31 12 2010

just in time for the last day of the year 2010. 600 posts. that’s quite a lot of stuff to look at. and it is so much that you might have problems to find what you are looking for. the TABLE OF CONTENT below will help you. if you found an interesting chapter, get it with the SEARCH box. the 3 TABLE OF CONTENT lists show 200 posts each organized in 10 chapter-blocks. I hope that helps!

a few statistics – on sept.12, 2008 I started this adventure. so far there are 1.615.900 views, about 2.000 to 3.000 a day. there is apparently a ‘loyal’ group of about 1.200 who visit my blog every day, I thank you for that. comments are a bit rare, only 2.150, but that’s ok. I don’t leave too many comments myself on other blogs. one thing is amazing – the countries where you all come from, I collected some once in a while, and it added up to 152 from all over the globe. below is the colorful collection of the countries flaggs.

I hope it will work to make the 1.000 posts full. for the New Year I wish everybody my best, thank you for visiting – and, come back.


mirko hanak 3

30 12 2010

some more of MIRKO HANAK’S beautiful watercolors

© mirko hanak

wildlife art

28 12 2010

in the early nineties I saw on english-tv a documentary about a german wildlife artist, WOLFGANG WEBER. a camera team followed him around the globe, through jungle, desert and even under water – and everywhere this artist created the most stunning sketches of all the animals around him, frozen in one instant moment. I could not believe my eyes, – the shortest movements captured like in a photograph, but so much better in these rough but precise drawings. later, the film documented at WEBER’S home in germany in a few steps the creation of the most beautiful watercolors, using the hundreds of sketches he had done during his trips.

a few years later german-tv had part 2 of that documentary, WEBER sketching wildlife around the world. incredible! only much later through research on the internet I learned that WOLFGANG WEBER is one of the greatest living masters of wildlife art, his work exhibited around the world. he was born in 1936 in koblenz, germany, and studied art under OSCAR KOKOSCHKA in mainz. another influence was well-known wildlife artist WILHELM KUHNERT. WEBER’S success as an artist is the outcome of a great love for the animal kingdom which has inspired him to travel to many of the most remote corners of the earth in search of rare species. with his rare ability to concentrate on the depiction of a split-second movement he is able to observe, capture and record.

the pictures in this post are screen captures from one of the tv-documentaries and otherwise collected on the internet. all artwork © wolfgang weber

moments 15

26 12 2010

children of the sun

24 12 2010

‘for the first time in history, nations are united to rid the world of hunger – The United Nations, through UNICEF, is dedicated to the children of the sun. the future of the earth depends on them.’ these are the concluding words of a short JOHN and FAITH HUBLEY produced in 1960 for UNICEF. the story of a healthy child who has enough to eat is juxtaposed with the story of an undernourished child representing three quarters of the world’s children. the animation is by BOBE CANNON and GARY MOONEY, music by PABLO CASALS and the budapest string quartet. below a few screen captures.

© john and faith hubley, storyboardfilms

I wish everybody who celebrates this event of the year a MERRY CHRISTMAS.

coming up…

18 12 2010

wilhelm m.busch 15

17 12 2010

WILHELM M.BUSCH illustrated in 1965 the novel MEMOIRS OF A MADMAN, written by one of the greatest western novelists GUSTAVE FLAUBERT ( 1821 – 1880 ). the book was published by heinrich ellermann verlag, hamburg. different from busch’s usual ballpoint-pen drawings, these illustrations are pen and ink.

© wilhelm m.busch / heinrich ellermann verlag

disney legends 1

15 12 2010

just right for the christmas time I start a new series of posts – the DISNEY LEGENDS. ‘legends’ because a lot of these artists worked on the legendary animation-masterpieces starting with SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and a bit longer after WALT DISNEY’S death in 1966. I have quite a big collection of production-photographs from magazine and book publications, very interesting remnants of a nearly forgotten time. not too many of the artists from those days are still alive and probably most of you haven’t even heard of some of the names I added in the photographs.

a lot of critics accused walt disney that he was keeping his artists in his shadow. but when I looked through the publication-photo-folders in the disney archives I found it remarkable how many pictures were officially taken by a studio photographer during the production of all these movies, pictures of all different stages and in all departments, of all the artists, even a lot in the ink+paint department. only a few of them have ever been published, but at least they exist. well, during all my years working in the studio I can only remember one occasion before the release of MULAN when publicity pictures were taken of some of the artists, pictures where we had to stage some faked presentation. but there was never anybody around to document our work in our thousands of meetings or to look over the shoulders in our rooms/cubicles.

look at the footage in the background of the recent documentary of WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY. most of it is amateur-film-material, except when there were major voice-acting stars in the studio, or a documentary team came in from the outside. interesting, isn’t it? no wonder that the WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY documentary is just about the clash of the titans, they were on camera whenever possible. that small powerful group made the public believe that they were the heart of the studio, – who would want to witness the boring artistic struggle to create the artwork that kept them in their positions. in my series there will not be anything from recent years, i want to concentrate on the REAL ‘GOLDEN ERA’ of animation, the time and its images that made me want to work in animation and that is now once and forever history.

© disney enterprises, inc

mirko hanak 2

13 12 2010

some more of MIRKO HANAK’S beautiful watercolors…

© mirko hanak

mirko hanak 1

12 12 2010

MIRKO HANAK, another master-illustrator from the czech republik, was born in 1921 in prague. his amazing watercolors are a cross between chinese traditional watercolors, the minimalist japanese painting-style and the czech rich culture in illustration. hanak was famous for his distinctive illustrations with natural themes, portraying life of plants and animals with broad watercolor strokes mixed with beautifully balanced finer brushwork on rice paper, all that in stunning compositions and colors full of life. his work includes children books like BAMBI as well as exquisite stamp-designs. he died at the height of his career in 1971 from leukemia.

© mirko hanak

a cat and a bird

11 12 2010

the last project I worked on at disney was FRAIDY CAT. similar to 101 DALMATIONS it was a crime story around a cat and a bird taking place all over london. I was the first artist in visual development who was given the outline and a few pages of the script to read, and they even asked me about my opinion! I loved the idea and the script pages were promising as well. it had a lot of atmosphere, the same what I liked about the 101 DALMATIANS so much. well, as usual the executives in charge ordered re-writes of the script, ‘to improve’ it and it was systematically destroyed. finally, after several years the whole project was shelved, I had already left the company then.

anyway – during visual development I did just for fun some poster-designs to introduce the new concept to the rest of the crew. the story had some HITCHCOCK ingredients, so I chose some of the master’s well known older films and modified their advertising posters ( a lot of them had been designed by SAUL BASS ). my spoof versions were supposed to create interest among the crew, at the same time I worked with a very small team on the designs, the characters and the locations.

© disney enterprises, inc
© universal pictures / saul bass


10 12 2010

my book DREAM WORLDS, PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR ANIMATION is now in the bookstores in a chinese translation in CHINA. that makes it the third language edition, next to english and japanese. the publisher is POSTS & TELECOM PRESS, ISBN 978-981-2723772. http://www.ptpress.com.cn/Book.aspx?id=19668 – price 69.00 renminbi.

nanyang 2011

9 12 2010

it is official now – I am very happy that I have been appointed as professor at NANYANG technological university in SINGAPORE from january 2011 on. I will be teaching in the SCHOOL OF ART, DESIGN AND MEDIA in the courses of animation and film-design. the school is not new to me, several times I was there already in the past years as lecturer. with the best collegues from all over the world, the school of art, design and media is housed in an ultramodern ‘green’ building with beautiful rooms and state of the art equipment. singapore is one of my favorite cities, I am on my way – looking forward this change so late in my life.


8 12 2010

I always wanted to somehow recreate the final background after I had seen the reproduced layout in ROBERT D.FEILD’S 1940 published book THE ART OF WALT DISNEY. it took me a while and was quite complicated, but now you can see it below – the mentioned page from the book and the recreated extreme long pan-background from disney’s november 1940 released FANTASIA ( DANCE OF THE HOURS ).

© disney enterprises, inc


7 12 2010

a few posts ago I showed a MAC GEORGE layout from the shelved disney production WILD LIFE. here is some more, first MAC GEORGE’S designs of the sewer underworld. he started with broad shapes roughly sketched with pencil, then refining these ideas more and more with felt pen in dozens of new sheets of big size paper. the sketches he didn’t like were discarded everywhere in his small room. most of the time it was impossible to enter the room because of all the trashed paper everywhere. well, out of that chaos came some incredible artwork. sometimes I gave him sketches I had done like the studio-equipment, he went over it dozens of time until he was happy and finally they belonged to the stylistic WILD LIFE world. there are three more of my sketches, the zoo, central-square with the villain magda’s headquarter and two pieces of framed kitty-artwork in her apartment.

© disney enterprises, inc

german illustration 6

5 12 2010

the collection of illustration-cut-outs below is from the children magazine STERNchen, an eight page added smaller magazine to the big german weekly publication STERN. they stopped it a long time ago, these illustrations were published between 1957 and latest around the eighties. the illustrators were DIETER LANGE, HORST LEMKE and URSULA SANDER. what I still find interesting about them is their stylistic variety, every children-story series had illustrations in their own style. sometimes the same illustrator even changed his/her style completely for a new series. anyway – they are of course nice MEMORIES and good to look at for inspiration.

© STERN / dieter lange, horst lemke, ursula sander


4 12 2010

one of my favorite paintings JOHN WATKISS created during visual development for disney’s TARZAN. he painted dozens of these mood- and composition-studies, all of them in acrylics and in a huge size, about 80 cm in length. and fast, together with the most beautiful sketches one design in about two days. I wonder why there was never a book published just with john’s designs…

© disney enterprises, inc


3 12 2010

the animation thumbnails and character studies of the two bears MUK and LUK were created for BALTO in 1993 by an incredible talent, NICOLAS MARLET, at that time in his early twenties. he has become one of the most creative character-designers in the animation world, as you can see in his work he did for DREAMWORKS over the last fifteen years.



2 12 2010

MAC GEORGE, one of the best layout artists I worked with, created this stunning panorama layout of KITTY’S loft apartment in disney’s shelved production WILD LIFE.

© disney enterprises, inc

december mood

1 12 2010

from the very early MULAN visual development days

© disney enterprises, inc

The Hidden History of Oz

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Discover the Secrets of an Enchanted World


WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.