Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Merr-Hee Christmas!

Okay, I'm super late for Christmas, but I didn't have my blog until January! This is a fun piece though, and I can't wait until December to upload it.

Disney artist T. Hee appears to have taken some time out of his animating (it's written on what appears to be thin animation paper) to make a very long Christmas card list for himself. I love the sketch on the side of what, I assume, was the design for his Christmas card that year (undated). It is also great fun to see the names of so many great artists and people including Frank Thomas, Bud Swift, Roy Disney, Bill Peed, and even Fred Moore's brother-in-law in Lancaster (whomever he may be!). Also of note is his misspelling of Ollie Johnston's name.
I know my Christmas card list every year is no where near as fun as his was.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Last Word

Today we bid aloha to selections from the Storyboard magazine. The best way to do that, of course, is with some Walt quotes. Happy reading and happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

"May I have your autograph?"

I don't know about all of you, but being the Disney fan I am, I often phone doodle Walt's signature. I have for years. It's probably the most animated signature I've seen, and it really is quite fun to try and perfect. I love it, and I've even stolen part of it for my own signature. (Thanks, Walt! :D )
Here's a bit of info on the world's most well known autograph.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our Uncle Walt

Work has been a bit hectic lately, so I apologize for the dry blogging week. I have some fun things that are lined up to be scanned this week, but before we get to those things, I'd like to finish off the scans from the Storyboard magazine over the next few days.

Above are some great pictures of Walt, which, like his quotes, a true Disney fan can never have enough of.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Great Peter Ellenshaw, 1913-2007

The world has lost an amazing artist. Peter Ellenshaw has been and always will be one of my favorite artists. He is a genius and will be greatly missed.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I can't go without wishing everyone a sweet and love-filled Valentine's Day! Have a great one! :D

Remembering Walt - Part 2

Here is the second part of Remembering Walt. I think it speaks for itself so I will leave off the commentary and let you enjoy it!

It's not often that I'll post anything that's non-Disney related, but this is to a small extent. If you have not seen the hugely eye-opening film on Wal-Mart, put everything down and do so now here. It is worth your time, and definitely better than anything you might watch on TV today. As most of us know, Wal-Mart does carry a lot of Disney products, so it's fitting for this blog! After seeing this film, not only am I disgusted, but I will never spend a dime in a Wal-Mart store ever again. It literally brought me to tears. We all need to be responsible shoppers and care about the big picture.

In other non-Disney news... THE POLICE is back together and TOURING!!! Yes, there is a God.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Escalation" a film by Ward Kimball, 1968

Okay, I post this, not because I completely understand all of the symbolism in how it relates to Vietnam and the times, but because it is a film by Ward Kimball that was just posted on YouTube the other day. If you visit the page it's on you will see quite a few comments about it. I am going to assume that in the coming days this will generate much talk on a lot of Disney websites.
Please use caution as this file contains some explicit material.
I'd really like to know what all of you think about this piece. Please leave a comment if you feel moved to do so! :D

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Remembering Walt - Part 1

Can we remember Walt enough? It seems so many admirers of him, be it professionally or personally, always seem to want to learn more about the man who was Walt Disney. What made his mind tick? Where did all of his amazing ideas spring from? Why did he have this incredible and innate ability when it appears so few people possess this skill now? How can we get it? So many questions.
Walt is someone I've always found to be so fascinating. I think what sparks my interest stems from his uniqueness and his refusal to be like the guy down the street (while, ironically, still being like the guy down the street). He had this balance. He wasn't content with average ideas, or even good ideas. He always shot for the BEST ideas, the new, innovative, hyper-creative ideas. Yet, he could pair that innovation with something tried and true. Something classically great that we were all familiar and comfortable with.
So often it's difficult to accept something that is different even if it is innovative. There can sometimes be a foreboding aspect to it. How many of us sat blankly in front of our computers when the Internet came to be? Feeling overwhelmed, lost, yet knowing it had near limitless potential. We knew it was very cool, yet it was intimidating and it took many of us years to really be comfortable with using it. Walt knew how to get beyond these feelings.
Back in the 60s, the idea of a robot was probably (I missed the 60s!) pretty crazy. Futuristic, sterile, sci-fi, unwelcoming, and scary. In a classic sense I think it still scares me to an extent even today. But the audio-animatronic! That's a completely different story! Walt made you want them in your own homes. He fascinated you, showed you how they worked, told you stories with them, used them to entertain you and even to give you a history lesson. He packaged them up beautifully and took them to places unimagined. It's 2007, and I would never consider having a regular technological type robot in my home. As a matter of fact, I'd flat out refuse, even if it cleaned my entire house. But give me that AA Johnny Depp anytiiiiiime! It's just one example of so many.
The above article (yes, I do love my paper Disney!) is part one of two. Enjoy this beautiful weekend day reading about great people's experiences with a great man. I hope it makes you feel a bit inspired to do something new in your day!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Happiest Place on Earth - Vintage Style!

It's a Disneyland day! Here I found a new file, only recently uploaded, of some one's late 1960s trip to Disneyland.
Check out Tomorrowland back in the day. It's amazing in pictures, but to see it in motion... and there is so much motion!... is something entirely different. Check how everyone actually wants to be there! And folks, this was pre-Space Mountain, so they're lining up for all the other amazing attractions. Imagine that! Pay attention to the theming of the area and the infusion of some seriously killer color in the landscaping for that delicious contrast that is ever so inviting. It literally beckons you to come forth and experience something totally different from the rest of the park. Not quite like the 1998 renovation, when everything was so color coordinated it looked as though designers from "Designed to Sell" came in and attempted to make it an easy sell to buyers with bland taste and limited imaginations. (Coppery brown did not say 'Welcome!') In recent times we have of course seen some of those pukey colors turn back into a bit of the old, but that blue color that they accented things with all over the place has a cold, antiseptic quality that is not scoring too many points with me. Yes, it's unarguably better than before, but not as good as the past; though I still hold high hopes for the future... one day!
I'll end my artistic rant here. ;)
Another thing I like about this footage is the family time. Seeing families together at Disneyland is a beautiful thing. And I especially give it up to Grandma who hauled her cookies around the park with a smile! Please be sure to note Mom's hair. She should have been thankful that, at the time, most of the Mountains were not in place, although I do think her hair could have survived something even nuclear. Knock em dead, Mom!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Take a Mary Blair Break!

While bopping around YouTube, as I do often, I found this fun little clip from The Three Caballeros. Not one of those Disney films people seem to take much notice of, but it's always been one of my favorites. Many people call it one of Disney's 'throw away' or 'packaged' films but to me it's a fun artistic adventure with really great energy about it that I could just eat! I find myself watching this film on days that have been somewhat drab and mundane. A Monday when it's back to the grind, as they say. It injects some color and vitality into my day that otherwise wouldn't have been present.
One of the driving reasons why I love this film so much is that it's steeped in Mary Blair art. Just watch the clip above. It's fun, it's fanciful, it's dripping with delicious color! It's definitely a sensory thing, and I defy it not to brighten your day!
So click play and suck up the tremendous color and have a delightful day! :D

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Walt a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde?

We're goin' way back today folks! All the way back to 1934. After Steamboat Willie, but before Snow White. This article is from an April 1934 issue of Photoplay, and it seems even way back then Disney was creating some criticism- albeit weak.

Now, I'm no fan of the media. I like facts (researched, real, live, actual, untainted facts), I like stories free of anything one-sided, and editorials have never been my bag, but I have to say, at least this author cops to his attempt to write a one-sided article. That, in itself, is refreshing.

A rather ridiculous problem he has with Walt, in my opinion, but it makes me laugh at how his generally paranoid stance gets beaten down by parents and professionals alike; all singing the praises of Walt. I'm not entirely sure if the piece is completely serious or not, but he seems pretty adamant about his point of view.

I don't remember being scared by these cartoons as a small child. I remember being enchanted by them (especially the pigs), and loving them very much. Perhaps I wasn't a child that was easily scared, I don't know. Not much scared me... besides Bette Davis, clowns, and this cheese dish my grandmother made... so perhaps the author has a small point. You be the judge. Were any of you scared of the wolf/ogres? To refresh your memory I have included 2 stills from the cartoons below.

I have also included two praises for both the Three Little Pigs and Lullaby Land from a January 1934 issue of Photoplay (below) for a sample of the everyman's opinion of these cartoons two months before the above article was written. Happy reading!

The Other Holy Grail

I've heard a lot of people criticize Walt's style of drawing. Did he have that professional artistic feel to his drawings? Not exactly. But neither were they pedestrian. Granted, there are few examples of Walt's drawings, but the ones I have seen have a sweet, innocent charm about them that I really love. I've heard many fellow artists say that they try very hard to be able to draw like a child; to take it back decades and try to capture the simplicity of subject that children have the ability to do. I think Walt had that. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't refined, but it certainly made you smile.
Now, the article is not clear how much of this strip Walt had a hand in visually... I'd assume the majority of the drawing is most certainly done by Ub Iwerks, but so much of art is in staging, composition, and all the rough sketches to which I'm very sure Walt had a big hand in. I think his simplicity translates.
Not only is the story cute, but the composition is very nice, too. The drawings are nicely balanced for early comic strips, and there's a lot of action and vitality in them that makes them so eye catching and interesting. If I were a child in the 1930's, I'm certain I would have snatched up the paper each morning and checked out Mickey's newest adventure for the day. How fun that would have been!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Gems from '55!

1955 was a good year. Not only did we see the opening of Disneyland but we also got... the 1955 Nash? All right, I confess I know absolutely nothing about cars, just that you're supposed to change the oil every 3,000 miles (though mine has been just peachy on 9,000), and of course I can fill the tank up. But I do know about art, and I find these (extremely) stylized versions of Mickey and Pluto absolutely adorable! They're so simplistic, but still so charming.
I'm not sure the Nash could corner like the cat and Pluto do, but having these characters sell your product must have been pretty sweet back in the day.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Plight of the Bumble Bee

Anyone interested in Disney animation should click over to Hans Perk's blog, A. Film L.A., today and check out his wonderful post on the storyboard art of Plight of the Bumble Bee. This 56 year old, shelved piece of animation was animated by such incredible artists as Fred Moore, Hal King, and Cliff Nordberg. Amazing stuff to look at!

"... Stay loose, and keep laughing!"

It's been a long week. It's the first day of February. I'm crackin' open some Ward! Being an artist, this guy has always been high on my list of Disney talent I have long admired. Not just for his amazing abilities, but because he's such a colorful figure. Quirky with a light seasoning of eccentricity, this is the kind of subject I find so fascinating.
It's a fun interview, I enjoy reading it... but not as much as I would enjoy reading that journal of his he speaks about!
And how about that ad for "Chuck and Marian Jones - In Person"? Now that would have been one sweet opportunity!