31 10 2008

manfred schatz was born in 1925 in the eastern part of germany. he became one of the most respected wildlife painters and his work is in exhibitions in numerous museums around the world. in 2004 he died near duesseldorf. The magic in manfred schatz’ paintings lies in his uncanny ability to capture movement. his brush strokes are bold and are set to canvas with a certainty that many artists never acquire. he does not lose himself in the details of the marginal things, but forces the viewer’s attention on the main motif as he proposes to express it.
when I first saw his work I thought that he is somehow connected to film design, because his paintings look like moments captured from a nature documentary. they look like they are alive, you expect the frozen movement to continue. and I felt reminded of tyrus wong’s work for BAMBI, very similar, giving you the feel of a moment. I was able to find two of manfred schatz’ books, they are long out of print. and I treasure them. to me he is the ultimate artist, a film designer and storyteller.

up in the sky…

31 10 2008

the animated SUPERMAN series were produced by the
FLEISCHER studios in florida, 17 shorts, from sept.1941
until july 1943. they are unusually well done, really well
developed stories for mini-8min-features. some of the
animation is not bad, some of the backgrounds as well.
but what I like the most about them is their staging, the 
editing. very nice character compositions and camera-
angles. a very well translated comic strip series into
animation. and we all know how difficult that is!
the above recreated beautiful pan is from the 1942

you can see in these few scenes from the first 4 SUPERMAN
shorts how well planned they were. camera angles borrowed
from live-action films, dramatic staging supported by the 
right light and dark values, as well as a tasteful choice of color,
all that created interesting short adventures. these films are so
well timed, the stories edited so well that you forgive the not
top standard animation. it is good entertainment and compared 
to most of the crap my eyes are suffering from today – pure gold!

© paramount


29 10 2008

– once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was a place called pepperland… that’s how one of the most unusual feature films ever produced began. YELLOW SUBMARINE – 1967. produced by GEORGE DUNNING’s british TV-CARTOONS studio. everything in this film is different, the story is completely crazy, the style of the characters and the settings are pop-art and never seen before, and the music of course – THE BEATLES, pop-music, never used in an animated feature film before.
I just had started my studies at the university and the film blew me away. HEINZ EDELMANN, a german top illustrator and designer was responsible for the look. you have to see it yourself. IT IS A MASTERPIECE. so unique with unusual visual ideas, crazy animation, perfect translation of the music into pictures. as far as I remember it changed everything at least in europe in the animation field. but as well in commercial art and illustration. and it opened the doors for a lot more musical adventures afterwards. one of them was PINK FLOYD’s – THE WALL. I will post some of that masterpiece later.
I only wanted to show you some of the atmosphere of YELLOW SUBMARINE in these few screen-captures. I guess somewhere a lot of that artwork still exists. so no need to restore some of it. and – I would not know where to start! what a movie!

© United Artists/King Features Syndicate


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


26 10 2008

these are some of my sketches I did during WALT STANCHFIELD’s gesture drawing classes. it’s incredible how big the interest from your side is in these lectures. can’t wait myself until the book will be on the market…

historic CG

25 10 2008

in the upper groupshot you see the very small visual development team that worked in 1989 on disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. the picture below shows jean gilmore, mel shaw, daan jippes and don hahn discussing some designs during the same time.
CG in those ‘ancient’ days was in the very beginning. disney had done some scenes in OLIVER AND COMPANY and THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE in CG, tina price and randy cartright had worked on that. but in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST don hahn, the producer, wanted to go a step further – add textures to the CG-environment and make it look more realistic. in the final version of the film the ballroom sequence is done that way. that came much later. in the beginning a longer scene was planned that showed a pretty complex cameramove starting with beauty entering her room in the castle, following her sitting on the bed and then moving behind her towards the mirror, where she looks at herself and the whole room mirrored in it. the whole camera move was done in wireframe, I remember it looked very impressive. then andreas deja animated the keyposes of beauty for the whole move. I wonder if some of that stuff is left somewhere.
they gave me three key-frames of the camera move, I choose two and painted them with felt pen and gouache. unfortunately the originals have ‘disappeared’, so what you see here are some bad quality xerox copies. the next planned step was to hire someone with a lot of patience and some great painting skills to paint every single surface flat following my color-designs. I remember, that was where the experiment stopped. it might have been a bit too work-intense and costly. times have changed – today it would be a fun job for a weekend.


22 10 2008

here some official definitions of the color –
red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye. longer wavelengths than this are called infrared, or below red and cannot be seen by the naked human eye. red is used as one of the additive primary colors of light, complementary to cyan, in RGB color systems.
red is hot. it’s a strong color that conjures up a range of seemingly conflicting emotions from passionate love to violence and warfare. red is cupid and the devil. red is power, hence the red power tie for business people and the red carpet for celebrities and VIPs. flashing red lights denote danger or emergency. stop signs and stop lights are red to get the drivers’ attention and alert them to the dangers of the intersection.
in some cultures, red denotes purity, joy, and celebration. red is the color of happiness and prosperity in china and may be used to attract good luck. red is often the color worn by brides in the east while it is the color of mourning in south africa. in russia the bolsheviks used a red flag when they overthrew the tsar, thus red became associated with communism. many national flags use red.

I designed them for – disney’s LION KING, a manila environment project, a shelved disney short I AM from 1999, an early logo design for elton john’s broadway musical AIDA, a stage design, disney’s HERCULES ( with gay/ventura ), one more LION KING, the same manila project and another I AM.

© disney enterprises, inc