I have been seeing advertisements everywhere for the Signature Edition of Pinocchio which comes out at the end of this month, and they inspired me to feature a piece of artwork from Pinocchio today. I happen to love Figaro the cat, so I just had to feature this silly drawing of Figaro and Geppetto today. Normally most of my Masterpiece Monday posts feature a piece of concept art, character design art, or visual development art, but today is a little different. This drawing is actually one of many drawings featured on a storyboard depicting a deleted scene from the film. Unfortunately, like so many pieced of early Disney art work, the name of the artist is lost to time. Instead I will discuss this drawings purpose as a storyboard drawing, which serves a very different function in the development of a film than a piece of concept art might
The main purpose of story board art is not to affect the look of the film or the design of the characters, but to clearly and compellingly illustrate the action and dialogue. Storyboard artists think more about finding creative ways for characters to do things than they do about how their drawings look. In fact, many storyboard artists have a very distinct style of drawing that alters very little from film to film. For a good example of an artist like this look up the work of Chris Sanders, who was the storyboard artist for films like Mulan and Beauty and the Beast. Of course, sometimes story boards do accurately reflect the style of the film, as this story board drawing from Pinocchio mostly does. In other cases, the style of the story board drawings might end up influencing the final design of the characters. Their true purpose though is to help with the story writing process, and give the animators a guide for what their characters should be doing during each scene in the film.
So what exactly is going on in this particular storyboard drawing? Well it’s from a deleted scene in Pinocchio that would’ve taken place in the belly of Monstro the whale. After discovering a cook book full of fish recipes, Figaro would have started eyeing Cleo for his next meal. This would have lead to a variety of gags showing Figaro trying to fish Cleo out of her bowl, while Geppetto scolded him and tried to find a way to stop him. This was until Geppetto too was driven by hunger into imagining his pet goldfish as his next meal. This drawing depicts a moment soon after, when the pair team up to scheme about how to lure Cleo out of her bowl. Eventually Gepetto would have snapped out of his hungry devisings just in time to save her from Figaro. You can see the whole scene’s story boards here. Ultimately, the scene was deleted and, though I don’t know for certain, it was probably for time, as the scene does very little to further Pinocchio’s story.By the time it was removed from the film, some of Figaro and Cleo’s animation was already completed. Luckily, the animators found a new use for this surprisingly cute scene between the two pets, as a short cartoon released in 1943 called Figaro and Cleo, Disney’s answer to Tom and Jerry (you can watch it here ). As I have said in other posts, discarded ideas are often recycled by Disney Animation, and that is especially true in the case of storyboards.
So now you know a little bit more about the purpose of story boards, thanks to this little deleted drawing from Pinocchio.