14 11 2008

these color-corrected screengrabs are from the
1942 WEATHER-BEATEN MELODY and the 1943
THE SNOWMAN short films, both produced during
the wartime in germany by HANS FISCHERKOESEN and his studio.
considering the circumstances and the very limited
resources I think these films are masterpieces.
in the late seventies I met fischerkoesen’s son. he
was still running his father’s animation studio near
bonn right next to the river rhine, where some of the
best animated commercials were produced in the
fifties and sixties. he remembered the difficult war time
when they produced the 3-dimensional settings for
DIE VERWITTERTE MELODIE ( weather-beaten melody )
in an animation studio in prague with mostly tchech.
if you are interested you can see the shorts on 
YOU TUBE and there are several articles about this
german animation pioneer as well on the internet.



© fischerkoesen


11 11 2008

july 1994 I started my 9 years at the disney studio, first in glendale – later that year we all moved into the new built studio in burbank on riverside, the building with the sorcerer’s apprentice hat in front. they wanted me to do designs on 5 different projects, at the same time. HERCULES was the first, andy gaskil was the assigned art director and already working on the visuals. then two pieces for the planned FANTASIA 2000 compilation – LITTLE TIN SOLDIER and BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH -, and two very interesting new projects, MULAN – at that time titled FAMULAN, and DINOSAUR, the first disney cg-movie. it was a very interesting 5 months until I was asked to do the production design on MULAN in dec.1994. kind of challenging, not to mix all these very different styles up. here are some of the HERCULES sketches…


© disney enterprises, inc


7 11 2008

well, looking at the extremely depressing financial crisis around the globe, and – hours away from a ( at least for me ) historical weekend, I thought, maybe a bit of color wouldn’t be too bad, actually a lot of c o l o r . maybe I mentioned it before, my dream was – to become a stage designer for the theatre. for operas, musicals, ballet and serious theatre – like goethe, shakespierre, sartre and whatever. that started before I even began my studies. but – I changed my mind, for all different reasons. and over the years, finally, I became a stage designer – kind of, for the animation stage. but the dream ist still there…
that’s why, once in a while, just dreaming, I do some ‘stage’ designs. following I’m gonna post the more colorful ones.







7 11 2008

in my last post I wrote about inspiration and excitement. when I look at artwork like the following three simple pencilsketches for disney’s BAMBI, I get excited. the first time I saw artwork like that I was so depressed, because I was pretty sure I would never reach that artistic level. that still happens once in a while to me today, maybe it is normal. but at the same time it is the start of a process, to develop the right amount of energy to go through all the painful steps of a learning period. and the more excitement you develop the less painful it will be, it will be fun. the tiniest successful results will catapult you forward with lightspeed. and the more you learn the wider your eyes are open to appreciate what the world of art is offering you.
the pencil sketches following are called ‘tonals’. they were supposed to show the background painter the dark and light values in the scene. tonals had to be done extra because dark areas would have made it impossible to give the painter precise linear information. the sizes of these tonals varied, I have seen stampsize sketches, sometimes even framed with black cardboard. over the years from BALTO to MULAN I have seen a wide variety of tonals. but none of them came close to the ones that were created for BAMBI so many years ago.




© disney enterprises, inc


6 11 2008

on my lecture trips over here in asia I have a chance to meet and talk to a lot of students. what you wanna know of course is, what inspires them, who are their favorite artists. maybe there is someone
they admire and want to do something similar in their future. what is kind of depressing that I very rare get a clear answer. only very few have a raw model they wanna follow. even worse, only a few are even informed about successful artists in the animation field. the most I hear is – we love anime. well… I don’t know what is going wrong, do I meet the wrong people? I would expect with all the information you can get through the internet there is a bit more enthusiasm.
following I have collected some designs of the artists who inspired me when I was a student. ‘giants’ like EYVIND EARLE, KEN ANDERSON, WALT PEREGOY, JOHN HUBLEY, a lot of artists from ZAGREB FILM STUDIO, JIRI TRNKA, TERRY GILLIAM + MONTHY PYTHON, comic strip legends like ANDREE FRANQUIN, MORT DRUCKER, ALBERT UDERZO and HUGO PRATT, – and a german comic series MECKY.

















4 11 2008

another multi-level
pan up through
layers of foliage.
all the leaves in
the foreground
finally open the
view up into the
clouds and the
starting rain.
an amazing
recreated pan from disney’s
BAMBI again. below you see the layout drawing for the starting position of this shot. when you see these pencil drawings you don’t know what is more beautiful – the final painting or this incredible masterful drawing.



© disney enterprises, inc


4 11 2008

THREE CABALLEROS, disney – febr.1945. in this scene the camera pans down in a curve, following two pidgeons flying around the palmtree
and finally settling down on the curved wall, mirroring in the water.
the only reason I removed the birds was to show
the full BG, not because I don’t like the animation.
again, the composition of the different screen-grabs
was difficult, because of the different speeds of the
foreground and backgrounds in the distance, and -
because additionally the camera is tracking in towards
the end, I had to resize everything.
this beautiful scene would have never looked like this in the originals, 
because all the different levels had to be painted on glass, for the use 
in the multiplane-camera. foreground smaller and closer to the camera,
the distant backgrounds bigger and further away. the mirroring image 
in the water was painted on a completely extra level even further down. 
the area of the water was left open in the tree- and wall-BG.
inbetween that level and the mirrored waterpainting was a distorted 
glass-level, a glass specially produced by a german glass factory in the 
late thirties. it looked like a glass with lots of bubbles in all different
sizes. by moving this glass sideways the water-illusion was achieved. when I visited the multiplane-camera department in 1979 there was only one glass left, it was about 30 cm by 120 cm. all the others were
broken. it looked like a very delicate optical piece.
today it is way simpler with all the effects you can
get in photoshop!