Archive for the 'Disney' Category

Scandalous Pencil Test


I promised myself that I wouldn’t post content found at Andreas Dejas blog more than once a week, but it’s so damn hard to resist. So many wonderful roughs and pencil tests. I just hope he starts pacing himself or he’s going to burn out.

Today’s clip is by Ollie Johnston. The design is unmistakably Freddie Moore, but no one has figured out where the clip is from, if it’s from anything. I love how raw it is in comparison to the other clips Dejas has been posting; the lack of detail or clean-up, the static holds. That and it reminds me of that urban legend about the gag footage animated by Disney artists showing Jiminy Cricket and Tinker Bell getting it on.

Posted in Animation, Disney on June 16th, 2011 by Steven

Sleeping Beauty Pencils

Via Cartoon Brew comes news that Disney animator Andreas Deja has started a blog. The truly exciting part about this announcement is that he plans on posting odds and ends he’s collected during three decades working at the studio; treasures like the pencils by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas for Cinderella shown above. I’ve watched that clip at least a dozen times already, and I’m sure I’ll watch it a dozen more before the end of the day.

Posted in Animation, Disney on June 8th, 2011 by Steven

The Castaway

Only someone from The Greatest Generation would have the gumption to perform an impromptu concert upon washing up on a deserted island.

I picked up Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse collection last night, a book I’ve been waiting to own since I first read about Floyd Gottfredson in The Comic Book Book over 25 years ago. I’ll try to write up a proper review at a later date. For now, I present one of the cartoons mentioned in the collection, The Castaway; notable for showcasing a gag that originated in the comic strip.

It’s certainly interesting seeing Mickey Mouse separated from his regular milieu. I wonder if the comic strip had more of an influence then just the gag. Other than that, it’s pretty standard early Mickey, with a few funny pieces of business like Mickey’s shriek and the ape’s look of confounded concentration.

Posted in Animation, Disney on June 7th, 2011 by Steven

On Ice

I’m slowly making my way through Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men by John Canemaker, and thought I’d share a moment from the chapter on Eric Larson.

In On Ice (1935), Mickey and Minnie skated through a long scene with big, open-mouthed smiles on their faces because, said Larson, “they were happy.” Walt sat glumly watching, then abruptly said to Larson, “Can’t they ever shut their damned mouths?”

Animation is serious business, kids. Every frame of every scene is placed under heavy scrutiny by a number of people. I don’t think there’s a single scene I’ve worked on that I haven’t watched at least a dozen times at regular speed, slowed to a crawl and even backwards before submitting it. And even though most adjustments wouldn’t be consciously noticed by the viewer, and may not seem necessary, they do contribute to the overall feel of the thing. Sometimes a scene will seem off without revisions, even if the audience isn’t able to put their finger on why, exactly.

Posted in Animation, Disney on June 4th, 2011 by Steven

Winter Storage

There are plenty of obvious reasons why studios produce animation, but there are a few advantages over live-action most people wouldn’t consider. Mouth movements tend to be less intricate, usually making it easier to dub cartoons into different languages. Anthropomorphized animals can transcend cultural differences. And they just seem to age better. By this point there aren’t many people alive who actually lived through the events that Looney Tunes referenced, but most people get by just fine.

I was curious what, if anything, was made public on this date sometime in the past. It turns out Winter Storage was released on June 3rd, 1949, 62 years ago. I tend not to think too much about dates when looking at these cartoons, because when I do it usually blows my mind. There’s nothing terribly remarkable about Winter Storage, other than it being better than most commercial animation being produced today. It’s like discovering that Flash Gordon serials are actually newsreels and they had something in the past which we’ll never regain.

Posted in Animation, Disney on June 3rd, 2011 by Steven

Donald’s Better Self

In his Animator’s Survival Kit, Richard Williams talks about the time he went to a screening of The Jungle Book. Having gained just enough experience over the years to know how hard it is to work in the medium, Milt Kahl’s mastery over weight and character on display in made him reevaluate his aversion to Disney animation.

I had a similiar experience, though it wasn’t quite as dramatic. Donald Duck bouncing along with his entire body swaying back and forth is so far beyond anything I’ve done or will likely ever be allowed to do.

Posted in Animation, Disney on May 30th, 2011 by Steven

Disneyland Intro

Every time I start a new job my interest in animation is renewed, and I spend my down time rereading my favourite book on the subject; Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation by John Canemaker. I love how Canemaker uses the lives of the Nine Old Men as a springboard for talking about the history of the entire studio and dozens of other animators, but most of all I appreciate that he includes the frustrations and disappointments they experienced in addition to the triumphs. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re not alone.

I finished the chapter on the first of the Old Men tonight, Les Clark. Canemaker mentioned that one of his most fondly remembered pieces of animation was of Tinkerbell in the original Disneyland opening, which I had never seen before.

Posted in Animation, Disney on May 29th, 2011 by Steven

Mickey’s Service Station

I just landed a sweet gig and I feel like celebrating with some cartoon goodness.

I love the look of black-and-white films made in the 60s, titles like Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, and The Flesh Eaters. While most films of the era were still adjusting to colour, those photographed in black-and-white were able to take full advantage of decades of innovation.

That’s the first thing to really hit me in Mickey’s Service Station, the second to last Disney short made in black-and-white. It’s all the finesse of animation from the dawn of the colour era combined with the pinnacle of commercial black-and-white gradation. It’s like it’s from another world.

Posted in Animation, Disney on May 26th, 2011 by Steven

Dig Those Crazy Beats!

Posted in Disney, Fred Moore on May 25th, 2009 by Gary