story into little color keys, suggested different color moods. he added the ‘chinese touch’ to our drawings, amazing color sense.
the third rough sketch is by PAUL FELIX who became production designer on LILO AND STITCH after he finished hundreds of designs for TARZAN. one of the best drawing artists I have ever met! and later paul started to paint, first on EMPEROR’S NEW GROVE, then I remember unbelieveable paintings done in painter for SNOW QUEEN, unfortunately shelved. and lately he worked on the old version of BOLT.
last but not least there is a good friend, RIC SLUITER, art director on MULAN. a dutch/canadian icehockey- player/painter. amazing talent and a lot of patience. way more than I have. we went through the good and bad times of the production together. ric art-directed and developed the watercolor style for LILO AND STITCH after our chinese adventure. the good old days…

© disney enterprises, inc





blues

22 09 2008

similar color but very different times, actually over a period of 30 years. the first one I did in the late seventies, then a BEAUTY AND THE BEAST forest. there is a bit of an eyvind earle influence. the city scene was for CATS in 1991, unfortunately it never happened. but instead BALTO, 1993 in london. nr.5 is from BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH, an early concept for FANTASIA 2000. then we have MY PEOPLES what did not happen, and a design for a CG short I designed in tokyo in 2006. the techniques were very different as well, watercolor, magic marker feltpen, gouache and photoshop.

© disney enterprises, inc
© universal pictures/amblin





studies 1

21 09 2008

it’s amazing how much you can learn analyzing these recreated masterpieces. too bad the original artwork does not exist anymore. I try to use some of the learning experience in my own designs, for the book I am doing a lot of studies in COLOR and COMPOSITION. here are a few of them…





depth

21 09 2008

in disney’s BAMBI the artists created DEPTH in a lot of very complicated multiplane scenes. they wanted to give us an illusion of reality, with two-dimensional elements. today filmmakers try the same with three-dimensional characters and sets. the reason is the same – when the audience forgets that it is just a film they are watching then you were successful. of course the best tricks with your environment aren’t worth anything when your characters are not believeable.
in this recreated pan background from BAMBI the feel of depth was simply achieved by leading your eyes with composition tricks into the scene. the whole painting is just one level, only with some grass as an overlay to be in front of the character. there is a very nice rhythm in the dark and light values, not to mention the simplicity the way the forest with thousands of leaves is painted. it has a certain emptyness and the composition and perspective suggests some character action, it is a stage.

© disney enterprises, inc





lucky chance

20 09 2008


that must have been sometime in spring 1986, in duesseldorf, germany. dick williams came over from london for a few days. we were sitting in my office, he was on the phone with someone in london and during that short talk he did this doodle. it was the same afternoon when he told me about a project he had been offered to direct, something about a rabbit and a sexy woman. he was not quite sure if he should do it. well, that changed my whole life. dick took the job and directed the animation in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. I got involved in the storyboard work and then everything else just happened…





over the roofs

20 09 2008

the opening of disney’s PINOCCHIO is very impressive. the camera starts with the big star in the night sky, pulls back to reveal some kind of german/swiss alps landscape, then pans over the half-timbered houses in a combined turning-camera-pan, to end finally in the middle of the small village next to gepetto’s house. a masterpiece in planning, layout and painting. several multiplane layers add the feeling of depth. GUSTAF TENGGREN, the swedish children book illustrator worked at the disney studio from 1935 to 1939 and designed this set up amongst a lot of other visuals for shorts and feature films. you can read more in JOHN CANEMAKER’S phantastic book BEFORE THE ANIMATION BEGINS. the photo of tenggren is borrowed from the book as well.



© disney enterprises, inc





tv show

20 09 2008

in the mid-sixties I saw for the first time the DISNEYLAND tv-series on german television, in black and white of course, color was introduced in the late sixties. every single show was an event I planned way in advance. being involved in the gymnasium’s newspaper I was one of the few lucky ones who could use the school’s more modern photocamera. during the tv-show I took one b/w roll of film from the screen, my favorite moments. there was no video at that time. I still have the bad quality pictures I developed and enlarged myself in the school’s darkroom. it cost in those days a lot of effort to get the information you needed and to conserve it. especially about animation. there was only one book about it on the market – THE ART OF WALT DISNEY by BOB THOMAS. that was it! so, the tv shows were pure gold, they gave more of the ‘secrets’ away.

recently I found an article in a 1995 issue of the E-TICKET about the making of these tv-shows. I had no idea how well planned they were. on the air every week they prepared even storyboards for the live action segments and planned walt disney’s moves very well. I post some pictures here drawn by disney artist and WDI imagineer SAM MCKIM. the booards were done for the disneyland programs STORY OF THE SILLY SYMPHONIES oct.1955 and A TRIBUTE TO JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS jan.1956.


© disney enterprises, inc
© the e-ticket





zagreb style 1

19 09 2008

ALONE was produced by ZAGREB FILM in 1958, script and direction bt VATROSLAV MIMICA, design ALEKSANDER MARKS. again the story is not the best but the style of the film is interesting. the same for the second compilation of scenes, THE INSPECTOR RETURNS HOME from 1959. as well directed by MIMICA and design by MARKS, backgrounds by ZLATKO BOUREK. very new at that time was the collage style of the film. not only the BG’s even the character is put together from cut-out pieces. I saw these films for the first time when I started to study the end of the sixties, and they influenced my own designs a lot as you can see in the last comp.

© zagreb film





character model department

19 09 2008

this is a photo of disney’s CHARACTER MODEL DEPARTMENT artists headed by JOE GRANT. I found the picture in JOHN CANEMAKER’S book BEFORE THE ANIMATION BEGINS. the picture was taken in 1939 when they were working on FANTASIA. I have added the names and even found out about an unknown artist – FINI LITTLEJOHN – on the right. she is married to BILL LITTLEJOHN and I met them both when I lived in L.A. it must be her, I am sure. FINI is from austria and escaped the nazi terror early enough. she told me she worked with JOE and did mostly costume designs.








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