31 07 2009

some more recreated backgrounds from disney’s PINOCCHIO, showing the environment on the ocean floor where pinocchio is searching for monstro the whale. the atmosphere is dark and realistic, very different from the underwaterworld of a later production, THE LITTLE MERMAID.

pino 1009-609

pino 1014-609


© disney enterprises, inc


breakfast incl.

30 07 2009

just so 92-4

© bilderfabrik


27 07 2009

I am back from the 2 weeks singapore workshop. it was fun and there was a lot of talent in the class of 40. hi to everybody, I will be back soon. here now another recreated long background-pan, from disney’s DONALD’S LUCKY DAY, released jan. 1939. beautifully painted in the watercolor technique of that time.

donald's lucky day 1

© disney enterprises, inc

style 6

19 07 2009

MARY BLAIR, born in 1911, was married to LEE BLAIR ( brother of PRESTON BLAIR, well known for his ‘how to animate’-booklet ). both became very well know watercolor artists, LEE even was at the age of 23 the president of the CALIFORNIA WATERCOLOR SOCIETY. lee blair joined disney in 1938 and became one of the art directors on PINOCCHIO. MARY BLAIR went to work for MGM – animation.

0156.mary blair

0173.mary blair

0181.mary blair

0194.mary blair

but in 1940 she left MGM and started at the disney studio as well, in the CHARACTER MODEL DEPARTMENT, headed by JOE GRANT. for joe’s idea of LADY AND THE TRAMP she created numerous watercolor sketches. during the early war years, in 1941, disney and a group of designers and animators went on a good will tour through southern america. mary blair joined the group and got walt disney’s attention with some concept designs for the by this trip inspired features SALUDOS AMIGOS and THREE CABALLEROS.

0225.mary blair

0311.mary blair

0405.mary blair

0422.mary blair

from the mid-forties on she designed most of the disney films, all the way through CINDERELLA, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and PETER PAN. in 1953 she left the studio to follow her own ideas in paintings, children books and other areas incl. some major advertising campaigns. disney asked her to come back in the sixties to design attractions for disneyland. she died in 1978.

0576.mary blair

0667.mary blair


mary blair’s influences were very different. they came from contemporary commercial art like european advertising posters, VOGUE fashion designs, NEW YORKER covers as well as folk art and the colorful southern-american culture.




© disney enterprises, inc


15 07 2009

…some more recreated backgrounds from disney’s CINDERELLA




© disney enterprises, inc

from singapore

12 07 2009

hello from the beautiful SINGAPORE!
enjoy some of my favorite scenes from disney’s CINDERELLA. I removed the animation in most of them and tried to recreate the pure backgrounds to show the style, the composition and the very typical for CINDERELLA color-choices.

cinderella comp 709 A

cinderella comp 709 B

cinderella comp 709 C

© disney enterprises, inc


11 07 2009

from tomorrow on, july 12 until july 26, I will be in singapore to teach during a workshop – production design/character design in animation. my posting might slow down during these next two weeks. I am looking forward to be again in one of the most exciting cities in asia.

tin soldier0051

above one of my preproduction designs for disney’s FANTASIA 2000, TIN SOLDIER.

© disney enterprises, inc


9 07 2009

two more recreated backgrounds from disney’s PINOCCHIO. I know that GUSTAF TENGGREN used a lot of reference in his designs for pinocchio’s village from the german city of ROTHENBURG. but it looks like there was some more inspiration from another part of europe and not too far away from rothenburg – compare the photo reference below. there are lots of similarities in the architecture of these beautiful villages along the ROUTE DU VIN in ALSACE, FRANCE. it is one of my favorite areas in europe, famous for its wine.




© disney enterprises, inc


8 07 2009

in the late seventies RICHARD WILLIAMS opened next to RICHARD WILLIAMS ANIMATION in london soho square his second studio in los angeles. it was located corner barham/cahuenga. the first job the L.A. studio got was a 30 sec commercial for JOVAN and the j. walter thompson advertising agency. dick williams animated and inbetweened everything himself in six weeks, he only had help from an illustrator, REBECCA MILLS, who painted the backgrounds, in oil. the animation was done straight on cels with a black grease pencil. the advertising agency had bought the rights for a FRAZETTA painting of a prehistoric conan-like muscle guy with a sword on top of a mountain. they wanted to use that poster for their campaign and first thought of arnold schwarzenegger and a live action version for the commercial, until dick convinced them he could do it in the frazetta-style in animation. every other studio would have been proud just to have that character animated climbing up the cliff. in dick’s version additional to the climbing the whole background is animated with a camera constantly flying around the character with lightning effects and additional flying prehistoric creatures. it is a masterpiece, probably the most stunning animation I have seen. in the fall 1978 issue of MIKE BARRIER’S FUNNYWORLD # 19 is an interview with richard williams where he talks in detail about the making of this commercial. following are some captured images to give you an idea.

williams jovan comm


williams still23

© frank frazetta
© richard williams
© thompson + jovan

midnight 10

7 07 2009

midnight 531a

midnight 531b

© bilderfabrik


6 07 2009

fantasia recr.022a

a recreated longer pan from disney’s FANTASIA, BEETHOVEN’SPASTORAL SYMPHONY.

© disney enterprises, inc

errol le cain

4 07 2009

ERROL LE CAIN ( 1941 – 1989 ) is well known for his numerous illustrated children books. always fascinated by animation he joined RICHARD WILLIAMS animation studio in london in 1965 and worked on a wide range of animation projects, amongst them the titles for CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM and CASINO ROYALE. but his most important contribution was the stylistic work on the COBBLER AND THE THIEF, his beautifully painted backgrounds for this masterpiece. richard williams told me that errol made an animated short without any help after he had started to work in the studio. dick called it his ‘apprentice-work’. THE SAILOR AND THE DEVIL is a stylistic masterpiece, and the limited animation is fresh and unusual. according to dick williams there was a fire in the upper floor of his 13 soho square studio after the completion of the short, and unfortunately most of the artwork of that film burned or got badly damaged. following are a few screen captures of that short masterpiece…

errol le cain anim

© richard williams animation/errol le cain

style 5

3 07 2009

disney’s BAMBI is stylewise a very unique film. it is a kind of nature film with cartoony elements. the story is pretty serious and wouldn’t work in a ‘fairy tale’ forest environment. that’s probably why the first background tests look very realistic. influenced by painters of the romantic epoch and illustrators like GUSTAF TENGGREN they show the forest with all its rich detail. and that was the dilemma – in the middle of all that very detailed world with foilage, branches, trees and grass the characters got lost.


bambi teng001


the solution came accidentally from a young chinese/american artist, TYRUS WONG, who had just started as an inbetweener in the studio, but had his own ideas of a possible look of BAMBI. he showed his pastel sketches he had done after work to disney art director TOM CODRICK, who immediately realised that he held pure gold in his hands. with his chinese cultural background tyrus had done poetic interpretations of the forest world. he did not show you all the leaves and trees, he made you feel them. when you look at his hundreds of beautifully soft painted scenes you smell the moisture in the deep forest.

tyrus bambi 1

tyrus bambi 2

I don’t know how much tyrus knew about the BARBIZON-school, painters in france during the later part of the nineteenth century, who introduced the idea of IMPRESSIONISM. amongst them were JEAN-BAPTISTE-CAMILLE COROT ( 1796 – 1875 ) and PAUL DESIRE TROUILLEBERT ( 1829 – 1900 ). here is some of their work. compare and see the similarities.

classic comp 1

classic comp 2

to translate tyrus wong’s approach the layout- and background-artists had to completely change their techniques. graphite drawn layouts look like black/white paintings, the bg’s with their soft and very subtle look had to be mostly painted in oil, what was necessary anyway because of the layering in the multipalne camera.


in BAMBI you are surrounded by nature, just hints of trees and foilage most of the time, towards the action center a bit more definition, but very much controlled. sometimes only a few blades of grass in front of an out-of-focus color-wash are enough to tell you where you are. and in a whole that forest looks more interesting and has more variety than most films in a city-jungle environment.


© disney enterprises, inc


2 07 2009

some more recreated backgrounds from disney’s CINDERELLA




© disney enterprises, inc

july 1

1 07 2009

july aa

The Hidden History of Oz

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The Hidden History of Oz

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