some favorites

30 12 2008

the artwork below was created by some of my favorite artists. PER AHLIN is a swedish artist and animation director. one of his films, a mixed live action/animation film, is DUNDERKLUMPEN, sweden 1974. HEINZ EDELMANN, a german illustrator and designer, is probably best known for his production design for THE YELLOW SUBMARINE, great britain 1968. THE BOY AND THE MAGIC is a children book illustrated by the english artist GERARD HOFFNUNG, 1925 – 1959. he became famous with his HOFFNUNG’S SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, later animated by HALAS & BATCHELOR. another scandinavian master-illustrator was KAY NIELSEN, denmark 1886 – 1957. he only worked for about a year at disney until 1940. but his work influenced the look of THE NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN in FANTASIA. his many children book illustrations are masterpieces, next to EDMUND DULAC, ARTHUR RACKHAM and GUSTAF TENGGREN he is one of the greats in book illustration. another giant was JIRI TRNKA, 1912 – 1969, the czech illustrator, animator and puppet animation director. A MIDSUMMERNIGHTS DREAM and PRINCE BAJAJA are some of his most famous films. not too much is known about german illustrator DIETER LANGE. he worked for the magazine STERN and the children magazine STERNCHEN since the mid fifties. I collected probably all his illustrations and treasure that rare collection. the last artist is swedish GUSTAF TENGGREN, 1896 – 1970. he as well worked for a short time at disney, 1936 – 1940, and styled SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, PINOCCHIO and several SILLY SYMPHONIES.










© per ahlin, heinz edelmann+WDR, gerard hoffnung, kay nielsen, jiri trnka, dieter lange+STERN, gustaf tenggren


rien poortvliet

29 12 2008

a while ago I recommended MANFRED SCHATZ because of his beautiful nature paintings. today I want to show you some of the artwork of another master nature painter, dutch artist RIEN POORTVLIET, 1932 – 1995. early he worked in a major advertising agency. but on the side he published several books about nature themes. internationally he is probably best known for his book GNOMES. in case you want to see more, go to this website.





© rien poortvliet

milkweed ballerinas

28 12 2008

again some more recreated artwork from disney’s FANTASIA, from the NUTCRACKER SUITE segment. when you watch that part you are overwhelmed with the animation, the colors, the flow of the moving camera, all the animated effects, the music. I always found it difficult myself looking at this masterpiece and trying to analyze it at the same time. it was impossible. the only way it works now is with today’s technology, studying the top quality DVD release singleframewise. and finally, after I was able to recreate the amazing cameramoves and had removed the animation, I could sit stunned in front of the pure background paintings. believe me, my respect is too big to make the animation look less important. when I worked in the disney studio, I had a chance to flip through a lot of stacks of original animation. all of it is still stored in the ANIMATION RESEARCH LIBRARY. but nearly 90% of all the background-art doesn’t exist anymore, – earlier I explained why. another reason for me to concentrate on that is, I design these worlds myself and love to paint backgrounds.





© disney enterprises, inc

as every year

19 12 2008



19 12 2008

it’s the last weekend before christmas, time for another beautiful piece of ‘lost art’. again this recreated N/S-3-level pan comes from disney’s FANTASIA – NUTCRACKER SUITE. I removed a lot of animated falling leaves. they were covering most of the background, and in the end I was surprised to find this amazing watercolor composition below.


© disney enterprises, inc

mice + shoes

18 12 2008


disney’s CINDERELLA, released march 1950. this beautiful illustration was used for the opening of the film, it feels like the romantic background for an operetta. CINDERELLA was the first animated feature film after a long period of time, after BAMBI. during the wartime the studio had to improvise with short-compilations. as a new start they choose a classical fairy tale like SNOW WHITE before. the choice was a good one, it became the biggest box office hit for disney in years.

© disney enterprises, inc

dance of the flowers

15 12 2008

more from disney’s FANTASIA, recreated backgrounds from the NUTCRACKER sequence. it looks like they used colored charcoal paintings for the opening of that part, you can clearly see the cardboard texture. besides that I had a chance to buy an original sketch years ago in an auction. the charcoal artwork was done on black cardboard, then combined with extensive effects animation. as I mentioned it before – my favorite part in the film.









© disney enterprises, inc

december mood

12 12 2008



12 12 2008


this is the new blog I just started, – in case you are interested in photography – click here

my friend jenny

10 12 2008


just found in my notes from 1994 a funny story JOE GRANT and BERNIE MATHINSON told me. it must have been in the fifties, bernie’s wife had read PAUL GALLICO’S story MY FRIEND JENNY. she liked it a lot and recommended it to FRANCK THOMAS, OLLIE JOHNSTON and MILT KAHL, three of the top animators in the disney studio. the three of them recommended the story to WALT himself, result – disney bought the rights!
immediately they started thinking about an animated version. the disneyland TV show was very big in those days, so, they thought to introduce the story in one of the shows. BILL PEET, top story man, got the job to prepare the show – CATS -.
walt was supposed to do the introduction and he had to have a real cat next to him – of course. bill peet brought his own cat. she apparently didn’t like walt and bit him.
that was the end of cat-movies in the studio. until – ARISTOCATS. and that didn’t do well!
the reason we talked about it was, that nothing ever changed. executives of more recent times had their problems with certain animals and reacted the same way.


9 12 2008

I studied graphic design at the FOLKWANG SCHOOL in ESSEN, germany. the school was the follow-up school of the BAUHAUS-school in weimar and dessau in the twenties of the last century. a lot of my professors had been taught by bauhaus teachers. and they wanted the tradition to continue. in a way the school was structured like CAL ARTS today, all artistic disciplines under one roof, the roof of a former monastery from the 15. century. very atmospheric. so – we had ballet, the dramatic arts ( theatre ), music and design. design again was divided into – graphic design, industrial design, textile design, painting, printing, sculpture and photography. only animation was missing, I introduced that when I started to teach there. the photography professor was OTTO STEINERT, very famous in those days. many of my friends were in the photography class, a lot of them are now pretty well known and members of national geographic and magnum. I got to see what they were doing and that’s how my interest in photography grew. soon I found out that you can paint with your camera as well. later, when I had started to work for disney I was able to create my own reference photo archives. like for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST hundreds of photos of european forests in all seasons, castles, old villages and weather situations. I love photography at least as much as drawing. probably soon I am gonna start another blog where I can publish some of the pictures.


blog + book

7 12 2008

only about three months ago on sept.12 I started this new blog. so far there were as of now 50.110 hits, that is incredible! I wanna thank everybody for your big interest!
as some of you might know, one year ago on dec.7 2007 the english version of my book DREAM WORLDS was published by FOCAL PRESS. so far I think it is the second printing. the japanese edition came out earlier, around the end of 2006 – the paper is nicer, the print quality better and the price three times as much. here is the cover of the english version…


now I am working on the next book about composition and color, maybe I will have it ready for publication next christmas. the cover could look like this…


thank you again – in case you want to comment on the books or the blog and send me an e-mail, please do…

saturday sketches

6 12 2008











© b i l d e r f a b r i k


5 12 2008

wanna show you some of the inspiration I put together for myself today, some more modern artists. below is some of their amazing artwork –
GINO SEVERINI 1883 – 1966
GEORGIA O’KEEFE 1887 – 1986


fun and fancy

5 12 2008


1947 – disney’s FUN AND FANCY FREE. there are two longer segments in this compilation – BONGO and MICKEY AND THE BEANSTALK. the fascinating N/S pan BG above simulates a camera move from an extreme up-shot to an extreme downshot. the layout itself is a masterpiece, not to talk about the animation of the giant climbing down the beanstalk, chasing after mickey mouse.

© disney enterprises, inc

…more boring

4 12 2008


there are some art-analysts who read a lot into a painting, with amazing formulas, geometric constructions and so on. I don’t want to go that far with my interpretation. in my new book I try to explain with clearly visible proof how some classic artpieces were built, try to analyse the rules and make it easier to understand them and use them. like in the following example…


interesting as well is to find out how the artist translated a story. some paintings give you a lot of information and some of it is displayed very subtle. there was no film-entertainment a few hundred years ago, so people enjoyed the stories hidden in these ‘frozen images’.


more variety

4 12 2008











© disney enterprises, inc
© bilderfabrik


3 12 2008

I thought I give everybody, who might be interested, a short update about my new book – COMPOSITION and COLOR. as you can see in the following images, it will be pretty boring – just some ancient stuff. way back then they painted it with real color! and actually they thought about it first before they started to use that real color. amazing what you can find out about the secrets behind composing a good image…






1. joseph wright, 1766 – a philosopher giving that lecture in which a lamp is put in place of the sun
2. delaroche 1843 – herodias
3. giovanni battista salvi, 1609 – 1685 – madonna at prayer
4. jan vermeer, 1668 – the geographer
5. jean auguste dominique ingres, 1848 – venus anadyomene

10.000 bc

3 12 2008


you have probably seen some of the cave paintings of LASCEAUX or some of the other caves. it’s hard to imagine that these beautiful abstract erliest pieces of art are 10.000 to 15.000 years old. working on disney’s BROTHER BEAR I tried to design some animals in the ‘cave’ style. as far as I remember there were ideas of animating them in the transformation sequence.




© disney enterprises, inc
© caves of lasceaux


3 12 2008

disney’s FANTASIA premiered november 1940. since I saw this film for the first time when I was a student I was fascinated especially by one segment, the NUTCRACKER SUITE. there were the most complicated multiplane cameramoves with amazing effects animation. for years I was hoping to be able to see these backgrounds in their full size. since there is nothing left in the disney archives, except some very few pieces, I started with the recreation of some of the pans. the compositing is quite complicated because of all the different levels moving with different speeds, not to talk about all the animation on top. there will be a lot more…


© disney enterprises, inc

The Hidden History of Oz

Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

The Hidden History of Oz

Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World is the best place for your personal blog or business site.