Friday, October 31

Marc Davis, the Animator

Earlier this month, Disney Editions released a long-awaited coffee table book featuring the art of Marc Davis. Aptly titled "Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man", it showcases every facet of his prolific career - from student to mentor.

It's far from comprehensive (perhaps an impossible feat for one publication alone), but its intention is admirable. To preview his portfolio without regarding all of his talents would make for a pretty ineffective book. Davis' ability to effortlessly transition mediums and subject matter was this man's genius.

With the release of the new book, I thought it was high time to finish up a personal project of mine that I started way back at the beginning of the year. I normally wouldn't share a project that isn't theme park related on this blog, but I'm taking a page out of Marc Davis' career and branching out from a typical subject matter. Today, I'm sharing a project that celebrates Marc's contribution to animation:
Some 76 hours (collectively), 530 drawings, and two all-nighters went into this beast of a project - a portrait made entirely out of production drawings of Marc Davis characters.

I collected as many of Marc's own drawings as I could, but I couldn't verify nearly enough to fill up an entire portrait. So I went for the (mildly) more tangible approach of utilizing animators' drawings of the characters Marc Davis either supervised or contributed towards.

Although somewhat daunting, it was a pleasure to play archivist and dig up all these stunning production drawings. I don't think one can truly appreciate an animator's job until they're given the opportunity to thoroughly study the draftsmanship and meticulous care that go into each sketch. True pieces of art, no doubt.

I started out by drawing the values of his face in Photoshop (based off a 1981 photograph taken when he invited a documentary crew into his home), then I lowered the opacity and started blending the character sketches on top. I added a bit of paper texture to finish everything off and make the drawings look more natural.

Some detail shots:
The illustration would be ideal as an oversized print, 26" x 34".
Now if I was really ambitious, an entire "Nine Old Men" series would make for the ultimate display! Perhaps I'll tackle that someday, but for now I think I'll take a breather.