My First Ever Masterpiece Monday

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I love writing detailed articles for this blog, but they take an awful long time to write. In the mean time this blog just sort of sits around waiting. So I’m introducing a new hopefully weekly feature, Masterpiece Monday. You see I have files full of hundreds of pieces of amazing animation art that  didn’t make the cut in an article, or that I just haven’t gotten around to using yet. This feature will be where I showcase some of those pieces.

Today I am beginning at the beginning and keeping my alliteration going with a Mickey Mouse Masterpiece Monday . Here we have a sheet of  1928 development sketches of Mickey Mouse drawn by Walt Disney himself, along with his best friend Ub Iwerks and animator Les Clark. As you can see,  Mickey could have been wearing a lot more clothes in his first film appearance than he actually did. Also notice how one of the first ever sketches of Minnie Mouse slipped in as well. Pretty interesting isn’t it?

Hope you enjoyed this glance way back into Disney Animation history. See you next week for another Masterpiece Monday.

Image Credit: Design. Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series.

The Myth of the “Disney Style”: What Hercules has in Common with Pink Floyd

Everyone has heard of the term “Disney style”.  It’s a sort of short hand term for the cookie-cutter big eyed, cutesy characters that Disney supposedly puts in all of their animated films.  Well I’m going to expose the myth of the “Disney style as entirely false. Do people actually believe that Walt Disney Animation Studios has maintained one controlled and coherent style of animation throughout its 90 year history? Even films made within the same period, like the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s, look very different from each other. Just compare the styles of The Little Mermaid and Hercules, both directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. In fact, no film does a better job at dispelling the myth of the “Disney Style” than Disney’s very own 1997 mythological film, Hercules. Far from conforming to some cookie-cutter house style, the artists that worked on Hercules drew their inspiration from two very distinct sources, ancient Greek art and the contemporary British artist Gerald Scarfe. The result of was a film that looked like no other within the Disney cannon.

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The Gospel Truth

In my last two articles I looked at films based on fairy tales that were made in Disney’s Golden Era and Silver Era. Well now I’m going to jump ahead in time to look at a film from Disney’s Renaissance Era, and jump back in time to write about a film set in ancient Greece. That’s right, my next article is on Disney’s Hercules

What made me choose Hercules? Well on June 27th, Hercules had it’s 19th anniversary (I still remember seeing it in the movie theatre, so that makes me feel really old). To celebrate, Disney’s blog, ‘Oh My Disney’, released this video full of live action reference and storyboards from the production of the film. It’s fascinating to look at, and it really inspired me to do something a little different and make Hercules the subject of my next article. So stay tuned to find out how the film went from zero to hero.

The Live Action Cinderella You’ve Never Seen

A lot of you have probably seen the live action version of Cinderella that came out last year. Well long before Lily James took on the role, another actress played Cinderella at the Walt Disney Studios, Helene Stanley. Stanley was a live action reference model for the animated 1950 film of Cinderella. She, along with several other models, acted out the entire film in costume in front of cameras so the animators could study the footage when drawing the animated characters. This technique was not a new one, but it was one that was integral to the making of Cinderella in a way it never had been for any Disney film before, or really ever would be again.

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