doodle 1.1

19 02 2014

DCF 1.0





poetic simplicity

25 07 2013

style header

self-taught artist QIN TIANZHU was born in 1952 in chengdu city, sichuan province, china. he is now a member of the chinese artist asssociation and a professional artist in sichuan poetry and calligraphy. QIN has created a unique artistic style with beautiful compositions and classic coloring that won him awards in china and japan. his brushstrokes look so effortless thrown on paper and his stylized birds are just stunning. during my time on MULAN the definition of POETIC SIMPLICITY was created, – here is an artist whose artwork truly belongs in that category, more than anybody else.

1 QIN TIANZHU 552
QIN TIANZHU 882
QIN TIANZHU 551
QIN TIANZHU 992
QIN TIANZHU 7199
QIN TIANZHU 8854
QIN TIANZHU 0661
QIN TIANZHU 332
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© QIN TIANZHU





showdown

22 11 2012

warner brothers restaured some of the FLEISCHER SUPERMAN-SHORTS and posted them on YouTube. on cartoon brew you can read more about it. the shorts look like brandnew and inspired me to recreate one pan-background, more will follow. I chose a pan to start with from the SUPERMAN short SHOWDOWN, released october 1942. it shows a beautifully watercolor-painted apartment at night, with different lightsources from a fireplace, lamps and moonlight. have a look below

© fleischer studios





snow white BG’s 3

15 07 2012

a few more recreated backgrounds from disney’s SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS








© disney enterprises, inc





clean

22 06 2012

to show you a better example of a long panning background from an animated short – here is a recreated BG from disney’s CLOCK CLEANERS. directed by BEN SHARPSTEEN it was released october 15, 1937. the painting technique here is watercolor, what means that you get the darker tones by applying dozens of layers of kind of dirty water on top of each other. the same painting technique was later used in most of the first feature films as well. many years later disney traditional painters copied the same technique to create the beautiful BG’s for LILO AND STITCH. it takes a lot of training to paint like that, but the results in case you master the technique are stunning. the technique the woody woodpecker BG-artist used was different. he painted with gouache color, but he tried to make it look like watercolor. unfortunately the wrong way, by adding more water to the gouache color you can make it look transparent. apparently some painters at that time tried that, avoiding the time-consuming addition of dozens of layers, and just do it in one. if you don’t really know what you are doing, like adjusting the colors and values very careful, and control your brushstrokes, it looks like a disaster.

© disney enterprises, inc





snow white BG’s 2

8 08 2011

a few more recreated backgrounds from disney’s SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS






© disney enterprises, inc





snow white BG’s 1

2 08 2011

recently I watched disney’s SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS again and decided to recreate some more backgrounds. I just can’t get enough of these watercolor masterpieces – see yourself.




© disney enterprises, inc





mirko hanak 4

3 05 2011

MIRKO HANAK created these beautiful watercolors in the late sixties for a calendar.













© mirko hanak





the orientalists

17 01 2011

after NAPOLEON had invaded egypt with his army in 1798 and was driven out by the british after one year, a lot of artists followed, writers and painters – to become well known as the ORIENTALISTS. the movement lasted about a century and many of them were pretty famous. some of the painters specialized in landscapes, archeology or in people, others in biblical or historical themes. but one thing they all had in common – the experience changed their lives, the journey affected these artists deeply.
I was introduced to the ORIENTALIST-painters when I worked on disney’s ALADDIN and was searching for reference of the middle east. following is a small selection of watercolors from four wellknown painters – CHARLES ROBERTSON, 1844-1891, cairo – WILLIAM WYLD, 1806-1889, algier harbour – AUGUSTUS OSBORNE LAMPLOUGH, 1877-1930, nile – CARL HAAG, 1820-1915, cairo.
the next post will be about the tales from this area.








mirko hanak 3

30 12 2010

some more of MIRKO HANAK’S beautiful watercolors










© mirko hanak





wildlife art

28 12 2010


in the early nineties I saw on english-tv a documentary about a german wildlife artist, WOLFGANG WEBER. a camera team followed him around the globe, through jungle, desert and even under water – and everywhere this artist created the most stunning sketches of all the animals around him, frozen in one instant moment. I could not believe my eyes, – the shortest movements captured like in a photograph, but so much better in these rough but precise drawings. later, the film documented at WEBER’S home in germany in a few steps the creation of the most beautiful watercolors, using the hundreds of sketches he had done during his trips.

a few years later german-tv had part 2 of that documentary, WEBER sketching wildlife around the world. incredible! only much later through research on the internet I learned that WOLFGANG WEBER is one of the greatest living masters of wildlife art, his work exhibited around the world. he was born in 1936 in koblenz, germany, and studied art under OSCAR KOKOSCHKA in mainz. another influence was well-known wildlife artist WILHELM KUHNERT. WEBER’S success as an artist is the outcome of a great love for the animal kingdom which has inspired him to travel to many of the most remote corners of the earth in search of rare species. with his rare ability to concentrate on the depiction of a split-second movement he is able to observe, capture and record.




the pictures in this post are screen captures from one of the tv-documentaries and otherwise collected on the internet. all artwork © wolfgang weber





mirko hanak 2

13 12 2010

some more of MIRKO HANAK’S beautiful watercolors…















© mirko hanak





mirko hanak 1

12 12 2010

MIRKO HANAK, another master-illustrator from the czech republik, was born in 1921 in prague. his amazing watercolors are a cross between chinese traditional watercolors, the minimalist japanese painting-style and the czech rich culture in illustration. hanak was famous for his distinctive illustrations with natural themes, portraying life of plants and animals with broad watercolor strokes mixed with beautifully balanced finer brushwork on rice paper, all that in stunning compositions and colors full of life. his work includes children books like BAMBI as well as exquisite stamp-designs. he died at the height of his career in 1971 from leukemia.












© mirko hanak





alley

4 11 2010

one of the numerous longer pan-backgrounds for the AMBLIMATION/UNIVERSAL production WE’RE BACK! A DINOSAUR’S STORY, released 1993. DANIEL CACOUAULT, who did hundreds of BG-keys for the macy’s parade, painted this beautiful watercolor piece.

© amblin/universal pictures





farmyard symphony 1

27 10 2010

the following recreated longer pans are from disney’s 1938 released SILLY SYMPHONY – FARMYARD SYMPHONY. I am sure you will understand why this beautiful little film is one of my favorites, when you study the backgrounds. they are simple, clear designed, no overloaded detail and like most films at that time beautifully painted in faded watercolors. like, what I thought MULAN should look like – POETIC.






© disney enterprises, inc





early bird

22 07 2010

the recreated backgrounds are from the 1942 MGM short THE EARLY BIRD DOOD IT. it was the second cartoon TEX AVERY directed at MGM, animated by IRV SPENCE, PRESTON BLAIR, ED LOVE and RAY ABRAMS.




it is very interesting to compare the backgrounds of the different studios around that time. the recreated pan below is from disney’s THE PRACTICAL PIG, released three years earlier in 1939. painted in the same watercolor technique typical for that time, the backgrounds reveal big differences in painting skills as well as in layout composition and more sophisticated camera moves. the entertainment value though is much higher in the AVERY-shorts ( in my opinion ).

© MGM
© disney enterprises, inc





sir william russell flint

16 07 2010

SIR WILLIAM RUSSELL FLINT, 1880 – 1969, is probably one of the best known english watercolor artists. in the early 1900s he illustrated for the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, following were book-illustrations like SOLOMON’S SONG OF SONGS and a four volume edition LE MORTE D’ARTHUR. in his later work he concentrated on oriental themes. besides his beautiful watercolors he was a passionate drawing artist and published several books with studies and sketches that reveal his love for art and stunning models. he was member of the royal academy, president of the royal watercolor society and was knighted in 1947. below is a small selection of some of his watercolors.








© sir william russell flint





ugly duckling 3

19 04 2010

the last of the recreated backgrounds from the disney SILLY SYMPHONY – THE UGLY DUCKLING.





© disney enterprises, inc





ugly duckling 2

7 04 2010

four more recreated backgrounds from disney’s UGLY DUCKLING




© disney enterprises, inc





ugly duckling 1

2 04 2010

the april 7, 1939, released disney SILLY SYMPHONYTHE UGLY DUCKLING, directed by JACK CUTTING, was a remake of a 1931 black/white SILLY SYMPHONY. only eight years apart the second version is a masterpiece in animation and styling. it is the last of the silly symphonies, musical shorts without dialogue, that showed how much the artists in the studio improved during these few years. there were big changes in the production leading towards disney’s first animated feature film SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, especially the start of an effects department, responsible for all the visual effects like water-drops, rain, snow, water-ripples, fire, smoke and so on. they were done in the earlier years by the character animators themselves. the MULTIPLANE-camera was developed by UB IWERKS, that made backgrounds with much more depth possible. and the water-effects with reflections as well, as can be seen in THE UGLY DUCKLING. the background painters with their multi-layer watercolor technique were at the height of their craft, as were the animators in their field. everything looks so easy in this short, because it was a team of MASTERS, animation film-making at it’s best. but – WWII started and this incredible development slowed down, then nearly came to a stop.
as I mentioned in some earlier posts, there are not too many backgrounds left from that ‘golden era’. in this case, THE UGLY DUCKLING, I remember I saw only two in the disney-archives ARL. I started to recreate whatever is possible from this film. fortunately I found a very good quality print on a french DVD-release. but it is still a challenge and time consuming. it is not just stitching the different ‘mosaic’ pieces together, a lot has to be added, painted the same way the background was painted. following are the first in a series.


© disney enterprises, inc
… HAPPY EASTER …








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