Russell! One of my all time favorite Pixar protagonists, he has a heart of pure gold and perfectly embodies the youthful spirit of naive optimism and implicit trust in others. These vis dev pieces are just a ton of fun. I especially love the model sheet of facial expressions where you really get to know Russell before he comes to life in the mind’s eye of the animator.

This photo is very special to me. These are the first children to ever enter Fantasyland when Disneyland Park opened to the public on Monday, July 18, 1955 at 10 a.m. As early as 2am, people were already lining up outside the park’s gates. What an amazing day that must have been for these lucky kids!

This photo is very special to me. These are the first children to ever enter Fantasyland when Disneyland Park opened to the public on Monday, July 18, 1955 at 10 a.m. As early as 2am, people were already lining up outside the park’s gates. What an amazing day that must have been for these lucky kids!

To an art history buff, Sleeping Beauty’s “goons” may look familiar. That’s because, according to animation legend Andres Deja, they have their roots in paintings by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516). See above for a side-by-side comparison. Bosch filled his canvas with evil creatures whose anatomy was comprised of various animal and human parts. The animators on Sleeping Beauty were successful in taking inspiration from Bosch’s creations without invoking years of terror-filled nightmares in the process.

The voluminous amount of Disney fan art demands that a project be truly unique to stand out from the pack. These clever Disney villain perfume bottle illustrations fit the bill and display artistic merit that transcends the source material. The images appeared online a couple days ago and have been making the rounds. The super-talented and creative artist is Ruby Spark (Twitter account @mmmint8.) Way to go, Ruby! She was able to identify the iconic design elements of each character and use the elements as the basis for fun and abstract sculptural objects. She has a gift in her remarkable ability to boil a character design down to its essence. The process of stripping away a character’s details to find its core design values is an invaluable exercise for animation artists. Stellar work!

This weekend, Disney’s Frozen became the highest grossing animated film of all time! Its $1.072 billion worldwide gross has surpassed the $1.063 billion of Toy Story 3, which was the previous record-holder for biggest animated feature. Frozen now ranks number 10 on the all-time list of highest-grossing films and is the first billion-dollar film for Walt Disney Animation Studios and its first film to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Quite an accomplishment for a film with such a convoluted plot and questionable story logic and character motivations. I guess you can never underestimate the power of great music coupled with gorgeous animation. And Olaf was pretty funny, too.

This weekend, Disney’s Frozen became the highest grossing animated film of all time! Its $1.072 billion worldwide gross has surpassed the $1.063 billion of Toy Story 3, which was the previous record-holder for biggest animated feature. Frozen now ranks number 10 on the all-time list of highest-grossing films and is the first billion-dollar film for Walt Disney Animation Studios and its first film to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Quite an accomplishment for a film with such a convoluted plot and questionable story logic and character motivations. I guess you can never underestimate the power of great music coupled with gorgeous animation. And Olaf was pretty funny, too.

This I learned…in certain cultures, cross-eyed cats were prized for their rarity and wisdom. My dad had a cross-eyed cat and he was prized for his ability to make me giggle at random moments with his ridiculously endearing disability. Great watercolor (or gouache?) visual development painting from the Lady and the Tramp.

This I learned…in certain cultures, cross-eyed cats were prized for their rarity and wisdom. My dad had a cross-eyed cat and he was prized for his ability to make me giggle at random moments with his ridiculously endearing disability. Great watercolor (or gouache?) visual development painting from the Lady and the Tramp.

These character design pieces for Monsters University are just awesome. I love how Sully looks totally inebriated and Mike is still just enamored by his stature and presence. Also the oversized hat gag on Mike is too cute…even if his head is probably way too big for most hats sold at the campus bookstore.

Very excited to get this book in my hands. (Just shipped from Amazon yesterday.) In it, Ed Catmull lays out the secrets to fostering creativity in the hallowed halls of Hollywood hitmaker Pixar. A taste of what’s to come: “At Pixar, we try to create an environment where people want to hear each other’s notes (even when those notes are challenging) and where everyone has a vested interest in one another’s success. We give our filmmakers both freedom and responsibility. For example, we believe that the most promising stories are not assigned to filmmakers but emerge from within.” Bring it on, Ed!

Very excited to get this book in my hands. (Just shipped from Amazon yesterday.) In it, Ed Catmull lays out the secrets to fostering creativity in the hallowed halls of Hollywood hitmaker Pixar. A taste of what’s to come: “At Pixar, we try to create an environment where people want to hear each other’s notes (even when those notes are challenging) and where everyone has a vested interest in one another’s success. We give our filmmakers both freedom and responsibility. For example, we believe that the most promising stories are not assigned to filmmakers but emerge from within.” Bring it on, Ed!

During the annual Disney shareholders meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Pixar is planning an Incredibles sequel. Iger said that Brad Bird is working on the story, but “notably did not say that Mr. Bird would direct it,” according to the NY Times. After the amazing success of his foray into directing live action, star-studded blockbusters, I hope he’ll make the time and effort to shepherd his franchise through the pitfalls of sequel-land.

During the annual Disney shareholders meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Pixar is planning an Incredibles sequel. Iger said that Brad Bird is working on the story, but “notably did not say that Mr. Bird would direct it,” according to the NY Times. After the amazing success of his foray into directing live action, star-studded blockbusters, I hope he’ll make the time and effort to shepherd his franchise through the pitfalls of sequel-land.

Some drawings by Milt Kahl, creator of one of the great female Disney villains—Medusa. So brilliantly animated, she was a true fright to behold because she was so real in the way she stomped around, schemed and connived. Awesome work.

Check out these awesome pre-production artwork assets from the Oscar-nominated animated short Get A Horse. The first piece is an amazing exploration of the basic animation technique of “squash and stretch” which should speak for itself in these very exemplary pieces of business. The model sheets of Horace and Clarabelle are super cool and add to the overall concept of creating a modern animated short that feels like it was created in the 20’s. And the last pieces are just fun little ideas, some simple and some complex, all richly expressed in single drawings. The competition is pretty tough this year, but it get’s my vote….let’s see if the Academy agrees and Get A Horse takes home the Oscar!

For me, the the Nine Old Men are like demigods of creativity. I say this not from sheer respect for the craft and their contribution to it, which is incalculable and vast. I say that based on the definition of the word “animate,” which means ”bring to life.” The way these creators brought their characters to life by thinking like actors first and then bestowing upon them the same emotions and idiosyncrasies that we all share and relate to…it’s a divine and fascinating feat.

I love John L. He’s the closest thing we have to Walt in the flesh. He’s a big kid that refused to grow up and play by the Man’s rules. He’s at the helm of the most prolific entertainment company of all time and he plays with toy cars like a 3 year old. He’s the driving force behind the Cars universe and (apart from the obvious cash grab in merchandise) I applaud his effort to share his passion with the world through animation and I hope I can enjoy the same gratification in my humble contribution to the world one day. Thanks, John.

This is the in-betweened rough animation for a discarded scene that the ultra-talented Andres Deja animated for the feature film Winnie the Pooh. It’s cool to see animation at this stage…not the rough pencil test and not the final painted cels. Cool stuff. (On a random note—I was nicknamed Tigger as a kid because I was constantly bouncing around breaking things. I was and still am a bit of a klutz.)

I’m particularly fond of this super cinematic concept art for California Adventure’s newest and biggest show attraction, World of Color. It combines nearly 1,200 powerful fountains with heights that range from 30 feet to 200 feet in the air, dazzling colors and a kaleidoscope of audio and visual effects, including both classic and new animation projected on the world’s largest projected water screen - a wall of water 380 feet wide by 50 feet high for a projection surface of 19,000 square feet. I only wish the amazing detail and contrast in these wonderful paintings was more “reflective” of the actual experience, which can be somewhat “watered down” at times. Yuk yuk.