Friday, September 4, 2020

Disney Publishing, Then & Now

 

My copy is the one on the left

A few of us were discussing the differences in the publishing tastes over the years regarding the classic Disney children's book illustration.

Sleeping Beauty was brought up as an example so I thought I would share my copy (on the left) with the current version on the right. The original employed an artistic take on the film's style for its cover with the other version decades later using essentially a frame of the film as the guide for its cover. Make no mistake, the interior of the original was loaded with art that was true to the film.

You'll have to excuse the tattered look of my copy as it was given to me by my grandmother in 1957. It's a first edition written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by the key stylist of the film- Eyvind Earl along with another huge talent Julius Svendsen. It's well worn by my reading it many times during my childhood (and still enjoyed by me today!). It also showcases many concept paintings by Eyvind which are stunning!
On the right is the 1986 version. Although it is still published as a "Big Golden Book" it only measures 8¼" x 11" whereas the one of the left was 10¼" x 13". Also the number of illustrations in the later release was cut down by a third from the original edition.

The original was much closer to the film with its dynamic interior illustrations and style then the 80s version which is still being sold by Disney. The later/current edition has also removed all of the Eyvind Earl concept pieces that had earlier been displayed so beautifully in the original edition.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Little Man of Disneyland!

Opening Green Screen test
Since it’s difficult for our family to get together during this pandemic as it is for many, Patty and I thought why not adapt some of our favorite picture books into little animatics that we could share via email? “Walt Disney’s Little Man of Disneyland” is one of the lovely Little Golden Books we used to read to our daughters Kimberly and Kristin at bedtime. With Disneyland’s re-opening delayed to help insure the health of guests and cast members, we decided to share that one.

Our adaptations are not animated but more like simple camera moves across the artwork. The credits title card was fun way of sharing the names of the illustrator, author and composer of the music we used.
In some cases we added and repainted the book illustrations a bit to adapt from a book page image to the video format. Some folks were asking what we changed so here are a couple of examples that will help illustrate what we did. Make no mistake though, Dick Kelsey is a legendary Disney artist who did a magnificent job on the original book. Dick Kelsey is one of my favorite artists from the Little Golden Book era of Walt's day and had quite a successful career in feature animation at Disney.

The frame above by the way is from the opening Patty and I created for the adaptations. I modeled the entire set and Patty did textures and animation. I've always wanted to live in the cartoon world so this was my big chance, lol.
This was our first experience using our cheap little homemade green screen and it was a blast! The only thing that is "real" in this shot is me! In case you were wondering, that's Patty's lovely photo over the fireplace.

For those that have been asking, the last shot at the end of the film is INDEED taken from a photograph of the actual tree that Patrick resides within at Disneyland! Yes, it is a real thing so have fun searching it out with the kids!

We hope children (of ALL ages) will enjoy these stories.

Here's the link to the animatic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FrYhgfPXFM


Drawing Max as Powerline

A frame grab from the drawing lesson with my little buddy, Max
When I was asked to donate a drawing lesson of Max as Powerline, I had to say yes! After all, he is a charter member of the original series “Goof Troop”, that I had the honor of creating and developing for Disney Television years ago. He’s also the son of one of my favorite “Fab-Five”- Goofy, Gwarsh!

I only had a weekend to do the rough sketch, video and editing so it’s a very simple clip. Hopefully it will entertain kids (of all ages) that enjoy drawing him. It’s an effort to get their minds off what is happening right now across the world with the Coronavirus, and while they are quarantined at home, remind them how much fun drawing can be. I hope you will enjoy it and I’ll do more of these when I can. Patty and I wish everyone the best.

Please take care and stay safe.

Here's the link:
https://www.facebook.com/DisneyD23/videos/665416564273272/

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Terrors That Flap in the Night...

This was a very quick little doodle I did for a neighbor's child that is having a rough time with the Coronavirus safety guidelines. His mom was lamenting she had to take him with her to the store to pick up groceries but he refused to wear a mask or use the hand gel. He is a new fan to the original Disney Afternoon. He is binge watching with mom during the quarantine and especially loves the old DuckTales and Darkwing Duck series. I sent this over via email, keeping that 6 foot distance they recommended, and he loved it!

He even washed his hands now!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Mickey Mouse D23 90th Tribute

Mark Henn and his official 90th piece
During lunch at the Disney Studio commissary not long ago I was asked by a well known and important member of the Disney company if I would be interested in doing Mickey Mouse’s 90th portrait. I couldn’t answer quick enough, “YES!!” Who wouldn’t be excited for such an honor. I went home and against Patty’s advice, did research, thumbnail sketches, color studies and created an original oil painting over 3 feet tall! Patty scolded me to wait until I had a contract but I ignored her (that can get a husband in trouble!).

3 weeks later I met the same wonderful person and was about to show them the image on my phone of the finished painting when they shared that they had hired “a well known animator” to do the piece. I was shocked and beyond disappointed.
The animator who got the honor, Mark Henn, is an extremely talented fellow and a long time friend so as sorry as I was for me, I was truly thrilled for him. His wonderful and inventive painting was unveiled last year during Mickey's birthday celebration. I went home and wrapped my painting in a ventilated box and stored it into my studio closet.


My tribute to a special little fellow
Fast forward to earlier this year. While attending a group of Disney historians, I was sharing a few photos of what I had been up to. One of the top D23 people (and a very nice guy!) saw the photo. To make a long story short, my Mickey Mouse painting is now out of the bag and will be into D23 EXPO this month!

My painting featured Mickey sitting on one of the old Hyperion era director's chairs on a mockup set from the old Mickey Mouse Club. He's holding an iphone as a nod to his bridging decades of innovation right up to the current class of electronics. It may not be the official 90th portrait of the mouse but it at least will be seen in public. The original painting and limited edition prints will be available for purchase! I’m beyond thrilled, Mickey has been and continues to be a large part of my life! Thank you Mickey and D23!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mickey's All Stars! A 90th Tribute

Just published, a marvelous birthday gift, to celebrate an exceptional mouse!

A few top panels for the new collection by Mike Peraza
On November 18, 1928, the movie going public first got the opportunity while viewing a new cartoon from Walt Disney titled, "Steamboat Willie" to enjoy a new character who suddenly squeaked his way into hearts across the country and eventually around the world. He was a spunky little fellow dressed in a buttoned shorts that would revolutionize popular culture for decades to come: Mickey Mouse! Ninety years later, that superstar mouse is being celebrated with great fanfare by bringing together exceptional guest artists!

Front cover of the book
To honor this special event, the premiere Disney Art publisher Glénat Editions extended an invitation to 50 leading artists of contemporary comics and animation from around the world to create 50 original unpublished stories in one page each. The same simple instructions were given to each participant to follow when creating their comic book page. "First box: Mickey enters through a door; in the last box: he goes out". Between the two: anything and everything is possible! From this imposed postulate, each author/artist has been allowed to express his creativity and deliver his artistic vision of the character in a tribute to his life.

Mike Peraza chose to tell his story from the golden age of Disney animation of the 1930s. He drew his Mickey as he looked in those early years as well as other characters including a couple of famous animators who were well known for their stellar work with the mouse. A lot of research went into his backgrounds as he wanted to include a tribute to the Hyperion studio of that time period both interior and exterior detail where under Walt's guidance, so much of the magic took place.

Mike Peraza in front of a vintage Disney Animation Studio storyboard with some of his concepts for the Mickey All Stars

50 international talents including Bertollucci, Brüno, Camboni, Cestac, Clarke, Dab's, De Poortere, Domecq, Keramidas, Lapone, LeDessineux, Munuera, Nesme, Parma, Peraza, Pirus, Supiot, Tebo and Zanzim and many others have been assembled in an exceptional tome for their collective tribute to the one and only ... Mickey Mouse!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Darkwing Duck joins the new DuckTales!

Last year I was sitting down at a clandestine meeting with the new DuckTales crew. They quietly closed the door, and after making sure no one was listening at the keyhole, told me they were planning to have Darkwing Duck officially join the cartoon cast. I was ecstatic after all I was a key member on his development team back in the day. So after being sworn to secrecy (following the initiation ceremony of the ancient Order of the Junior Woodchucks), they showed me the boards. The story they had come up with did a fine job of connecting loose ends and creating a thrilling back story. When the torches were relit, one of the hooded figures told me they wanted me to create a Darkwing Duckcomic book” for that special episode. He explained that a young Darkwing fan who admired the winged scourge would be reading the comic on the show. As the quack chants grew louder I was then blindfolded and led back to my car.

So here are some of the panels from that imaginary “comic book” I illustrated. Sorry I couldn’t say anything over the last few months to my Darkwing Duck fans, but after all, wasn't it an exciting surprise? Thanks Frank, Matt, Sean, Suzanna, Tanner and the entire new DuckTales team for inviting me once again to be part of the terror that flaps in the night!
Darkwing comic by the original Darkwing Duck concept artist Mike Peraza