Thursday, May 31, 2018

The next animation art auction by Heritage Auctions will take place on June 16 and June 17, 2018. The catalog contains some truly spectacular items. Here are three of my favorites: Above are pieces by Eyvind Earle created for an abandoned Disney project from the late '40s and early 1950s about the history of jazz; below is a splendid concept drawing by Mary Blair from Alice in Wonderland; and at the bottom are some character designs for the Horned King from The Black Cauldron by Mel Shaw.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Not sure yet what this new book is worth but I plan on finding out soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I just received my own copy of the second part of Steve Hulett's autobiography, Mouse in Orbit, and I love it. Steve relies on his memories but also on dozens of interviews that he conducted with artists from Disney and other studios to tell the story of animation's new golden age. If you are interested in that time period this is a "must have." 

Monday, May 28, 2018

I was happily surprised by the re-release of the autobiography of Disney director Dave Hand by Theme Park Press. I initially thought that the book would be a straight re-print of the book that had been released in the mid-'80s, but when I got my own copy of this new version, I realized that it contained quite a bit more, including a large section of gag drawings (non-Disney-related), memories by Dave's son, remembrances by his colleagues and even a few illustrations which did not appear in the original book. Sadly, in the core of his autobiography, Hand does not discuss his career at Disney in any depth. Thankfully this flaw is compensated by Michael Barrier's interview with Hand included at the end of the book.

So, if you do not already have this book and are interested in the career of Disney's right hand man on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this volume is definitely worth picking up.

Friday, May 25, 2018

After disappearing for a few weeks, the 4th volume of my They Drew As They Pleased book series, The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era (The 1950s and 1960s) is again available for pre-order on Amazon.

The book contains chapters about Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb, John Dunn and Walt Peregoy, and, as always, is full of never-seen-before artwork (more than 400 never-seen-before illustrations)!

It will be released on August 7.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

In a few weeks Heritage Auctions will conduct another of their amazing animation art auctions. I will be highlighting a few key pieces when the catalog comes fully online, but I have to admit that I could not resist to already mention those three drawings. This is the only example I have seen to date of drawings created (probably by Joe Grant) for the abandoned project The Hollywoods. In a memo to Ted Sears dated December 23, 1935, Walt wrote:

"Joe Grant and Bill Cottrell are quite enthused over this Hollywood idea where all the personalities of Hollywood are gathered together in bird and animal form in the big wood called Hollywoods. It is an idea that could be done in a travelogue style where Mickey, the Goof and the Duck have come back from a big expedition. They have brought back motion pictures and are showing them to the group -- the barnyard group -- or the animal group that we work with all the time. A lot of side play could come in between the characters presenting this thing and the characters watching it."

Monday, May 21, 2018

I read the first part of Steve Hulett's Disney memoirs (Mouse in Transition) with immense pleasure and can't wait to put my hands on this second instalment, Mouse in Orbit.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Life and Times of Ward Kimball: Maverick of Disney Animation by Todd James Pierce is now available for pre-order on Amazon. I have read the manuscript. It is really a great book. Can't wait.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Since They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 5 got the official go-ahead a few weeks ago and is already written (yes, I wrote it way before getting the official greenlight), I am now working on Volume 6, which features Joe Grant, Tim Burton, Hans Bacher, Mike Garbriel and Mike Giaimo.

While researching the abandoned project My Peoples / A Few Good Ghosts on which Mike Gabriel worked for a short time, I discovered this clip, which I believe many of you will enjoy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It looks as if Carsten Laqua's book will finally be released in English in August of this year. I simply cannot wait to read it. I have had it on my bookshelf in German for years and know it is a very important book. If this is real, this is excellent news!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Many of the drawings by Albert Hurter included in the books He Drew As He Pleased and in the first volume of They Drew As They Pleased remain mysterious even in the eyes of experienced Disney scholars. I am still trying to figure out, for example, why Hurter created a large series of drawings of mechanical jungle animals. I strongly suspect that they were developed for a proposed Silly Symphony that was later abandoned, but I am yet to find any concrete information about that specific project.

Which is why I was glad to finally find out a few days ago, why those scarecrow drawings were created. The answer could be found in an extremely rare list of Disney story ideas, compiled in December 1939, in which we find the following idea, submitted by story man Webb Smith:

[Scarecrows come to life in the twilight of an autumn corn field; they drink from a jug of liquor and go into a dance…with male and female scarecrows. They go to a barn nearby, find trunks of period costumes and some old musical instruments. They put on a barn dance. Next, they go to the old swimming hole, toss their clothes on the bank and jump in. This reveals their bodies as being sacks of straw. When they come out they put on any clothing they find, since it has become mixed up. They go to the deserted darkened village in a truck and break into a bakery. As dawn is breaking they furiously crank the truck which finally starts and go back to their perches.]

Monday, May 14, 2018

Two interesting magazine covers about Disney's corporate acquisitions. One from the US and one from France.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Do not miss today:

Changing Trains in Chicago by Michael Barrier.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

I just received a copy of The Art of Incredibles 2. What excites me most about concept art is usually character designs. Since Incredibles 2 is a sequel there is much less character designs in this book, of course. And yet, like all of other Chronicle Books' "art of" volumes this one is beautifully produced and makes you look forward to the movie release. I thoroughly enjoy it.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Great new blog about The Making of Roger Rabbit launched a few days ago by author Ross Anderson. Definitely worth a daily visit!

Friday, May 04, 2018

Sad news: Dave Michener, Animator on 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'The Jungle Book,' Dies at 85.

You will find my interview with Dave in Walt's People - Volume 5.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

I just learned that the Spring 2017 issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly contains an excellent article titled "'When You Wish Upon a Star': The Musical Legacy of Utah Composer Leigh Harline." I have a feeling that some of you will be interested in knowing this.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The autobiography of comic book artist Freddy Milton has just been released. Can't wait to read it.