Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Behind the Scenes of Peter Pan

Kathryn Beaumont visits John Hench in this publicity still. Hench was a color stylist on the movie Peter Pan. Here he is looking at a layout for the the scene below, a gigantic camera move during the flight to Neverland sequence.

Image/Hans Bacher blog:

Co director Ham Luske helps out during the filming of a live action scene. He is holding his young son Tommy Luske, who plays Michael as he flies into Wendy's arms. The final frame shows a different camera angle.

Actor Roland Dupree holds Kathryn Beaumont for a scene in which Peter Pan protects Wendy from Captain Hook. The final frame is one of my favorite images from the film.
Staging and lighting are phenomenal, magic!

There are many posts about Peter Pan in this blog, here is one that I like in particular:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Robin Hood Designs

I have written before about the ever changing design of the character of Robin Hood. Here are two images representing the initial version of Robin and Little John followed by their final designs. This opening scene was animated by John Lounsbery. Since Milt Kahl was the character design guru, he made sure that those opening scenes by Lounsbery represented the latest and final version of the characters.
Here are a few draw overs by Milt (over Lounsbery's animation) to ensure character consistency.
I think these sketches are beautiful, sensitively drawn and very appealing.

More on this topic here:

And here:

And here:

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lagoon Fish

The most fun sequence in Bedknobs and Broomsticks is arguably the Soccer Game between the Dirty Yellows and the True Blues. But the preceding underwater sequence has its moments as well. As usual the live action/animation mix is done extremely well, as you can see in the frame above. Angela Lansbury holding an animated/drawn trophy looks magical. It is always such a pleasure to see live actors interacting with drawn characters in such a way!
Here are a few sheets with design drawings for a variety of fish characters. Milt Kahl's drew some of them, his drawings are sketchier than the ones done by other artists.

Here is the link to an earlier post about the film's soccer game:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Reluctant Dragon Feature Film

I love The Reluctant Dragon. The animated short as well as the whole "behind the scenes" 1941 feature film. Disney released the movie as bonus material in glorious HD together with the Blu-Ray edition of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, combined with Fun and Fancy Free.
I am sure many of you have seen this "documentary" and you probably spotted a few Disney artists in the drawing class scene, or when Robert Benchley visits Ward Kimball's office together with Fred Moore.
As I understand it, most key personal was part of the live action shoot in one role or another. But not everybody made the final cut, like Marc Davis and Milt Kahl.
It's no surprise that Woolie Reitherman got some screen time, after all he animated the introductory scenes of the Dragon.

In this animal drawing class you can easily recognize Retta Scott, Jack Kinney, Eric Larson and Ken Anderson in the front.

But look here: As the camera follows Benchley walking in front of the commissary you can see Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston leaning against the wall.

A few seconds later Les Clark shows up in the center of the frame. Geez...those trees in front of the animation building are gigantic today.

A fantastic rough animation drawing by Ward Kimball is currently offered at Heritage Auctions:

That short poem about a poor little upside down cake is one of the most hilarious moments in Disney Animation. The fact that the Dragon moves himself to tears as he is reciting it makes me laugh out loud each time I watch it. Kimball gold!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Milt Kahl Drawings of Penny

I believe that this cel represents one of the earliest scenes animated featuring Penny from The Rescuers. Ollie Johnston started animation on Penny as she interacts with Rufus, the cat, in the orphanage. In the rough drawings below she is offering the cat a cookie. These were actually done by Milt Kahl, who gave Ollie a helping hand as far as character design and solid drawing goes.
Wonderful sketches, even though it's obvious that Penny is related to Mowgli.

This rough drawing is from one of Milt's own scenes toward the end of the movie. Snoops had just pulled Penny out of the cave below, when he suddenly lets go of the rope. His excitement and attention is now with the diamond that Medusa is holding.
When drawing this rough, Milt's enormous power for analyzing and staging a character comes to the surface.

For Ollie Johnston drawings of Penny and Rufus go here:


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Milt's Mr. Toad Drawings

Milt Kahl animated key scenes with characters like MacBadger, Rat and Mole for the Mr. Toad section of the 1949 film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The scene above is one of those scenes. Even this one frame reveals Kahl's extraordinary strength for clear staging, superior drawing and an overall feeling for contrasting personalities. 
To my knowledge Milt didn't do any scenes with Toad, that character was primarily handled by Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and Ward Kimball. But as usual Milt was on hand when it came to improving  the draughtsmanship of scenes done by his colleagues.
Here are three beautiful sketches that he made for his fellow animators.

A few rough animation drawings of Rat from Milt's own animation. He never spoke highly about his work on short films, but as you can see, he always gave his best on the post war "package films".  It's just that he preferred the fuller character development of Disney feature films. For the upcoming movie Cinderella Milt animated the King and Duke as well as the Fairy Godmother.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

More Pongo and Perdita Poses

These are sections from a model sheet made up of Milt Kahl pre-animation poses of Pongo and Perdita. For some reason this model sheet was never printed and circulated around the studio. Perhaps because subtle changes were still made for final designs. The amount of spots was greatly reduced for obvious reasons. 
These dogs are every bit as realistic as Lady and the Tramp. Its just that the relationship between lines and shapes was enforced for a strong graphic look.

A few of these poses appeared as rough sketches in earlier posts:

I love the way Pongo's soft neck skin reacts to the pull of the collar in the last drawing.