rose of baghdad

30 06 2010

LA ROSA DI BAGDAD ( THE ROSE OF BAGHDAD ) is a 1949 released italian animated feature film, directed by ANTON GINO DOMENEGHINI, music by RICCARDO PICK MANGIALLI. in the sixties the film was dubbed into english and released as THE SINGING PRINCESS ( still available at amazon ). inspired by the 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS stories there are several interesting movies, like in animation – THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED 1926 lotte reiniger, 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS 1959 UPA, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER 1995 richard williams and ALADDIN 1992 disney, as well as numerous live action films like THE THIEF OF BAGDAD 1924 douglas fairbanks, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD 1940 michael powell, ARABIAN NIGHTS 1942 maria montez, THE GOLDEN BLADE 1952 rock hudson, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD 1958 ray harryhausen and LES 1001 NUITS 1990 catherine zeta-jones. below is my recreated opening pan from LA ROSA DI BAGDAD.

© fiorella domeneghini


german illustration 7

28 06 2010

some more of the illustrations DIETER LANGE created during the seventies and eighties for the children’s page STERNCHEN in the german weekly magazine STERN. he came up with a different style for every story he illustrated, all black/white and line art, pen+ink and pencil.

© dieter lange / STERN – gruner&jahr

style 8.3

25 06 2010

I have seen and studied the film SLEEPING BEAUTY many times. there is not one background-painting that is not on style, has not enough, too much or the wrong detail. the film is in superwidescreen ( super technirama 70, that is a 70mm filmformat ) and the composition in every single scene is a masterpiece. not one part of the entire movie is colorwise out of place, everywhere the characters read perfect in their environment, and – these characters are all painted on cels, with matching color-outlines.

today it is so easy to color-correct digital images. imagine the challenge in the mid-fifties, imagine multi-layered multiplane scenes, where the character-colors had to be adjusted to the amount and green-shading of the glass layers in front. it is hard to believe, that all these visuals look flawless, perfectly controlled. and I am not even talking about the numerous background painters, who had to follow the style that EYVIND EARLE had developed.

he first needed to come up with a look and to paint all possible different locations in the film to give examples of the look of wood, stone, foilage, grass, rocks, trees, metal, pottery and more, so the team could follow and copy his style. I am sure he painted some hundred backgrounds. I know that he had an incredible knowledge of art-history, he knew paintings and styles from all over the world. without a knowledge like that you could not have the idea what different artforms to combine. these ingredients can be from areas far away, time- and locationwise. imagine – to mix medieval, gothic art from the 13th century with little details of persian-, japanese- and indian art, to create a forest that reminds you of the interior of a cathedral, and the grass fields of ancient tapestries.

some critics say the backgrounds are overpowering, dominate the look of the film. not for me. I think it is the perfect balance of a fantastic fairytale world, an operastage with flawless characterdesigns and animation. a true masterpiece and a piece of art that you won’t find anymore nowadays.

© disney enterprises, inc

style 8.2

24 06 2010

EYVIND EARLE wrote in his autobiography – HORIZON BOUND ON A BICYCLE

‘I knew I was going to style SLEEPING BEAUTY, as well as paint all the key backgrounds, and all I had to do was to do it in my own style. how utterly simple it was going to be for me. at home I began practicing doing SLEEPING BEAUTY’S forest scenes. after all, my favorite artists were ALBRECHT DUERER and VAN EYCK and BRUEGEL, and all GOTHIC ART, and the HOURS of the DUKE DE BERRY. the whole project fit me like a glove. AL DEMPSTER told me it wasn’t fair of me to practice on my own time at home, but after all, I had been trying to get into disney for fifteen years, all during which AL DEMPSTER, CLAUDE COATS and RALPH HULETT had been making a good living while I struggled and struggled. now it was my turn to show them what I could do…

JOHN HENCH had just about finished two masterful drawings in black/white of two forest scenes. they were given to me to paint as I wished. JOHN HENCH’S renderings were renaissance rokoko to my mind. I wanted stylized simplified gothic. straight tall perpendicular lines like gothic cathedrals. the figures should be straight and tall and thinned out and elongated like gothic sculpture…

…I took JOHN HENCH’S masterpieces and straightened up the curving, bending, winding trees. I used one-point perspective. I rearranged the bushes and trees in geometrical patterns. I made a medieval tapestry out of the surface I possible. all my foregrounds were tapestry designs of decorative weeds and flowers and grasses. and since it is obvious that the gothic style and detail evolved from the arabic influence aquired during the crusades, I found it perfectly permissible to use all the wonderful patterns and details found in PERSIAN MINIATURES. and since persian miniatures had a lot in common with chinese and japanese art, I felt it was ok for me to inject quite a bit of japanese art, especially in the close up of leaves and overhanging branches…

…and then, since everything came from nature in the first place anyway, I started taking close-up photographs of every different bush or tree I could find in the san fernando valley, and then took VAN EYCK, and PETER BRUEGEL, and ALBRECHT DUERER, and BOTTICELLI, and THE HOURS OF THE DUKE DE BERRY, and the PERSIANS and JAPANESE and GOTHIC ART, and on top of that I injected a little piece of EYVIND EARLE. wherever my taste lead me is where I wandered in my search for the perfect styling of SLEEPING BEAUTY.’

tomorrow the final chapter.

© disney enterprises, inc

style 8.1

23 06 2010

EYVIND EARLE was born 1916 in new york city, but moved already after two years with his parents to hollywood. his father, ferdinand, was a professional painter who had studied with ADOLPHE WILLIAM BOUGUEREAU and ABBOTT McNEILL WHISTLER. he soon became a busy art director and scenic artist in hollywood. from early on eyvind was educated by his father in the arts. when he was ten the parents divorced and eyvind followed his father on longer trips to mexico and europe. already after a few years, age 14, he was good enough to have his own art show in southern france. later at the age of 21 he crossed the northern american continent on his bike, painting a watercolor on each of the 42 days it took him. already three years later the metropolitan museum of art bought one of his watercolors for its permanent collection. the same year eyvind started his own christmas card company, printing them as serigraphs. 1951 he joined disney as a background painter, working on FOR WHOM THE BULLS TOIL, MELODY and TOOT,WHISTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM. finally he was offered the position as production designer, color stylist and background painter for SLEEPING BEAUTY. paralell during that time he designed for the shorts PIGS IS PIGS, GRAND CANYONSCOPE, PAUL BUNYAN and LONDON BRIDGE. he colorstyled the night/park sequence in LADY AND THE TRAMP and designed 5 murals for disneyland. in 1958 he left disney and started his own company, producing commercials and title graphics, as well as the logo trademark trailer for universal pictures. later in his life he dedicated all his time to painting, becoming very successful with exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. in 2000 he passed away, 84 years old.

I want to concentrate in this post and the next ones on EYVIND EARLE’S unparalelled stylistic design for SLEEPING BEAUTY. from what I have heard from artists they worked with him, he must have been a very difficult character to deal with, very demanding. well – look at all the designs and BG-paintings he created for SLEEPING BEAUTY! masterpieces! usually I am not a big fan of extremely detailed backgrounds, but in this case it is different. all the detail in his artwork works as a texture like in the medieval gobelins. he was very careful with the design of these textured elements, like the plants and trees in the forest, the interior of the cottage or the stone walls in the kings castle and the different more mossy walls in maleficent’s ruins, that the paintings never feel overworked. on the contrary, they are the perfect stage for the very designed and less detailed characters. the color-combinations throughout the whole film are some of the most beautiful and tasteful in animation.

© disney enterprises, inc


22 06 2010

in 1989 the merchandise for the comic strip- and TV-series THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF THE DUCK ALFRED J.KWAK boomed. at times there were about 400 articles on the market. HARALD SIEPERMANN and I could hardly follow up with all the extra illustrations we had to finish as well as the corrections of illustrations from merchandise clients illustrators. for a while it was not fun at all. and sometimes some of our own favorite ideas got shelved, like a calendar – some of the calendar sheets below.

wilhelm m.busch 10

18 06 2010

1974 WILHELM M.BUSCH illustrated EMILE ZOLA’SLA FORTUNE DES ROUGON ( THE FORTUNE OF THE ROUGON FAMILY ), written in 1871 and the first novel in EMILE ZOLA’S monumental twenty-volume series LES ROUGON-MAQUART. busch used a ballpoint pen for the illustrations and added some watered ink for grey shades. below is a selection.

© wilhelm m.busch / bertelsmann verlag, 1974, ‘das glueck der familie rougon’

1001 arabian nights

17 06 2010

this is the first palace painting RICHARD VANDERWENDE, the production designer, did for disney’s ALADDIN in 1990.

© disney enterprises, inc


16 06 2010

HARMONY is a procedural drawing tool developed by ‘mrdoob’. the website offers the canvas of your color choice and several brushes, my favorite is SHADED. you draw right there, unfortunately no undo button, and save your final sketch with a screen-saver software. I do a lot of sketching and experimenting with that tool, some are below. try it yourself – it is for free, and a lot of fun!


15 06 2010

when I was on PHI PHI ISLAND a few years ago, shortly before the tsunami disaster, a ‘walk-around-artdealer’ offered some oilpaintings created by an unknown THAI-painter. he had the canvas rolled and carried probably dozens of them. I liked the color and the motifs and bought four of them.

© unknown thai artist


14 06 2010

the recreated backgrounds below are from disney’s 1942 masterpiece BAMBI. they were painted in oil, most of them on glass fro use in the multiplane camera.

© disney enterprises, inc

nostalgic ads

12 06 2010

here are a few well designed german ads from the seventies.

scared? hah!

11 06 2010

© bilderfabrik


10 06 2010

T.S.SULLIVANT, 1854 – 1926, is probably one of the most important cartoonists in the history of this medium. I am sure you all have seen some of his work, and you might know how important he was for the development of cartoon characters in animation. his very unique style of anthropomorphism has been the inspiration for numerous character designers in animation and comic strip artists around the world. sullivant began to work cartooning professionally at the age of 32. his drawings appeared in the LIFE and PUCK magazines during the 1890s, later in 1904 he signed an exclusive contract with WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST. from 1911 until his death he continued to work for LIFE magazine. I have selected some of my favorite cartoons below.

© t.s.sullivant


9 06 2010

good memories from june 1987, amblin, universal lot L.A., – storyboard-work on TOONTOWN-sequence, part of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, together with HARALD SIEPERMANN.

© disney enterprises, inc / amblin entertainment / universal pictures

maritime 2

7 06 2010

some more of MONTAGUE DAWSON’S beautiful, powerful paintings. I quote from an article about his work – DAWSON’S quick, controlled brushwork gives life to his paintings, and combined with his rigorous attention to nautical details makes them instantly truthful and appealing. he researched carefully for a painting and never knowingly left an inaccuracy uncorrected even for the sake of artistic effect. the rigging, for example, is painted with minutest care, not merely in physical detail, but also in the relative tension of the ropes and intricate shadows and patterns. he would often work quickly on a picture, completing in one session a work, which up until that point might have occupied many weeks. to him, marine painting combined the freedom of landscape painting with the disciplines of portraiture. the elements may be imaginatively painted but the ship must be a likeness both in detail and in character. ‘you must be quite certain that she is sailing with the wind in the proper quarter – if she is on port tack, you must make sure the sails are filled from the port tack.’
the strong narrative elements in DAWSON’S work are especially appealing. his paintings recreate, often with deep affection and knowledge, moments of drama and history, which seem to leap across the intervening centuries. he ranged widely for his subjects, recording the BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR, moments from AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, the return of the CUTTY SARK, and very often the races between the tea clippers returning to london from china.

© montague dawson

beauty nr.4

5 06 2010

you might have noticed that I was very passionate about this film, – at least for a while. maybe it was because I saw an incredible visual potential, maybe because I was involved in it from so early on. but then it all stopped!

one morning during early production I saw the final design of the castle (you can see it below captured from the film) and quit. much later I watched the final film on a VHS cassette. the visuals were worse than what I had imagined! I am not even sure I made it all the way to the end. in this final chapter I show some film-stills, you judge yourself.

anyway – that is just me, everybody else loves the film! so – if you wanna get a lot of information about it, then please check out CHARLES SOLOMON’S – TALE AS OLD AS TIME: THE ART AND MAKING OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, available august 31, 2010.

© disney enterprises, inc

beauty nr.3

4 06 2010

in case someone wants to know some of the technical details of these old-traditional paper produced designs for disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, – yes, they were done on paper, 60 gram offset. most of them in the size 21 x 11.5 cm. basic coloring with MAGIC MARKERS, AD-MARKERS and PANTONE MARKERS. the extreme thin paper was spray-glued then onto thicker cardboard and the coloring continued with small additions of gouache, and some airbrushing with PANTONE-fineliners.

© disney enterprises, inc

beauty nr.2

3 06 2010

CHARLES PERRAULT popularized the fairy tale with his collection ‘contes de ma mere l’oye’ ( tales of mother goose ) in 1697, but the first truly similar tale to the one we know today was published in 1740 by MADAME GABRIELLE-SUZANNE BARBOT DE GALLON DE VILLENEUVE as part of a collection of stories ‘la jeune amériquaine, et les contes marins’ ( told by an old woman during a long sea voyage ). Mme. de villeneuve wrote fairy tale romances drawn from earlier literature and folk tales for the entertainment of her salon friends.

we knew that the most picturesque castles were built in france, in the loire valley. it was decided to have a closer look. mid september 1989 the small group of visual development artists, who had worked in london for a few months on a later shelved version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, took a propeller flight from london to tours. from there our reference trip through the LOIRE VALLEY started. CHAMBORD was the first castle we saw, followed by CHEVERNY, CHAUMONT and BEAUREGARD. then BLOIS, CHENONCEAUX, SAUMUR, AZAY-LE-RIDEAUX and VILLANDRY. a lot of castles for 3 1/2 days. and so many details to study, – the architecture, the furniture, the paintings, the colors, light and the whole atmosphere. I had seen a lot of castles in germany. but the loire castles are special and connected to so much history. I took hundreds of photos and did a video-documentary, afterwards I tried to capture all that in my designs. here is a small selection of them, more tomorrow…

© disney enterprises, inc

beauty nr.1

2 06 2010

christmas 1988 I spent with my wife in california, mostly visiting friends in L.A. ANDREAS DEJA, one of the leading animators in the disney studio, had told me about a new project he was working on – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. in the studio he showed me some of the visual development work that he and MEL SHAW had done. MEL SHAW, who had worked at MGM and with ORSON WELLES before he joined disney to work on FANTASIA, BAMBI and THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, came after years back to the studio to help with his skills and knowledge on RESCUERS and THE FOX AND THE HOUND, where he created numerous beautiful color-charcoal paintings for the visualization of that film and all the following productions. as production designer he was the first artist in the studio to get involved in new projects, a lot of them were never produced. he showed me hundreds of his masterpieces, for THE FOX AND THE HOUND and THE BLACK CAULDRON, as well as for MUSICANA and THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK. here now for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST he created the first visuals of the eighteenth century fairy tale world. ANDREAS DEJA concentrated first on ‘beauty’. his early version was much closer to the women of PETER PAUL RUBENS and TITIAN, a bit more full-figured than the usual heroines, getting much closer to the real look of that period of time. a beautiful character-design! needless to say – I was excited about the new story and a chance to have the paintings of FRAGONARD and WATTEAU come alive.

I remember the story was a lot different then. DON HAHN, the producer, described to me how he saw beauty’s father riding from the black forest ( in southern germany ), where they lived, to a small harbour town in the normandy ( northern france ), where he was supposed to pick up some goods they were arriving with a ship. well, I tried to explain some minor geographical distance problems. in his typical ‘don-hahn-humor’ he calmed me down, that these little details didn’t really matter, I was just too german accurate. I understood what he meant when I finally saw the film. anyway, during my stay we exchanged a lot of story ideas, like the opening of the film and the ‘magic rose’.

back home in germany I started researching, everything about the art of that time, collected reference photos and books, and did hundreds of photographs myself in the snowy forests of southern germany. paralell I sketched medieval villages, castles, forest scenes. just for fun, for myself, officially I had nothing to do with the disney project. based on the sketches I created several small color designs in my usual technique at that time, feltpen and gouache. I kept them pretty small, 18 x 12 cm, that way I could finish about three a day. the end of february 1989 I sent color xeroxes to andreas in the disney studio. he was excited to see them and showed them to DON HAHN. he called me the next day and asked me to book a flight to L.A. immediately. that’s how it all started…

these were some of the first color designs.

© 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.