whenever I look at the layouts and backgrounds from disney’s BAMBI I am not sure what I admire more – the graphite ‘painted’ black/white layouts on vellum paper or the final oil-painted BG’s on glass or cardboard.
LISA KEENE, who is a BG-artist and art director in the DISNEY-feature animation studio in burbank, send me a very interesting note about the BAMBI BG-painting technique, and I want to share it with everybody. she writes -
I just thought I would tell you what I know about these BAMBI BG’s, I thought you may be interested. the first time I saw the glass plates, I think it was around 1983 and they were housed in a corrugated steal building where the ABC-building is now in the far west corner where the grass is. a dark drafty building where the low level light showed the dust partials in the air. it really left an impression on me because BAMBI is my all time favorite Disney film and I was shocked that they were treated so casually. I was surprised they weren’t all broken. I can’t remember what else was in the building but there was lots of other stuff. many of the BGs that were not multiplanes were of varying mediums. of course the paint on the glass was oil but many were painted with watercolor or thinly with oil. it seemed that what ever the artist was more comfortable using it was just fine. we had to use these BG’s to copy from and learn the technique so I was surprised that they weren’t all the same. I suspect that often the glass plates were covered with a neutral color, grey, so that when the glass moved over another plate nothing showed through a thinly painted level. we still did that when we painted on cel and oddly enough still do when we are on the computer. also if the paint is thin on the sides of an area whenever that overlay level passed over the one below and the below level was dark the edges on the one above would appear to ghost when the camera lights would hit it, so it needed to be backed carefully. you see some of that especially in the opening shot. transferring the layout with a metal stylus was used with graphite paper turned downward and the layout used on top using the stylus so not to ruin the layout. If no graphite paper could be had we often made our own.
Anyway I’m sure you know all of this but I though if you hadn’t seen the old building where the glass plates were you might enjoy the story.
thank you so much for that insight, LISA.
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