Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bambi background / layout comparisons


Most of the original background paintings for the animated classic Bambi are lost. 

A lot of them were painted thinly in oil on glass or cardboard for use in the multiplane camera, while other finished backgrounds were painted in watercolor, depending on what the artist preferred. 

But Disney's archive still treasures the preliminary layouts for them. The layouts (shown at left above) were drawn with soft graphite on vellum. Those layouts work out the soft, atmospheric tonal transitions that gave Bambi its distinctive look.

Read more 
Source for this post: Animation Treasures (Hans Bacher's weblog)
Disney BG Artist Lisa Keene remembers studying the Bambi background technique on a visit to the Animation Research Library
Previously on GurneyJourney:
All art ©Disney

14 comments:

Keith Parker said...

Bambi was so beautifully made. You see how the Disney artists had really grown and learned from their earlier endeavors. The research of wildlife really paid off.

Keith Parker said...

James I've seen you post about Bambi several times now. It must hold a special place for you. Did you see it at a young age? Or is your interest in it something that sprang up later in life?

James Gurney said...

Keith, I started out my professional art life as an animation background painter, so I have a special interested in the the early Disney films for their background treatment. I've mentioned Bambi, but actually Pinocchio made a stronger impression on me on several levels: story, animation, shot design, and characterization.

Keith Parker said...

Little wonder. The animators nearly bankrupt Disney just on the opening sequence of Pinocchio from what I understand.

John B Conroy said...

James, many of us grew up with Disney and especially Pinocchio, Bambi. Thanks for keeping us connected to our early love of this art form...

mcarspec said...

The book by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston "Walt Disney's Bambi, the story and the film" covers little-known art and inspiration developed for the film. A great deal of beautiful work was not used due to the studio's money crunch forcing them to drastically cut footage.

dzart said...

I seem to vaguely recall hearing/reading somewhere that the Bambi BG paintings which were done on glass were often scrapped clean after being filmed.

Could anyone confirm this?

Dave Brasgalla said...

That beautiful snowy background immediately put me in mind of Gustav Fjæstad - especially the reddish notes of the foreground branches... thanks for the post, James!

James Gurney said...

DZ Art, Yes, I read that too. I believe Lisa Keene mentioned that when she visited the archives. I think she said a lot were on glass because of the multiplane and some were on cardboard.

karlsimon said...

Does anyone know if Vellum paper is called something else in the UK? I asked for it in a shop here once and they said it was a colour/dye rather than a paper type.

James Gurney said...

What I believe we're talking about here is a 100% cotton rag paper used by architects. It comes on a roll and is fairly expensive. Rockwell also used it for his preliminary charcoals. It had to be slightly translucent for blueprints. "Vellum" is also used to describe the slight roughness of other surfaces, such as illustration board. Vellum was originally an animal skin, I believe.

David J Teter said...

@karlsimon
I think you Brits refer to it as parchment.

As James said it was originally from calf or animal skin and is translucent.
The modern equivalent is made from plasticized cotton and is more stable than linen or paper which is why is preferred for large formats like architectural plans.

scruffy said...

As achingly beautiful as these paintings and drawings are, what inspires me most, what i most want to learn from them is how carefully composed they are.

karlsimon said...

James, David,

Thank you! I'll go to the shop where the architects buy their paper.