24 02 2014

I recently found the ‘finale’ for the TOONTOWN-sequence in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, a part of a storyboard that HARALD SIEPERMANN and I created in the summer of 1987 in the AMBLIN-studio on the UNIVERSAL-lot. it was never used in the film, – since our boards summed up to about 15 min of film the director, BOB ZEMECKIS, cut the sequence down to 45 seconds.


© amblin entertainment / universal pictures / disney enterprises, inc

the blitz

21 05 2011

FRANS MASEREEL, 1889 – 1972, was born in belgium and is probably the greatest woodcut artist of the twentieth century. his work belongs to the EXPRESSIONISTIC style, – THOMAS MANN, EMILE ZOLA and STEFAN ZWEIG were the writers whose novels MASEREEL illustrated. when I worked on the adaptation of the musical CATS as an animated feature film in 1991 I used MASEREEL’S work as look-reference. as well as a lot of art from numerous german expressionistic painters like, KAETHE KOLLWITZ, MAX PECHSTEIN, KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF and EMIL NOLDE. the story was supposed to take place in london during the second world war, the so called BLITZ ( from blitz-krieg ), so I referred to a lot of historic photographs of the destroyed london from that time.

below are some of my earliest designs for CATS, the ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER musical, produced by STEVEN SPIELBERG in his london AMBLIMATION studio, all ‘painted’ with tipp-ex white correction fluid on black cardboard. I touched up the pretty rough white strokes with black markers. I know, it sounds like a very unusual technique – but woodcut would have been worse.

© masereel / andrew lloyd webber / amblimation / universal pictures


13 05 2011

in june 1987 I flew with HARALD SIEPERMANN to L.A. to do the storyboard for the TOONTOWN-sequence in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. we stayed as far as I remember five weeks, worked in a trailer right behind the AMBLIN ‘WHILE YOU WAIT’ – building on the universal lot, and created probably a thousand or more sketches. the final sequence was about 15 min long, what was with changes cut down to 45 sec in the final film. I remember one of the first assignments we got from DON HAHN, the assoc.producer, was to create a walk of eddie valiant through a part of toontown. we had to come up with all different light situations. harald did the sketch, that I colored from memory below, I painted then in 1987 the whole pan without the character and ILM used the whole set-up to create the light effects and the combination with the actor BOB HOSKINS as a test.

© disney enterprises, inc
© universal pictures / AMBLIN entertainment


9 06 2010

good memories from june 1987, amblin, universal lot L.A., – storyboard-work on TOONTOWN-sequence, part of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, together with HARALD SIEPERMANN.

© disney enterprises, inc / amblin entertainment / universal pictures

b/w 1

14 02 2010

© disney enterprises, inc
© amblin / universal
© bilderfabrik


2 06 2009

some more from universal/amblimation dec.1995 released BALTO. an outlined bear in one color would have looked too cartoony, too much detail in the fur too expensive to animate, too realistic and it would have flickered. this is what I came up with as a solution, just animated highlights in two different colors. the last one is a color continuity sheet with changing light during the sunset. all felt pen and gouache on top of SIMON WELLS xeroxed storyboard drawings.

balto bearfight05

balto bear119

balto col.continuity18


comparison 1

13 04 2009

deep in some drawers I found accidentally a few xeroxed layouts from universal’s/amblin’s 1995 released BALTO. for some of them I had the corresponding reproduced BG’s. there is enough for another later post, here are the first 6 scenes. I added the artist’s name as far as I remember them…




© universal/AMBLIN

nome – alaska

11 01 2009

the problem was the color in BALTO. about 80% of the movie took place in the snow. if you are not careful you end up with a lot of white and some dull blueish colors, the atmosphere becomes cold and the audience starts freezing. that’s what steven spielberg was afraid of – the audience would not be able to develop warm feelings towards the characters.


I had painted my designs like usual in those days with feltpen and a bit of gouache, in a small size, 21 x 11 cm. the final backgrounds were usually painted in gouache. but with the soft blends in the snow areas that seemed to be impossible. so we decided – let’s try to paint it in oil. they had done it in BAMBI, why not try it as well. COLIN STIMPSON, the art director, was a brilliant oil painter, so were a few others in the background team. it took some weeks to train everybody. lots of test paintings were done, some of them little masterpieces.
for the final backgrounds nearly all of the snow scenes were painted in oil, as well as some of the interiors with soft blends. all other less problematic interiors were painted traditionally in gouache. in some of the next posts I will show some of the final backgrounds.



27 10 2008

here some official notes about the color GREEN – kermit thefrog once said ‘it ain’t easy being green’. green is life. abundant in nature, green signifies growth, renewal, health, and environment. on the flip side, green is jealousy or envy and inexperience. green is a restful color with some of the same calming attributes of blue. it is the national color of ireland and is strongly associated with that country, green also has close associations with islam. because of all the green in nature the color is reminiscent of spring, coupled with red it’s a christmas color. green has long been a symbol of fertility and was once the preferred color choice for wedding gowns in the 15th-century. with both a warming and cooling effect, the color green denotes balance, harmony, and stability.

the designs are from – own prod., BG for commercial uli meyer studio, just so stories, own prod., own prod., lion king, just so stories, own style test, hercules, own prod.

© disney enterprises, inc
© AMBLIN/universal pictures


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


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