26 02 2009

I will be in singapore for lectures until march 10. there might be no time for posts during that time, – will see. I will be at NANYANG university and at LUCAS-film. so maybe I will be able to meet some of you…




25 02 2009

maybe I mentioned it in one of the earlier posts, I got the idea for my book DREAM WORLDS, PRODUCTION DESIGN IN ANIMATION, when I saw that my MULAN-styleguide had been copied and spread ‘around the world’. I used most of the elements of this styleguide and built the book around it. that was the first styleguide I did during the early weeks of production. there was an urgent need to explain to the hundreds of artists what the style of the film was all about.
during production I corrected hundreds of layouts and backgrounds. sometimes I kept copies of the corrections and made notes. more for myself I put some of that together into a second styleguide, or more an ‘experience during the making of the film’. that was close to the end of the production. as far as I remember I only gave copies to a few of the artists. and then I completely forgot about the about 70 pages. did not even include them in my book.
so, here is now another animation-archeological piece, a few of the
styleguide pages. published for the first time…




© disney enterprises, inc

walt stanchfield books

25 02 2009

DON HAHN just announced, that the two WALT STANCHFIELD books – DRAWN TO LIFE: 20 GOLDEN YEARS OF DISNEY MASTER CLASSES – will be available in bookstores on March 27, 2009.
DON HAHN writes…
I am so pleased to announce that for the first time ever, we have assembled all of Walt Stanchfield’s amazing handout notes and lectures into a two volume collection titled, DRAWN TO LIFE – 20 GOLDEN YEARS OF DISNEY MASTER CLASSES. Walt was an animator, trainer, mentor and coach for decades at Disney and helped breathe life into the new golden age of animation with his teachings. He influenced such talented artists as Tim Burton, Brad Bird, John Musker, Glen Keane, Andreas Deja and John Lasseter.

To me, DRAWN TO LIFE is one the strongest primers on animation ever written. The material spares no detail on the craft of animation, but also digs deep into the artistic roots of animation. It is a publication that has been anticipated for many years by every artist and student that Walt ever came in contact with. It has been a labor of love for me and I am so proud that Walt’s teachings will live on in these two volumes.

You can also view a trailer at and very soon, this trailer will be available on and Both volumes will be available in bookstores on March 27.

Animator Walt Stanchfield (1919-2000) distinguished himself with a long career at Hollywood’s top animation studios, but his greatest legacy to the film industry is the torch of knowledge that he passed on to a new generation of filmmakers. His profound yet accessible writings helped breathe life into the new golden age of animation in the 1970s, 80s and 90s at the Disney Animation Studios by influencing such talented artists as Brad Bird, Tim Burton, Glen Keane and John Lasseter.

Published for the first time ever, Drawn to Life is an 800 page, two-volume collection of Stanchfield’s insightful musings, which encompass direct instruction in animation along with a good dose of general life observations. Edited by Academy Award® nominated producer Don Hahn, Walt’s notes represent the quintessential refresher for fine artists and film professionals, and it is a vital tutorial for students who are now poised to be part of another new generation in the art form.



more soon

24 02 2009

this is just a little sketch done during the MULAN production to warm up and feel a bit more ‘chinese’. you will see a lot more soon, because I found accidentally some artwork from that time, I had forgotten about…


feb. inspiration

23 02 2009

DIDIER CONRAD, born 1959 in marseille, france, was able to get his first comic strip page published at the age of 14 in the belgian comic magazine SPIROU. the first episode of several stories to follow was in 1983 – AVENTURES JAUNES, the start of the series – LES INNOMMABLES. the adventures of two unequal friends, big mac and small tim, in the underworld of hong kong, when H.K. was still an english colony. one of my all time favorite series, incredible style, rough nib- and brush-lines, the environment as interesting as the characters. conrad has so far another series on the shelves – DONITO, the adventures of a little boy somewhere in the caribbean underwater world. here are some pages from the ‘innommables’ series…




21 02 2009

production design sketch for CARNIVAL, an animated feature film project planned in 1992 during my stay with AMBLIMATION in london. it never happened.

© AMBLIN/universal


20 02 2009

disney’s LADY AND THE TRAMP, released july 1955, the first of disney’s CINEMASCOPE films. you have to see the original backgrounds! there are fortunately a lot of them left in the disney archives, ARL. they look so loosely painted, created by absolute professionals. the style is close to realism, with the typical simplified DISNEY-TOUCH. the painters were so skillful after all the movies behind them, that their work looks effortless. very rough brushstrokes when you look close, but from the distance they give you the feel of reality, the same way MATTE-PAINTINGS work.
all my recreated BG’s are not even halfway close to what the original paintings look like. hopefully therewill be a publication with all these masterpieces in the future…
besides the beautiful look of the backgrounds they work just perfect as what they are – the stage. the characters read so well in front of them. what a color-balance! these backgrounds are very different from the ones in SLEEPING BEAUTY, released only a few years later and actually in the works paralell to LADY AND THE TRAMP since the early fifties. EYVIND EARLE, the production designer of ‘sleeping beauty’, was very involved in the BG-creation of ‘lady and the tramp’ as well. you see stylistic similarities especially in the romantic night sequence. or when you study some of the hedges, the same foliage design like in beauty’s forest. his later style in SLEEPING BEAUTY is so overwhelming with all the incredible textures, stylized details and stunning colors that you have once in a while problems to follow the flawless animation. different here in ‘lady and the tramp’, where you just get enough detail to know what you need to know, it is never confusing or overwhelming.







the background artists –

but the layout crew was equally important –


what a team!

© disney enterprises, inc


19 02 2009


© bilderfabrik


16 02 2009

in case someone, who finds my posts interesting, and wants to discuss them on his/her website or blog – be so kind to include me in the discussion, ok? we can avoid some stupid running around in circles, guessing and worse.
as you can clearly see in my © remarks, it is not allowed to use any content on any other website without notifying me or the respective © owner. I just want to clarify this issue before I continue with my posting. comments from your side would be g r e a t !
especially from this site
thank you


15 02 2009


alex nino 2

14 02 2009

here is more of ALEX NINO’S designs for disney’s MULAN.










© disney enterprises, inc

alex nino 1

14 02 2009

ALEX NINO, born 1940 in tarlac, philippines, is probably one of the most important comic strip artists of the last thirty years. in his very own style he created numerous comics for DC COMICS, MARVEL COMICS, WARREN PUBLISHING and HEAVY METAL, recently DARK HORSE and BIG ENTERTAINMENT. you can find his complete bio here.
I met alex when I worked on the production design for disney’s MULAN, about 1996. he became a visual development artist at disney for a few years and contributed some incredible designs, influencing the look of MULAN quite a bit. I had a chance to see him work, without any sketch – straight out of his unlimited imagination. quite depressing to see the most beautiful drawings being created effortless by a master. we became good friends, and now, that I live in his native country, the philippines, we met again after a few years. together we gonna give a lecture/talk on feb. 17 in the ST.BENILDE SCHOOL OF DESIGN AND ARTS here in manila.
in the wikipedia-bio about alex they forgot to mention his MULAN work, so – ‘to prove it’, here is some of his work on the film…





© disney enterprises, inc

as of feb.18 – here is a very nice article about this event at st.benilde school of design and arts…


12 02 2009

I am trying to save all my very old vhs-tape-archives on DVD’s. a lot is lost already, tapes older than 20 years don’t look that good anymore. and my vhs-archives goes back to 1979. from some pretty old U.S. animated commercial-compilations of the fifties and sixties I selected some screen captures, just because I like the character design and the animation. some of it might be ART BABBIT’S…



11 02 2009

when I first saw one of his paintings, I thought it was someone’s contemporary work. but I learned it was over 250 years old! a lot to learn from a master. FRANZ ANTON MAULBERTSCH, 1724 – 1796, is recognized as one of the greatest masters of fresco and oil painting of the eighteenth century. he painted frescoes in churches and palaces in almost sixty places, and over thirty such works survive. these paintings are spread throughout austria, slovakia, the czech republik, romania and germany.
maulbertsch’s astonishing use of bright contrasting color, luminous compositions, bold brushwork and extraordinary light effects have gained him in central europe a reputation of a genius. he was even called a forerunner of EXPRESSIONISM. expressionism started around 1911 – it means art that expresses intense emotion, or – to destort reality for an emotional effect. in his youth KOKOSCHKA admired the ‘extremist’, ‘revolutionary fresco painter of the baroque, maulbertsch’.



london 1989

10 02 2009

in 1989 DISNEY started another ‘london adventure’. probably after the good experience with european artists in london on WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT two years earlier, disney choose JILL and DICK PURDUM as the directors for an animated adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. dick and jill had an animation commercial-studio in the westend. their own work commitments did not allow them to leave london immediately to work on the project in L.A., so they all decided to move some of the disney artists for a few months to london to work on a story-reel of the project. some european artists were added to the team.


there was DON HAHN, the producer. ANDREAS DEJA and GLEN KEANE from animation, TOM SITO story, JEAN GILMORE visual development, DEREK GOGOL from london for production design, MICHAEL DUDOC DE WITT from london as well for storyboard, and me for storyboard, color and design.




we worked all in the purdum studio early fall of 1989. I will always keep these weeks in my memory as one of the best work experiences. to be in such a creative environment with all these high caliber artists and especially with JILL and DICK as the ‘parents’ of the project, and DON HAHN with his unmatched humour. all of us were so committed that we worked 14, 16 hours a day. I remember that I did not get anything of the london sightseeing. we just worked like crazy. and we finished in a very short time a story reel in FULL COLOR, about 50 min. long – the first act. it was not a typical disney movie, more a european version. but we all believed in it.



well, they didn’t in L.A., and probably because they felt so bad to throw all our work in the trash, they decided to send us to the LOIRE-area in france, where BEAUTY AND THE BEAST might have happened in one of those beautiful castles. our trip lasted four days, – maybe twenty castles, lots of driving, even more historic anecdotes from ‘historian’ TOM SITO, and a lot of fun.



good memories from twenty years ago now!

london 1993

9 02 2009

SNOWBALLS was the ‘codename’ for the BALTO production. as I explained in some of the earlier posts, BALTO was produced in STEVEN SPIELBERG’S london AMBLIMATION studio. the studio was located in ACTON. most of the artists came from all over europe, a few from the U.S., but mainly from france. it was a very interesting cultural mixture with all the different languages spoken. amazing talents! it was a joy to work with them. preproduction work on BALTO started around 1992, production in 1993. following is a comparative size-sheet with the main characters and a design for a crew-T-shirt, as far as I remember.

© AMBLIN, universal pictures

classics 3

8 02 2009

color – composition – costume, three more reasons to consult the old masters. here in this collection there are DEL SARTO, GIRODET, DE LA ROCHE, GAINSBOROUGH, INGRES, RAPHAEL, HOLBEIN and VERMEER. you find a lot of their work in all different art-collection-websites.



7 02 2009

I mean – WATERCOLOR, in that technique most of the backgrounds of the late 30s and 40s were done. at disney the BG-painters started to use a different technique, to paint with gouache color, from the mid-forties on. there seems to be a change during BAMBI, where most of the BG’s were painted in oil, a few in gouache. then from CINDERELLA on, everything is painted in gouache. one of the reasons might have been the simplified style MARY BLAIR introduced. earlier, in PINOCCHIO the wooden textures had been pretty realistic, the environments were very close stylistically to childrenbook illustration of that time, TENGGREN and NIELSEN were at the studio as designers. later, especially in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, the environment is way more stylized. with LADY AND THE TRAMP the studio returned to a more naturalistic look, but still painted in gouche. SLEEPING BEAUTY is a different story, because disney tried to create an epic film in style and format. so it had to have its own very specific look. we all know that after the film’s moderate success the studio had to come up with a cheaper way to produce a look, what resulted in a new technology.
anyway – here are 4 backgrounds painted in that beautiful watercolor technique, they are recreated from disney’s DONALD AND PLUTO, sept. 1936 – and MGM’s BOWLING ALLEY CAT, july 1942. as you can see, no matter what studio, the look is very similar.





© disney enterprises, inc


7 02 2009

PAT OLIPHANT is a threat to the american political system…if I was in the white house, I’d lock him up and throw away the key – ART BUCHWALD said about PAT OLIPHANT, my favorite american political cartoonist. he was born in australia and came to the U.S. in 1964, where he soon became one of the most circulated political cartoonists. he is winner of the pulitzer prize and the prestigious reuben award. it is not just his sarcastic humor I like so much, it is his ability to caricature everything, from the smallest detail in the environment, to the most unimportant people standing around. and all that in his very personal aggressive style.


© pat oliphant


6 02 2009


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.