a lot more edelmann

2 03 2012

from the eighties some more illustrations created by one of my favorites, an amazing illustrator, designer, typography and layout artist as well as animation production designer – HEINZ EDELMANN.

© heinz edelmann / WDR / manager magazin

comparison 7

1 01 2012

here we go – another year. hopefully a good one, – I doubt it – too many dark clouds on the horizon! anyway, I want to start the BLOG-year with some beautiful artwork, already over fifty years old but for me better than most of the film-design artwork I see today. the disney animated feature film 101 DALMATIANS was released january 25, 1961, the first of the disney films that had a very different style. the animation was xeroxed and showed for the first time most of the original drawings of the animators. the corresponding backgrounds matched the loose lines of the animation perfect, the background details in line were xeroxed as well and the cels placed over the slightly offset gouache colored backgrounds. stylistically a masterpiece. following are a few layout drawings with the recreated backgrounds.

© disney enterprises, inc

through the clouds

29 07 2011

since I saw disney’s PETER PAN for the first time I was fascinated by one extremely long scene – the flight over london and through the clouds. I was convinced that it was a very complicated multiplane arrangement. the combination of character-animation and camera-moves was never explained in any publication about the film. the whole scene is very well planned with the characters moving from far away to extreme close-ups, they turn around their axes and – to make it even more confusing, the camera moves tilted in and out of the background, towards the end apparently with several cloud-layers, below and on top of the characters. stunning!

well, I found an early layout sketch that showed me the basic planning. then I did what I have done so far with over 600 backgrounds, – patch the single screencaptured puzzle pieces of the whole scene together. in this case I have to admit, it was the most complicated ‘reconstruction’ I ever did. the characters were all over the place, covering a lot of detail in the BG, the camera was constantly moving in and out and tilting… it took a while! but it was worth it – now I can see the genius-work in the planning, what an incredible idea!

and – it is not multiplane. patching it all together I noticed that. and – when you look at the scene you understand why multiplane was no option anyway, with all the moving shadows of the flying characters on top of the clouds and all that on focus. impossible in a multi-layered scene. the simple solution – the clouds were airbrushed on different cels and then moved in different speeds. only in the last seconds of the scene, where the camera moves in close to the star, one cloud-level is multiplane. the difference in that case was, the camera was trucking in and a 3-D effect was only possible with an extra cloud-layer.

you can see below the final re-created BG as well as the whole piece with added camera-fields to indicate the camera moves + corresponding screencaptures. and – the whole extremely long BG in 4 pieces in higher resolution.

© disney enterprises, inc

NOTE on july 31, 2011 -
please be so kind and read the comments about this post below. I have to correct myself – it is a multiplane-scene. the precise movement of every single level in the multiplane camera had to be planned in advance anyway. the shadows were just connected to each of the cloudlevels where they had to appear. the animation was done according to the layout of each cloudlevel and was laid as a cel-overlay on top of each them. a little bit complicated in the planning stage, but the same department had managed more complicated assignments, like the truck through about 12 levels with animation in pinocchio ( the daybreak sequence ). sorry for all the confusion, for me the scene is a masterpiece anyway and I guess that the recreation and discussion about this lost jewel helps to understand the inventive filmmaking of the past.

masterdrawings 1

18 07 2011

three stylistically very different disney animated feature films and three layout-drawings created by masters. THE BLACK CAULDRON is not necessarily one of my favorite films, but it had some interesting preproduction artwork and some amazing layouts, like the first one below from around 1983, drawn by MIKE HODGSON. the next pan, drawn by the head of layout himself – DON GRIFFITH -, is from 101 DALMATIANS, around 1960. I wrote before about the RONALD SEARLE influenced style that KEN ANDERSEN had developed. and the last stunning pencil-‘painting’ was created by TOM CODRICK for BAMBI, around 1941/42. it is the 2.level of a multiplane set-up with another foreground and a BG-level below.

© disney enterprises, inc


8 12 2010

I always wanted to somehow recreate the final background after I had seen the reproduced layout in ROBERT D.FEILD’S 1940 published book THE ART OF WALT DISNEY. it took me a while and was quite complicated, but now you can see it below – the mentioned page from the book and the recreated extreme long pan-background from disney’s november 1940 released FANTASIA ( DANCE OF THE HOURS ).

© disney enterprises, inc


7 12 2010

a few posts ago I showed a MAC GEORGE layout from the shelved disney production WILD LIFE. here is some more, first MAC GEORGE’S designs of the sewer underworld. he started with broad shapes roughly sketched with pencil, then refining these ideas more and more with felt pen in dozens of new sheets of big size paper. the sketches he didn’t like were discarded everywhere in his small room. most of the time it was impossible to enter the room because of all the trashed paper everywhere. well, out of that chaos came some incredible artwork. sometimes I gave him sketches I had done like the studio-equipment, he went over it dozens of time until he was happy and finally they belonged to the stylistic WILD LIFE world. there are three more of my sketches, the zoo, central-square with the villain magda’s headquarter and two pieces of framed kitty-artwork in her apartment.

© disney enterprises, inc


2 12 2010

MAC GEORGE, one of the best layout artists I worked with, created this stunning panorama layout of KITTY’S loft apartment in disney’s shelved production WILD LIFE.

© disney enterprises, inc

farmyard symphony 2

9 11 2010

during the production of disney’s MULAN I always had an inspiration-folder with me, a collection of illustrations, layouts and backgrounds from all different sources. one major part was from a disney 1938 SILLY SYMPHONY - FARMYARD SYMPHONY. the style of the layout drawings was interesting, the way the wooden posts, the grass and straw, the cottages were translated. thicker, rounded shapes that made them look like woodcut toys and reminded me a bit of the romantic 1900s LUDWIG RICHTER woodcut illustrations. there was no overloaded detail in these layouts, just where it was needed. and the same simplicity was so well copied and even enhanced in the soft watercolor backgrounds. the colors were earthy and subdued, and the light created an early morning mood. just in total a perfect balance with the characters reading clearly on that stage. I am still in awe whenever I look at these masterpieces created over seventy years ago.

© disney enterprises, inc

comparison 6

26 08 2010

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.

© disney enterprises, inc

comparison 5

14 08 2010

some more layouts and the recreated corresponding backgrounds from disney’s BAMBI and 101 DALMATIANS.

© disney enterprises, inc

comparison 3

17 07 2010

here are some more layouts and final backgrounds to compare, from the disney animated feature films – BAMBI ( 1942 ), MELODY TIME – ONCE UPON A WINTERTIME ( 1948 ) and 101 DALMATIANS ( 1961 ). as usual it is very interesting to compare the changing styles as well, in layout and in background.

© disney enterprises, inc

comparison 2

27 04 2010

in case of disney’s BAMBI preproduction work started in 1936, the film was finally released august 1942. that is six years. I worked on MULAN for five years, so I know what it means to be connected to just one film for such a long time. you prepare thousands of sketches, the style has to be developed, what means, the look constantly changes in the first years. the story changes as well, sometimes so drastically that you don’t even recognize the very first ideas. I went through that in WILD LIFE and FRAIDY CAT. it happened in BAMBI’S case as well. but for different reasons. it was a time when the disney studio prepared for the very first animated feature film – SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. nobody knew if it would work, if the audience would accept a hand-drawn film of that length. if the story and the characters were believable enough, if the artists were good enough to do it. training started in the studio, the artists went to school. you can see how much they improved when you look at the shorts they produced during that time. masterpieces! but BAMBI was a challenge. a world had to be created that was believable. a world that could not be cartoony, in big parts the film was too serious for that. but they realized very early that it could not be too realistic as well. it is very interesting when you look at the first designs of the forest-world, especially GUSTAF TENGGREN’S designs. they look beautiful, like his PINOCCHIO-illustrations. in PINOCCHIO it was ok to draw all the details of a european little village, in BAMBI it didn’t work. the thousands of leaves made the background look so busy that the characters got lost. well, as you might know, TYRUS WONG changed that with the chinese-style influenced designs he came up with. beautiful soft watercolor and pastel sketches, where you could feel the forest without every single leaf painted. in the following pages you can compare the early value sketches and layouts with the final look in the film. sometimes the little soft pencil thumbnails look even more convincing than the elaborate oil-painted background.

© disney enterprises, inc


5 04 2010

the layouts and final backgrounds below are from disney’s PINOCCHIO.

© disney enterprises, inc

officer duck

5 03 2010

the captured images, recreated pans and layouts are from the ‘golden era of animation’, from disney’s DONALD DUCK short OFFICER DUCK. released october 1939, directed by CLYDE GERONIMI. the layouts are some of the most beautiful I have seen so far.

© disney enterprises, inc


16 09 2008

this is a recreated background with the corresponding layout for one of my favorite disney shorts – MICKEY’S TRAILER, 1938. the layouts were drawn by a master, I have seen the originals in the disney archives, incredible – flawless. he did the layouts for GOOD SCOUTS too, 1938 as well. and a few more, will check in my archives. never found out his name, unfortunately the layouts for the shorts were not signed. maybe someone out there has an idea…

© disney enterprises, inc


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