Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Walt - Thanks For The Joy

One the many facets of Walt beyond his accomplishments that I find enduring was his genuine love of animals. This nice photo was taken in 1954 by photographer Tom Blau shows Walt in Paris feeding pigeons. A tender image to mark Walt's 112th birthday.

A few days ago I was thinking about how would we have made it through the 20th Century without Walt and the many talents who joined him? Sure somebody would eventually have lifted animation to an art form, but would it have had such joy as Walt's work gave to Depression weary audiences? or would it have been cynical like much of today's stuff?

There is so much that followed Mickey, the growth of Looney Tunes and MGM Cartoons which along with Walt's films  helped audiences through the dark years of World War II. We take so much of our culture for granted now, much of it has been a direct and indirect offshoot of Walt's push to elevate animation to another level as well as the creation of family entertainment and indeed the all important theme park which every conglomerate wants these days but cannot really duplicate.

Walt's work, his animated films were genuine, not corporate. To watch Snow White, to watch Bambi and many others you get a glimpse at Walt's soul. He lives through his work.

Happy Birthday Walt, thanks for the magic and showing dreams come true.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy 85th Birthday Mickey

Walt Disney once said, "That it all started with a mouse", while the studio actually started with the Alice Comedies it was very true in what Walt and the studio became. For Walt, it ushered in more money than he ever dreamed which gave him the ability to expand the art and language of animation culminating with the classic features. His dogged determination to hold onto Mickey, something all us creative types could learn from, gave him that rare freedom to control his destiny and take Mickey beyond movies and into TV and theme parks.

But Walt's words have even more meaning when taken into context with where we are today. While I believe that eventually somebody would have done something with animation, it may have taken decades had it not been for Mickey and for all intents and purposes may have ended up relegated solely to art. More astonishing to consider is how through Mickey, Walt changed the entertainment landscape and how people view pop culture.  Not only that, since 1928 millions have grown up with childhood memories of Mickey and other Disney films, remembering fondly the first films their parents took them to see. Everything since 1928 owes some debt to Walt's belief in a little mouse.

So in honor of "the mouse that roared"enjoy these sequential drawings from his first official cartoon STEAMBOAT WILLIE.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happy Belated 90th

The Walt Disney Company celebrated it's 90th anniversary last Wednesday. The company is a far cry from what it was on October 16, 1923 and indeed anytime under Walt and Roy's control. While I am a Star Wars fan and grew up on Marvel comics, and am a stockholder I feel something of Walt has been lost. Even the classics which he made no longer carry his name on the repackaging. That's marketing I guess.

Here are a few stills from WALT'S movies Bambi and The Three Caballeros to honor the company's rich legacy.

Friday, August 9, 2013


When I look at these models I'm reminded of how Disney's caricaturists were up top with the likes of Al Hirschfield. I'm not entirely sure, but I am assuming Joe Grant's model department must have been behind these.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Profiles in History - July 31 animation auction

As per usual Profile in History is holding an animation art auction full of great pieces, here are just a few I like:

Hank Porter

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jungle Book II Layouts

Going through my portfolio recently I came to realize that it's been a long time since I worked for the Disney Company at it's Australian studio. Even longer since working on the Jungle Book sequel as a layout artist. I can't believe it's been over 10 years already.

OK, the sequels certainly aren't and probably never will be classics, in some ways they turned my off the originals for a while. Maybe that was because we watched the originals over and over again. It's a pity that if sequels really had to be made they couldn't find better stories instead of obvious bad rehashing of the original material.

When we started layout on Jungle Book II we were given a pile of copies of layouts from the original film which we started out learning how to draw with the intention of following the style. Little did we know what a nightmare the production would become and how disappointing it would be to find that an executive high up made the decision that the film would have its own look.

That's right, for some reason we were suddenly making a sequel which appart from the main characters would have little in common with it's classic predecessor. As you can see, even the village was redesigned. All I can say about that is, who knows? In my mind a sequel should visually relate to the original while expanding on it.

Some very talented people worked on the film, including director Steve Trenbirth, it's a shame it wasn't a better film.

For me personally, I got to work with some ex-Disney feature guys who really helped lift our game in layouts. Some of my work can be seen here. Maybe one day I'll watch it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hank Porter Preliminary Snow White Strip

There is an awesome comic art auction at Heritage Auctions and these beautiful preliminary pencils by Hank Porter for the Snow White strip. I may bid, not sure, they sure are nice. Personally I've always preferred rough pencil drawings to finished art.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Walt and Ed Sullivan - 1956

From the reverse:

"Striding across the Disney Studio in Hollywood, Ed Sullivan(left) discusses his next CBS-TV "Toast of the Town" biographical feature, "The Walt Disney Story,"with its subject, the great animated cartoonist himself.

"The Disney Story"will be telecast Sunday, Feb.8. "

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013.


To ring in 2013, here's an original BG I have in my collection. It's the opening shot of the Goofy short The Art of Self Defense. Enjoy.