mulan findings 8

31 08 2013

mulan early design

one of my earliest hun-attack designs, probably from 1995

© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 7

10 08 2013

the REFLECTION-song in disney’s MULAN was much longer in an early version what was storyboarded by DEAN DEBLOIS. the shorter and final version as it is in the film was boarded by CHRIS SANDERS. below are DEAN’S boards.

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© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 6

16 06 2013

during the pre-production of disney’s MULAN several amazing artists worked in the visual development team, PAUL FELIX was one of them. he always created the most stunning black+white pencil-‘paintings’, in his own style – very designed and stylized. he did not mind that I added some color to his black+white jewels, following the stylization in his drawings I wanted to test a different look in color as well. paul worked ( and still works ) after MULAN as a production designer at disney and created the most beautiful artwork for several animated feature films.

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felix mulan 3
felix mulan 2

© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 5

29 03 2013

here is some more visual development artwork for disney’s MULAN. it was done sometime early 1994 before I joined the team

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© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 4

14 02 2013

this is the color script for one of the first sequences in disney’s MULAN that went into production – the song sequence I’LL MAKE A MAN OUT OF YOU. the head of background in the florida studio BOB STANTON painted the thumbnails

mulan color script MAN

© disney enterprises, inc





big day

24 01 2013

I just found these historic color-slides hidden with 1000s others in one of my slide boxes. it was a big presentation in the disney studio that day, sometime in the fall in 1995 – the first presentation of the style designs for MULAN. we had mounted on boards some of the older paintings together with the latest look. that was as far as I remember the meeting where I was asked by some higher ranks if I could add a bit more detail to my designs, they looked too empty, the audience might think disney could not afford more elaborate backgrounds. oh well…

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mulan present.1995a
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mulan present.1995e
mulan present.1995f

© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 3

13 01 2013

mulan title+poster

you probably remember the MULAN-poster, the red-one on the left .this version was used in the US and in europe, other versions were developed for the rest of the world – here you can see 2 alternatives for asia. FRED TIO and his designers in disney publications created the designs. I remember the presentation meeting, wow, I could not believe my eyes. stunning! it could not be better! but not everybody was excited, for some of the executives the motif and the execution was not ‘disney’ enough. it was a fight. fortunately the poster was chosen and became a huge success. the cover for the follow-up vhs-cassette ( at that time there was no DVD yet ) is another story, less nice.
anyway, the dragon was from the beginning the ‘leitmotif’, I developed the first one for the emperor’s seal. for internal use I came up with a preliminary logo as header for our artwork with a more stretched dragon. that dragon made it into the final logo. for a while I was involved in the search for that logo, a typical lettering and even the title. in the very beginning it was FA-MULAN, as you can see we had several very different titles and chose the simple short ‘MULAN’ in the end. a good choice.

mulan logos

funny coincidence – I live now for 2 years here in singapore. and in one of singapore’s many parks, the chinese garden, there is a HUA MULAN ( her original name ) sculpture.

Sculpture of Hua Mulan in Chinese Garden, Singapore

© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 2

10 01 2013

before I became the official production designer for disney’s MULAN in december 1994 a small team of visual development artists had explored all different artistic directions for a possible style of that project. some of them had nearly worked on and off for 2 years on that. it was a challenge, the chinese typical painting-look was very difficult to copy for the use in animation. it still was supposed to be a disney movie but the studio wanted to come up with a story-typical style for the new projects. it had been successfully done with HERCULES, ALADDIN and LION KING where art-historic and geographic elements had been combined and ‘disneyfied’. below a few of the hundreds of paintings and sketches from that early stage of development. some more will follow

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© disney enterprises, inc





mulan findings 1

3 01 2013

you probably have made that same experience – you search for something and find tons of stuff way more interesting than what you were looking for. it took a long time since my archives has grown too big, but it was worth it. you will see a lot of it in my next posts. today I start with some of my oldest MULAN color designs, from 1995, a mushu cel set-up and a directional map with sequence numbers.

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© disney enterprises, inc





mulan historic 1

10 08 2012

as comparison here are some kind of ‘historic’ designs I did for disney’s MULAN in october 1995. starting with the very first rough black/white sketch, about postcard size, and together with my own logo for the fim, at that time after ‘the legend of fa-mulan’ as a working title ‘the legend of mulan’. the dragon survived in the final logo. then a step inbetween, a marker sketch, about 6 x 10 cm. and the final 12 field acrylic painting on cardboard. the last design in this post is the very first planned cover of the ART OF MULAN book by jeff kurtti. I like the final cover with the original powerful poster much better.






© disney enterprises, inc





regis loisel 6

22 03 2012

here is the last part of REGIS LOISEL’S visual development work for disney’s MULAN.














© disney enterprises, inc / regis loisel





special

25 12 2011

a ‘merry christmas’ to everybody who is celebrating the event. for this special occasion I want to show you a selection of designs for several animated feature films created over the past fifteen years by some of the best in their field. PAUL FELIX and a few of his many masterful pencil sketches for disney’s MULAN, as well as some of his paintings and drawings for the shelved SNOW QUEEN project. further MARCELO VIGNALI with his beautiful visuals for MULAN and CHEN-YI CHENG’S ancestor group for the ‘mushu’s awakening’ sequence in MULAN. finally two more stunning jungle action scenes for TARZAN by JOHN WATKISS, and some of the amazing layout work for BALTO created by one of the best layout artists, now animator – BOLHEM BOUCHIBA. I hope you enjoy this very special gallery of the masters – happy holidays.


















© disney enterprises, inc
© universal pictures / amblin entertainment





denis rich

5 12 2011

during the pre-production of disney’s MULAN I had a chance to work with some amazing talent. like DENIS RICH (1930 – 2007), who did visual development and storyboard work. his drawing style was very precise, with a knowledge of costume design and props. with his vast experience from numerous films he had worked on (supermann 1978, three musketeers 1993, son of the pink panther 1993, return to oz 1985, dark crystal 1982, for your eyes only 1981) he immediately understood what we needed for our film and he came up with incredible atmospheric and rich in detail scenes during the hun attack sequence. we talked once in a while about his work in the pinewood studios in england with some legendary filmmakers, he had some stories to tell. after his mulan work he went back to england and storyboarded on a lot more live action films, some were – harry potter and the order of the phoenix 2007, harry potter and the goblet of fire 2005, harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban 2004, finding neverland 2004, anna and the king 1999, the avengers 1998. below is some of his work on the hun attack in MULAN.


© disney enterprises, inc





regis loisel 5

9 10 2011

and some more of REGIS LOISEL’S visual development artwork for disney’s MULAN










© disney enterprises, inc / regis loisel





roughs 1

5 09 2011

some of my rough composition- and color-sketches for disney’s MULAN a while ago…



© disney enterprises, inc





regis loisel 4

22 08 2011

now as promised more of REGIS LOISEL’S visual development designs for disney’s MULAN






© disney enterprises, inc / regis loisel





regis loisel 1

21 07 2011

as far as I remember it was sometime in 1995 during the preproduction of MULAN when my producer at disney PAM COATS asked for my advice about possible illustrators or comic-strip artists who might be willing to work with us for a short time. the more diverse in style, the better. the first name that came to my mind was REGIS LOISEL, next to MOEBIUS one of the most influental french comic-strip artists. after his stunning four volume series LA QUETE DE L’OISEAU DU TEMPS he had started his version of PETER PAN that promised to be even better. I admired the worlds he created, beautifully designed environments as well as very unusual character-design. and – what I liked the most – he was as much away from disney as you could imagine! that’s why I did not really believe he would say yes. finally I talked to him on the phone, he tried to speak a bit english and I tried to remember all my half-forgotten french. somehow it was a good conversation because he agreed to come to L.A. for two weeks to work with us.

these two weeks I will not forget, we spent a lot of time together. next to working with him in my office I showed him L.A. and some of the neighborhood. and we had great dinners and a lot of wine. my french improved and REGIS even learned to comunicate with the other artists in english. he was the nicest guy and what an artist! anyway – we stayed in touch for a while afterwards until he moved to canada and I left disney. his series PETER PAN became a six volume MASTERPIECE. as soon as he had finished a new book he sent me a copy together with a beautiful sketch, treasures in my collection. recently I found copies of the MULAN-designs he had done during the two weeks he stayed with us and I am planning to post some of them. in a way his designs are very similar to ALEX NINO’S work, but he added a lot more story in his sketches, came up with great gags and ideas I wish we had included in our film.



© disney enterprises, inc / regis loisel





concept art 1

28 05 2011

below some concept art from disney’s MULAN, created by three masters – ALEX NINO, PAUL FELIX and MARCELO VIGNALI.











© disney enterprises, inc





december mood

1 12 2010

from the very early MULAN visual development days

© disney enterprises, inc





alex nino 9

15 11 2010

some more of ALEX NINO’S inspirational artwork for disney’s MULAN.











© disney enterprises, inc / alex nino








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