Sunday, November 29, 2009

THE RESCUERS (Disney, 1977)

Today we're once again taking a look at art from THE RESCUERS. Scroll down to see two additional posts of digitally restored backgrounds.

THE RESCUERS level of artistry was very good indeed. While it certainly wasn't SNOW WHITE or FANTASIA, it was and is a beautifully crafted film.

Cost-cutting at the studio was always a concern, but especially after Walt's death. The eyes of THE RESCUERS mice had no whites, just a gray background. Legend has it Don Bluth was so incensed at this it was a key reason for his departure from Disney, which eventually led him to open his own animation studio.

The movie's poignancy was no doubt a reflection of many of the artists' feelings at the studio, as the older animators prepared to retire and passed the baton on to the younger animators.

It's a lovely, unpretentious and unashamedly sentimental film... perhaps that's why it is so endearing.

THE RESCUERS - After Dusk on the Bayou

THE RESCUERS - Penny's Orphanage


Here are two additional POCAHONTAS backgrounds. Each is extraordinary in its own way.

The first is the deepest level background from a multi-layer pan "in." I tried to recreate the entire pan but too many layers moved. At least I was able to eliminate all digital "cel" overlays. It's a gorgeous sunset.

The second is beautifully delicate...

I find both of these to seem vaguely reminiscent of artwork from "FANTASIA." What do you think?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I wanted to do something Thanksgiving related today. I can't recall any Thanksgiving cartoons, so I was thinking native Americans... thought momentarily about Little Hiawatha and decided on continuing the POCAHONTAS series.

Enjoy the artwork, and your turkey dinner... Happy Thanksgiving!
Here's a magnificent rendering of a cornfield:

Mother Earth:

A recreated pan complete with Meeko the raccoon!

And a closer look at the left side of the pan...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Nutcracker Prince (1990)

Today it's our pleasure to enjoy some more wonderful artwork painted by artist Peter Moehrle. He sent them to me to share with you. How cool is it that the artist shared his own production art with us??!!!

These come from an animated film on which Peter worked: "The Nutcracker Prince" (1990).

It was made in Ottawa and Peter did visual development, layouts and backgrounds. Mediums used were watercolor inks on paper, and gouache.

He very modestly wrote: "if you feel they are good enough to post on your site you can."

This is truly beautiful work, Peter! Readers, notice the luxurious texture of his art... the wonderful color palettes (icy blues!) and the overall excellence of his concepts and execution. All the elements combined are expressive and full of feeling.

If seeing these beautiful B/Gs makes you curious about the DVD, (I know it did me!), it's available at Amazon for a whopping $5.98! Copy and paste this link:

Seeing these little masterpieces gives us another blessing to count. Thanks again for sharing, Peter. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Peter Moehrle Blogs!!!

Artist Peter Moehrle has started his own blog:

His wonderful animation B/G art is just one small part of this gentleman's talent. Check it out at:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Gaston at the Pub

Tonight, two digitally recreated B/Gs from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. There's a lot of taxidermy going on...

This second pan is another case of not being able to remove character art, but at least I could piece together the entire pan, which is still pretty fascinating to see...

Notice, the character entering on the right is also under Gaston's chair! (The pan starts to move in the very first frame, as he walks into the scene, thus no way to eliminate him...)

Shadow Begone!

Recently I posted a batch of B/G art from the 1946 Disney short CLOWN OF THE JUNGLE. There was a particular background in which I was able to remove the characters, but one shadow never went away.

Well, guess what?

I was delighted to receive by email that same background, with hand-painted retouching (I assume via Photoshop), shared by artist Peter Moehrle! He is a truly master at animation background art, with a dazzling style and a resume to match. Among his credits, he trained all the background artists on Disney Studio's LILO AND STITCH in the fine art of watercolor backgrounds. He also worked on MULAN. He is the real deal, a genuine animation background artist, with Disney studio credits (and others).

Here is a small version of what I was able to achieve, my "semi-original," coupled with Peter's beautifully retouched version.

Thank you Peter!

Friday, November 13, 2009


I had the tremendous pleasure Thursday night of seeing a preview of Disney's new cartoon feature (and I use those words lovingly and respectfully).


It is everything Disney animation afficionados hoped for! The visuals are gorgeous and spectacular, the music is tremendous, and the storytelling is compelling - beautifully interplaying comedic, scary and heart-tugging elements with deft skill.

All the animation is brilliant, but in particular Eric Goldberg has outdone himself with his animation for "Louis," the trumpet-playing alligator!

I also loved "Ray," the cajun firefly.

Those of us who love traditional animation MUST support this effort with great enthusiasm. Plan a party, ask your friends to join you, and buy LOTS of tickets.

I am hoping this will get the box office sales it deserves - and become a blockbuster. It's definitely got the Disney magic... and might just become an instant classic!

CLOWN OF THE JUNGLE (Disney, 1946)

Walt Disney presents...

a cartoon starring Donald Duck!


Credits, including layout by Yale Gracey and B/G art by Thelma Witner:

You can watch it on YouTube:

I couldn't figure out how to do the first, opening pan B/G because of the moving multiplane layers in the foreground.

But I managed to re-create the second pan B/G, and the nearly-infinite length of this pan B/G easily qualifies it as a contender for the longest piece I've ever digitally re-created...

Here's a closer look at the left side of the pan...

And the right side (birds are obviously cel overlays):

and more B/G art from this film:

I love the subtle and somewhat abstract design of this mid-tree leafy view:

Notice the brilliant angled horizon here:

I was able to digitally remove Donald and the Aracuan bird, but that shadow refused to budge!

This pan is a right-to-left shot, and as you can see the crazy Aracuan bird appears in very first frame (on the right)...

Here's a close-up view from another shot/segment:

and that's THE END!