Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Disney News from 1954 and Today

Every once in a while, Andreas Deja or James Gurney (in this case, Gurney) will post another vintage Disney behind-the-scenes video. These shorts tend to be a little cheesy and staged, but they're fascinating insights into the way things were done at Disney. They also give me a strong feeling of nostalgia for the old days, when films were produced with love and care, and were allowed to move at their own pace, unconcerned about ADD viewers being distracted by their cellphones.

The film highlights Disney studio artists Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Walter Peregoy, and Joshua Meador in the various ways they contribute to a movie like Sleeping Beauty.

"Go forward with what you have to say, expressing things as you see them." - Robert Henri, The Art Spirit. I hear this advice repeated often nowadays by artists I follow: don't try to achieve or imitate a "style" - just draw, and you will find your own style, which is better than anything you could have attempted to imitate. (Reminds me of that quote, 'Be the best version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else'... or something like that.)

"Making an animated film is a cooperative effort. Each artist must be prepared to modify his own pet ideas, in order to achieve the best possible solution to the problem. No one has things entirely his own way, but in the end, the result is better than any one of us could have achieved alone." - Marc Davis

This second sentiment is something I've had to learn on my own at work. I'm often working with a team of editors to produce a show. I know I have strengths and weaknesses as an editor, and the other editors help fill in my weak spots while I contribute in the best way I know how. The end result is a completely collaborative effort, which none of us could have done by ourselves.

The four different paintings of the oak tree at the end of the film are wonderful to watch - especially since I am about to be diving into oil painting much sooner than I had thought I would. Concept Design Academy's summer classes went on sale the other day, and I was too slow to get a spot in my top choice for a class, "Sketching for Environment" with Ed Li, which sold out within 10 minutes. As an extreme last minute resort, I grabbed a spot in "Landscape Painting" with Leighton Hickman. I am excited but also very nervous. Oil painting is very much outside of my comfort zone, and I'd been waiting to tackle it until I'd gotten a better foundation in drawing. However, I'm hoping it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise...

Last but not least, there was the very exciting news of Disney announcing their latest animated feature, which will be called "Big Hero Six" and set in the future city of "San Fransokyo." If this first official glimpse into the film is a true indication of its look, I'm very excited for it...

© Gina Florio 2013


  1. Hi Gina, I was in your Vis Comm class and I actually am a blog stalker from time to time (ask Stef, haha). I just thought I'd give my input on one thing. I'm not trying to be negative or anything (just practical), but I think you have some merit in feeling a bit nervous for the Landscape Painting class. I'd def try to get in touch with the teacher immediately and ask him to be honest about the level in which he can instruct you...you should ask him flat out "will you teach me how to paint in oils?" There are classes that teach how to paint and those that kind of run through the process, and if you're not familiar with the process you can end up sinking (kind of like if someone didn't teach you perspective and wanted you to sign up for Vehicle Design class).
    I'm taking an Oil Painting class at Foundation Arts 101 (and thankfully there are only two of us! Yayy!), and we're starting with grey scale to figure out value, then colour charts, then copying from a master painting so that we learn how to mix colour and deal with things like edges in a controlled environment using the colours he recommended for our class.
    Every teacher tends to have their own palette/ recommended palette (if your teacher doesn't provide one, that's a red flag that you may be a bit over your head for the class; for example, if you see Joseph Todorovitch's palette vs someone like Michael Situ/ Sergio Sanchez...totally different colours vs David Leffel, Richard Morris, Steve Huston, Jeremy Lipking etc). But I'm a bit worried because it's one thing to struggle learning how to mix colour using a specific palette (our teacher has been VERY specific about the hues, types of paint and what to look for), and practice edge control and mix what you see/interpret in front of you, but to have the additional challenge of being outdoors (setting up an easel, etc) with light changes, finding composition within a landscape..I'd say you have your hands full. Anyways, that's my input, and I am just writing because I care (seriously!). Good luck!

    1. Hi Krystal, nice to hear from you! I remember you well, you were the first person I talked to, and you always had such amazing ideas for your redesign! Thank you so much for your input and advice. I have taken it seriously and written the school about it. It's very true that I may be biting off more than I can chew. I feel really stupid for missing the window of opportunity for 'Sketching for Environment'... but you win some, you lose some. I will see what the school says and go from there.

    2. Awww..thank you that is very nice of you! Nah, you don't need to feel stupid about anything. I was silly/stupid my first year of going to another school thinking I could just start designing right away, until I figured out what was separating the level of the work I really liked in class from my own (and there was a guy from freaking Avatar/Green Lantern in my class! so unfair!!! Every week I thought "I hate this guy..he's so good and he STILL thinks he sucks!" LOL) You live you learn..still time to do it right..just keep going! I think that Art is a way of life...I like the idea of living breathing eating sleeping it until the day I die. My prof (the wonderful John Park, who I took two classes with...he believes education should be free, actually, so I didn't have to pay for one of my classes haha) once told me "whenever you feel frustrated, just DRAW. And then draw and draw!" I LOVE that! I was reading how Michaelangelo and Barocci knew the figure SO well in motion that they could close their eyes or look at the most random things or persons for inspiration (like the Dawn sculpture from Michaelangelo, which he was inspired to do by an old man who was his colour grinder in his workshop!)
      I hope that you find a great class..a lot of the time the training makes all the difference. I hope Kevin brings back the long pose or when I get really good at oils I can find a place that regularly has a long pose where I can practise from life. Anyways, good luck and keep in touch! :)

    3. Krystal, if you're looking for a long pose workshop, I know the Drawing Club in Glendale holds one once a month on Sundays - http://www.thedrawingclub.com/about/ I go to the short pose Drawing Clubs whenever I can and they're great, Bob Kato is awesome.

    4. Yeah that's a good idea. I think that my only issue might be that they're costumed...I'm trying to stick to nude as much as possible because it helps my sculpting stuff too (ie seeing shapes and also helping in the drawing department with the anatomy). We shall see. I saw 3Kicks is starting theirs back, also in July (got their email last night). DC can get kinda expensive for me sometimes...the ADG workshop on Tuesdays I go to is only $10! :)