Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Impeccable production design reflected even in Disney's title cards. This one has a decidedly Art Deco feel with instrumental overtones.


Presented here for your enjoyment, a digitally re-created pan background from the 1935 Silly Symphony MUSIC LAND.

Note the musical graphics integrated cleverly into the background art. The thrones include drums, tambourines, and saxophone bells, with cymbals hanging overhead. The burgundy, olive green and gold color palette is a delight to the eyes. The overall effect is both lavish and whimsical.

More to follow!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Gorgeous backgrounds digitally re-created from the classic Silly Symphony!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Check out this intriguing feature on "CELS AND SETUPS," our companion blog. Mysteries of the Art Corner revealed!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

A little more progress, A little less Stephen.

Here's a revised blocking on my shot even though the tutorship w/ Stephen is over. Although he said to keep sending WIP's his way , which I thought that was really cool.

I look back at the work I did for the tutorship and cant help but feel like I didn't "bring it" like I wanted to! I certainly couldn't have worked any harder. But I knew I wanted to zero in on acting , specifically characters interacting, cause thats what I felt I needed the most improvement on. And who better to get that kind of feedback from than a Pixar animator right?
One of the biggest things I'll take away from my time w/ Stephen is the idea of striving of a certain level of sophistication in your animation. And there are alot of elements that go into achieving that. He breaks down what some of those "elements" are here. I tell everyone that Stephen has set his standards extremely high for what he feels like is the good stuff, and it was cool to be able to tap into that .

I'm back to my "trying to stay as productive" routine of animating during the day at work, squeezing in some drawing during lunch, coming home and working on my shot until about 3-ish. I don't think I can sleep before 3 comfortably. I dont know when that started happening, but I always feel like I have to have something going on, and get really antsy when I dont. Which made 2007 just fly by!


This beautiful B/G has a lovely Polynesian tranquility, in stark contrast to Goofy's frenzied animated antics which transpire in front of it.

Luau, anyone?

The Saga of WIND WAGON SMITH (1961)

Disney goes modern with a vengeance! (Digitally re-created pan background.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yo Picasso!

A WIP started today at lunch. Seems like a real pleasant person to be around eh? Yo Picasso! Lighten up a little, son!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


These recreated backgrounds are from MELODY TIME (1948).

The first two are unmistakably Mary Blair. The music-staff-themed B/G is a very different style.

Great stuff!

Don't miss DOC and THUMPER...

New artwork has been posted on our companion blog, Cels and Setups.

Please have a look!


GOOFY: Two Weeks Vacation (1952)

Once again we can marvel at the level of artistry in the Disney short films. This terrific street scene features a wonderful building exterior, great play of light and shadow, and panache to spare.

Terrific, huh?

Monday, January 21, 2008


It's a safe bet that much of this film was a training ground for the forthcoming Disney adaptation of THE JUNGLE BOOK.

This incredible re-created pan background from GOLIATH II is imbued with strikingly similiar tropical details.

I have included the entire pan B/G, plus right and left sides so you can better appreciate the lavish attention to detail.


Sunday, January 20, 2008


Here is yet another digitally re-created ARISTOCATS piece, inside Madame Bonfamille's mansion. The fascinating thing about re-creating pans is we get to see the entire piece of artwork at once, in a way we never see it in the movie. The elegant intricacy of this artwork is stunning.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Don't miss MICKEY on "Cels and Setups!"

Copy and paste this link in your browser to have a look:


ARISTOCATS: Street Scenes

These digitally reconstructed backgrounds are the cat's pajamas!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Less than daily posting

Just a quick note to my loyal readers...

Sorry about the brief interruption in daily postings. Career demands kept me tied up this week. Sunday you got three B/Gs, today you get two. Hope the multiples kind of balance things out.

More on the way. Especially, please be sure to stop by this weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Shoulders of Giants

I'll have to, once again, direct your attention to Brian McDonald's Invisible Ink blog. I've been making my way through the amazing entries in his archives, but this one in particular struck a chord with me:
Standing on the shoulders of Giants.

In one section , he mentions telling his students to find what he calls a 'virtual mentor'. That is they should find a person or two or three (giants) to follow. That "When you find these virtual mentors try to be as much like them as possible and they will teach you things about your craft that you didn't even know were there to learn."

I thought it'd be cool to share the people who, consciously or subconsciously, I've used as "virtual mentors." (up to this point.)

Pablo Picasso- Like many others I've talked to, I was initially turned off by his work, and also like many others, was shocked to discover the virtuosity of his work as a youth. Here was an artist that spent his lifetime challenging and reinventing himself. He kicked off the modern art movement w/ a few paintings. Picasso came in, learned the rules, broke all of the rules, and changed the way people looked at art forever.

Glen Keane- What can I say about this guy. He is the single biggest reason I'm an animator today. I was in the 3rd quater of art school, I saw Tarzan, and it was over. The timing was perfect as I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. We all know of the rest of his illustrious career, but you listen to the guy talk now, and his passion for animation has not waned in the least. 35 years into his animation career and he still feels like there are things he could be better at. His work is always coming from some place personal and emotional, because that is the only way he could work. He's very candid about the struggles he's had in his career in a way that is completely relatable for someone like me.

Michelangelo Bounarroti- Every time I come across something I think is completely beyond my capabilities, I tell myself that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. The effing Sistine Chapel son! And he didn't even think it was any good, he thought it would surely ruin his career. I could go on and on about this man, most of which wouldnt be news to you. But after all of his accomplishments , I recently found this quote from him.
If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all. "

Suffice to say there are many many, many other artists along the way that I've followed to a greater or lesser degree. But I'm comfortable with these 3 sitting at the top.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tutoring w/ Stephen Gregory - Last Session!

Last night was my last session with Stephen. Here is the blocking of the new assignment I've been working on. I'll post the notes I took on it when I get home tonight. Because of his busy schedule, he'll be postponing his next tutorship session until the summer time.

On another note, I wanted to share an amazingblogsite that I stumbled upon yesterday. I check out tons and tons of art blogs, but Brian McDonald's Invisible Ink blogsite is chalk full of insightful, well thought-out, theories and opinions that artists, from many disciplines can take away from. I've been missing out and you have too! I'm still making my way through the archives.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME set a new standard for animation, even for the Walt Disney Company. Sophistication marked every aspect of this breathtaking film. This first set of digitally re-created backgrounds merely begins to suggests the beauty and scope of this modern Disney classic.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Disney featurette PAUL BUNYAN featured color styling by Eyvind Earle, whose work on "Sleeping Beauty" created a whole new look for Disney. PAUL BUNYAN continues the stylized, modern lookr. The forest motif is beautifully rendered, as you can readily see. The background credits for PAUL BUNYAN belong to Walt Peregoy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

This Weekend

Seattle vs. Green Bay.
Go Seahawks!

A Gamble

On Roy Disney and the features:
"He was wrong most of the time. The only time he might have been right was with Fantasia. It was a gamble. They were all gambles. Anybody who tries to do anything great is gambling. " -Bill Peet

Amen Brother!

The whole Bill Peet interview here

Sleeping Beauty: Eyvind Earle's Forest

The background art from SLEEPING BEAUTY had Eyvind Earle's paintings as a major component of the look and feel of this Disney classic. Note the distinctive style and texture!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tutoring w/ Stephen Gregory Update

For reasons unbeknowst to me, my notebook started to steadily decline again last week. As it was slowly self corrupting, I scrambled to back my files up on an external hard drive! After the dust settled, and I re-formatted/reinstalled everything, I found out that in my haste, I didnt back up the right files, and the work for the latest exercise was gone. So it was just as much my fault. Pretty lame right?

I've spent my time being disheartened by it, and I've already hit the ground running on a new test, and since there is only a week left of our tutorship, I' ll have accomplish the most work I can in less than a week!

So I'm tellin ya right now, don't expect anything fantastic, but I'll do my best. At least you'll still get to hear some great insights from Stephen! Thats where the gold is!

That's Hot!

OK, the Paris Hilton quote is SO 2007... but this B/G from 101 DALMATIANS is indeed hot. Red hot! The background is a major contributor to the energy of Pongo's flaming pursuit of bad guys Horace and Jasper.

Great and stylish!

Don't forget, animation fans, that you'll have a rare opportunity to see the newly restored version of 101 DALMATIANS on the big screen at Hollywood's El Capitan Theatre, playing two weeks at the end of January.

See you there!

Monday, January 7, 2008


The Silly Symphonies were the training field for Disney artists as the studio was ramping up and into SNOW WHITE production. This background art is lovely evidence.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Here are several very different backgrounds digitally recreated from THE THREE CABALLEROS.

This background was unusual, with (to me) a slightly FANTASIA feel to it...

Spotlights were featured heavily in the musical numbers, as well as two-toned backgrounds.

There are several wonderful street scenes such as this:

One set (background) pops out of a book!

The artwork for THE THREE CABALLEROS showed a lot of creativity, from the very simple color wash B/Gs to the more traditional (elaborate) Disney artwork.

As always, each works beautifully as the backdrop for Disney animation!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Here's a digitally re-created pan background from the classic Silly Symphony.

Incredible artistry!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Don't Miss "SLEEPING BEAUTY" on Cels and Setups


Goofy's Living Room

From FATHER'S WEEKEND (1953)...

It's no secret I love the 1950s California suburb design of the background art in this era. So charming. Like a visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house!

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This blog is about animation art. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the artwork.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Snow White: Dwarves Cottage Interior Pan

Here is a digitally recreated pan background of the dwarves cottage interior, from Snow White.

The subtlety of the color palette is lovely. This would never be seen today, when explosively colorful color palettes are a must.

Sometimes less is more...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008!

I had a great vacation. Hope you did too. Alot of time spent with my fiance,friends, family. Not a lot of drawing or animation done unfortunately, but here are some things we did do, in random order:

-I finally got to see the Wu-Tang Clan perform (12 years in the making!)
-I went to my first Sonics game. We walked away with the W (against the worst team in the NBA, and Durant sprained his wrist, but still.)
-The Patriots went 16-0. I celebrated.
-Picked up Rock Band!
-My countdown to New Years was actually about 15 minutes off. WTF? When was the last time you had some one tell you that.
- I got some really awesome family portraits painted by Cheryl's sister for Christmas, maybe I'll scan and post them.
- Caught up with a lot of old friends from Bremerton/Silverdale, at the War Room.
-Finally got into Heroes. Pretty good stuff, if you muscle past the cheesy first episodes. Also got the 3rd season of Lost for Christmas (Thanks Ev!) But didnt get around to watching it.
-Out of all the movies I wanted to see, I only Caught Sweeney Todd. Which was pretty good, though I didnt expect a musical, I know, ridiculous.
- Yuji Okumoto (the bad guy from Karate Kid 2) made us drinks at his restaurant, Kona Kitchen!

I'm really looking forward to this year.
I'm getting to go to my first Seahawks game this saturday, which is a playoff game! Nice ! Yes! Aaaand my 10 year high school reunion is this year, holy crap no.

With all the great holiday cards we've gotten this years, I offer you my embarrasingly unfinished holiday card that I couldnt finish before vacation!It's supposed to be Cheryl and I being pulled along on a sled by my two pups. Charming? Unfunny? Downright cruel? Why are those pups so huge? Sorry, I promise to work more on my storytelling skills this year!

I'll be posting more WIP's of my assignment with Stephen soon. Our last session is now on the 14th!

A Trip To The Beach!

What with winter storms thrashing their way across the United States, I thought y'all might enjoy a trip to the beach today.

This digitally re-constructed pan background comes from a Goofy short, "Father's Week-End" (1953).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


What a lovely way to start the New Year, with a digitally re-created background from Walt Disney's masterpiece BAMBI.

The muted color palette and the impeccable composition make this a true masterpiece in the annals of Disney background art.