26 05 2020

digging through my archives I found this caricature I did of VANCE GERRY in 2000. vance gerry, 1929 – 2005, had been with DISNEY since 1955, had worked in layout on 101 dalmatians and sword in the stone, and moved then to storyboard during the production of the jungle book. from then on he worked in story on most of the feature films. towards the end of his career he worked closely with JOE GRANT and BURNY MATTINSON on the development of new ideas for future productions. that was, around 2000, when we shortly worked together on an idea joe grant had brought up, MR.POPPER’S PENGUINS written by richard and florence atwater and published in 1966.

joe grant’s idea was a mix of live action and CG, with penguins similar like in mary poppins, just animated in the new technique. I created a few designs and then never heard about the project anymore.

much later I found out that the story had been produced and released in 2011 by 20th century fox, MR.POPPER’S PENGUINS, a live action/CG mix with jim carrey.

© walt disney enterprises © 20th century fox © richard+florence atwater


balto’s dream

14 02 2016

style header

for the designs below I got my inspiration from INUIT ART, the art of the alaskan natives. at one point during the preproduction of BALTO there were ideas of balto having a dream. this chance to add a different style and a bit of art into the film was very exciting – but, it was given up soon. maybe I am the only one who would like to see something else than action and operetta…

bazlto 4674

balto 4673

© universal / amblin


25 12 2011

a ‘merry christmas’ to everybody who is celebrating the event. for this special occasion I want to show you a selection of designs for several animated feature films created over the past fifteen years by some of the best in their field. PAUL FELIX and a few of his many masterful pencil sketches for disney’s MULAN, as well as some of his paintings and drawings for the shelved SNOW QUEEN project. further MARCELO VIGNALI with his beautiful visuals for MULAN and CHEN-YI CHENG’S ancestor group for the ‘mushu’s awakening’ sequence in MULAN. finally two more stunning jungle action scenes for TARZAN by JOHN WATKISS, and some of the amazing layout work for BALTO created by one of the best layout artists, now animator – BOLHEM BOUCHIBA. I hope you enjoy this very special gallery of the masters – happy holidays.

© disney enterprises, inc
© universal pictures / amblin entertainment

denis rich

5 12 2011

during the pre-production of disney’s MULAN I had a chance to work with some amazing talent. like DENIS RICH (1930 – 2007), who did visual development and storyboard work. his drawing style was very precise, with a knowledge of costume design and props. with his vast experience from numerous films he had worked on (supermann 1978, three musketeers 1993, son of the pink panther 1993, return to oz 1985, dark crystal 1982, for your eyes only 1981) he immediately understood what we needed for our film and he came up with incredible atmospheric and rich in detail scenes during the hun attack sequence. we talked once in a while about his work in the pinewood studios in england with some legendary filmmakers, he had some stories to tell. after his mulan work he went back to england and storyboarded on a lot more live action films, some were – harry potter and the order of the phoenix 2007, harry potter and the goblet of fire 2005, harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban 2004, finding neverland 2004, anna and the king 1999, the avengers 1998. below is some of his work on the hun attack in MULAN.

© disney enterprises, inc

regis loisel 1

21 07 2011

as far as I remember it was sometime in 1995 during the preproduction of MULAN when my producer at disney PAM COATS asked for my advice about possible illustrators or comic-strip artists who might be willing to work with us for a short time. the more diverse in style, the better. the first name that came to my mind was REGIS LOISEL, next to MOEBIUS one of the most influental french comic-strip artists. after his stunning four volume series LA QUETE DE L’OISEAU DU TEMPS he had started his version of PETER PAN that promised to be even better. I admired the worlds he created, beautifully designed environments as well as very unusual character-design. and – what I liked the most – he was as much away from disney as you could imagine! that’s why I did not really believe he would say yes. finally I talked to him on the phone, he tried to speak a bit english and I tried to remember all my half-forgotten french. somehow it was a good conversation because he agreed to come to L.A. for two weeks to work with us.

these two weeks I will not forget, we spent a lot of time together. next to working with him in my office I showed him L.A. and some of the neighborhood. and we had great dinners and a lot of wine. my french improved and REGIS even learned to comunicate with the other artists in english. he was the nicest guy and what an artist! anyway – we stayed in touch for a while afterwards until he moved to canada and I left disney. his series PETER PAN became a six volume MASTERPIECE. as soon as he had finished a new book he sent me a copy together with a beautiful sketch, treasures in my collection. recently I found copies of the MULAN-designs he had done during the two weeks he stayed with us and I am planning to post some of them. in a way his designs are very similar to ALEX NINO’S work, but he added a lot more story in his sketches, came up with great gags and ideas I wish we had included in our film.

© disney enterprises, inc / regis loisel

the blitz

21 05 2011

FRANS MASEREEL, 1889 – 1972, was born in belgium and is probably the greatest woodcut artist of the twentieth century. his work belongs to the EXPRESSIONISTIC style, – THOMAS MANN, EMILE ZOLA and STEFAN ZWEIG were the writers whose novels MASEREEL illustrated. when I worked on the adaptation of the musical CATS as an animated feature film in 1991 I used MASEREEL’S work as look-reference. as well as a lot of art from numerous german expressionistic painters like, KAETHE KOLLWITZ, MAX PECHSTEIN, KARL SCHMIDT-ROTTLUFF and EMIL NOLDE. the story was supposed to take place in london during the second world war, the so called BLITZ ( from blitz-krieg ), so I referred to a lot of historic photographs of the destroyed london from that time.

below are some of my earliest designs for CATS, the ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER musical, produced by STEVEN SPIELBERG in his london AMBLIMATION studio, all ‘painted’ with tipp-ex white correction fluid on black cardboard. I touched up the pretty rough white strokes with black markers. I know, it sounds like a very unusual technique – but woodcut would have been worse.

© masereel / andrew lloyd webber / amblimation / universal pictures

watkiss 2

16 05 2011

JOHN WATKISS did rough studies like these to plan his big acrylic paintings during the pre-production of disney’s TARZAN.

© disney enterprises, inc / john watkiss

alex nino 9

15 11 2010

some more of ALEX NINO’S inspirational artwork for disney’s MULAN.

© disney enterprises, inc / alex nino

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.