Friday, August 9, 2019

Mickey Mouse 90th Tribute

My 90th Anniversary Tribute to my favorite mouse
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 person and was about to show her the image on my phone of the almost finished painting when she 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 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 painting was unveiled last year during Mickey's birthday celebration. I went home and wrapped my painting in a garbage bag and stored it into my studio closet.

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! 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

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The 55ers: The Pioneers Who Setteled Disneyland

This is a brand new large-format coffee table book celebrating Disneyland's original employees of 1955 by well known Disney author and historian David Koenig. Walking through Disneyland of today you'll see cast members dressed as cowboys in Frontierland, jungle explorers in Adventureland, and small-town shopkeepers on Main Street. But back when the park first opened in 1955, the employees weren't pretending. They were true-to-life characters, hand picked for their roles because of their amazing backgrounds.

Now for the first time you will get to see these fascinating personalities and hear their stories in the new coffee-table book, "The 55ers: The Pioneers Who Settled Disneyland" by David Koenig. In this collection of never before seen photos and rare interviews you'll meet close to 700 "Year One" cast members from every department in the Disneyland Park. Anecdotes from firemen, ticket sellers, newsboys, ride operators, show performers and many more. The book is nearly 300 pages of glossy magic with a full color jacket of original art designed expressly for this book by Mike Peraza.

The "55ers" is a true labor of love and gratitude, recognizing those trailblazers who were the first to be able to call Disneyland their home. Over the past 30 years, more than 1,000 Disney cast members have shared their stories with me. What I soon realized was that the cast members themselves were the best stories of all. This book will be unveiled in time for this years D23 EXPO. Be sure to get your copy.

Also, check out the kickstarter that will help get this book published and in the fine style it so deserves:

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Dreaming Tree Gala

Patty & Mike Peraza Keynote Speakers
Posted by the Walt Disney Hometown Museum:

Welcome to the 3rd annual Dreaming Tree Gala, supporting the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.  In 2019 we’re returning to beautiful Walt Disney World, to celebrate in the American Pavilion located in the heart of the EPCOT World Showcase.  It will be a night filled with amazing Disney stories, surprise visits and of course fireworks.

For many of us, Patty and Mike Peraza’s film and television credits are the very foundation of our childhood. From The Fox and the Hound to TRON, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast… The Black Cauldron to DuckTales and Goof Troop, their unique talents at an animation desk helped expand our own youthful imaginations.

Join us on Sunday October 6, 2019 as Mike and Patty combine their talents for a nostagic night of hilarious, magical and warm reminiscences of 80 combined years at Disney, set in the majestic rotunda of the American Adventure Pavilion in EPCOT.

Walt Level Table guests will be treated to a private pre-gala cocktail party including a surprise visit from ‘a friend’, all set on the shores of World Showcase Lagoon. After dinner all of our guests will retire to the stunning Italy Isola for a private viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

We love being spoiled by our friends at Walt Disney World, and we’re excited to return to Florida for the second time in our brief gala history. Disney knows how to do things right, so make sure you set aside Sunday October 6, and join us for all the surprises as we celebrate our 3rd annual 2019 Dreaming Tree Gala – Destination EPCOT.

Located in the Italy Pavilion, Italy Isola can be reached by crossing over a grand staircase that matches the beautiful architecture of the piazza. This private, exclusive area allows attendees to overlook the World Showcase Lagoon and enjoy a magical evening under the stars.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Happy Birthday Freddy!

September 7, 1911 marks the birth of one of the finest talents that ever raised a pencil at Disney Studios, Fred Moore. Although many talented artists have contributed to the Disney family of classic animation over the years I would have to say that "Freddy" as he was called of by his friends, had to be one of the biggest contributors to what is referred to as "That Disney look". One of the nine old men, Marc Davis, used to say simply, "... Fred Moore WAS Disney drawing."

Freddy had no formal art training and his intuitive approach was often referred to as "natural". He didn't like the "rubber hose" approach of limb construction used in the early Mickeys and added more underlying form. The facial features became more appealing under his pencils with cheek, brow and even ear shapes employing more anatomical form yet keeping the basic principles of squash and stretch intact. He is also THE artist credited with ridding Mickey Mouse of his "pie-eyes" with the short, "The Pointer", and giving him the artistic upgrade we basically still see today. Check out the poster for "The Pointer" above left and you'll see they mistakenly still used the "pie eyes" while a frame grab on the right from the film itself clearly shows the new eye design courtesy of Fred. He was the key animator for "The Three Little Pigs", animation supervisor of the dwarfs on "Snow White", and of course the mermaids in "Peter Pan" to list just a few of his contributions along with his legendary "Freddy Moore Girls" which were eagerly sought after back then as well as today.

Two of his closest friends at the Disney studio were the "Wild W" Ranch of Ward Kimball and Walt Kelly. Fred's antics paled next to those two talented but crazy clowns but nevertheless spilled out beautifully on paper. If you haven't seen it I would suggest you view "The Nifty Nineties", one of my favorite Mickey Mouse shorts and you get a glimpse of the hilarious 'Kimball and Moore" song and dance men, "Two Clever Boys from Illinois" animated by Ward Kimball. Fred is also found briefly in the Walt Disney Studio "tour" in the 1941 feature film, "The Reluctant Dragon" along with his pal Ward and other Disney artists.

Walt always commented wistfully concerning the scope of his amazing entertainment empire, "...that it was all started by a mouse." Well Fred Moore certainly helped Mickey and many other lovable Disney characters along that magical path. As I write this I am looking at a couple of Freddie's large character pieces we have framed on one wall, one a watercolor and ink and the other thick lead but both expressive of his immense talent and knack of appealing design. And yes, I included a "hidden Mickey" in this banner in honor of the "Maestro of Mickey."

Happy Birthday Freddy! -MP