Shanghai Mickey

I was honored to have been invited to be one of four judges, me, from Disney, and three famous Chinese Artists, to judge a My Dream Mickey art contest in Shanghai, China this week. It was held by Disney to further encourage Chinese students of all ages up to university age, to engage their imaginations more fully with art. It was an experience I'll never forget. Our Disney office, led by Nikkey Wang, and Carol Choi, took great care of me for the quick three day trip. 

I had to practice drawing Mickey if I was going to have to draw him on camera. 

I had to practice drawing Mickey if I was going to have to draw him on camera. 

Got into Shanghai after a 14 hour flight and checked into the Andaz Hotel, Shanghai, in time for cocktail hour.

Got into Shanghai after a 14 hour flight and checked into the Andaz Hotel, Shanghai, in time for cocktail hour.

Cocktail of choice, dry gin martini with a twist. Well made. The trip was off to great start.

Cocktail of choice, dry gin martini with a twist. Well made. The trip was off to great start.

Always exciting the first night into a new country you have never been in before. China, I am thrilled to meet you.

Always exciting the first night into a new country you have never been in before. China, I am thrilled to meet you.

Morning comes with a full schedule, but jet lag smacking me hard. Your body knows something is terribly wrong.

Morning comes with a full schedule, but jet lag smacking me hard. Your body knows something is terribly wrong.

The first morning there, before the taping, I had to brush up one more time on drawing Mickey at my breakfast spot in the hotel I was staying at the Andaz, Shanghai.

The first morning there, before the taping, I had to brush up one more time on drawing Mickey at my breakfast spot in the hotel I was staying at the Andaz, Shanghai.

Mr. Gabriel has arrived! We now have all four judges assembled and ready to begin the contest judging. uh oh Horns! Doh! Cartoonist international symbol of friendship I am assuming. .

Mr. Gabriel has arrived! We now have all four judges assembled and ready to begin the contest judging. uh oh Horns! Doh! Cartoonist international symbol of friendship I am assuming. .

Two other highly esteemed judges, Sun, Li Jun and Tsai, Chin Chung. I didn't speak their language and they didn't speak mine, but we all spoke fluent Cartoon-ese.

Two other highly esteemed judges, Sun, Li Jun and Tsai, Chin Chung. I didn't speak their language and they didn't speak mine, but we all spoke fluent Cartoon-ese.

My much needed interpreter on the left, and a really talented, famous, and really nice clothing designer Helen Lee, a contest judge, too.

My much needed interpreter on the left, and a really talented, famous, and really nice clothing designer Helen Lee, a contest judge, too.

2D and 3D submissions all are by Chinese university students.

2D and 3D submissions all are by Chinese university students.

One category was for children submissions.

One category was for children submissions.

The judges have made their decisions and given their scores! Exciting right? It is if you might get a free trip to America, Disneyland, and the Walt Disney Studios.

The judges have made their decisions and given their scores! Exciting right? It is if you might get a free trip to America, Disneyland, and the Walt Disney Studios.

No, not the winner, this is by our judge Tsai, Chin Chung's Mickey, drawn on camera and given as a prize to lucky contest winners.

No, not the winner, this is by our judge Tsai, Chin Chung's Mickey, drawn on camera and given as a prize to lucky contest winners.

My three judge pals (and my interpreter for the day in white pants on left.)

My three judge pals (and my interpreter for the day in white pants on left.)

Judges lunch at the the elegant Langham Hotel with Mr. Tsai here.  Disney Shanghai office executive Nikkey Wang Senior Marketing Manager, Franchise Management Greater China in the blue pattern dress in the back.

Judges lunch at the the elegant Langham Hotel with Mr. Tsai here.  Disney Shanghai office executive Nikkey Wang Senior Marketing Manager, Franchise Management Greater China in the blue pattern dress in the back.

Three awesome judges.

Three awesome judges.

One of many many courses for lunch.

One of many many courses for lunch.

Helen Lee, brilliant costume designer was one of the three Chinese judges. Loved her! So warm and kind and fun on top of being so talented. Love when that happens!

Helen Lee, brilliant costume designer was one of the three Chinese judges. Loved her! So warm and kind and fun on top of being so talented. Love when that happens!

Chinese cartoonist Tsai, Chin Chung gave me two of his legendary comic collection books, over 40 million copies sold worldwide!

Chinese cartoonist Tsai, Chin Chung gave me two of his legendary comic collection books, over 40 million copies sold worldwide!

Second book Madam White Snake.

Second book Madam White Snake.

Mr. Tsai's comics depict ancient Chinese wisdom and writings in a fun cartoon style all his own.

Mr. Tsai's comics depict ancient Chinese wisdom and writings in a fun cartoon style all his own.

Now you know how to write BANG in Chinese symbols.

Now you know how to write BANG in Chinese symbols.

Mr. Tsai incredibly honored me with this extraordinary gorgeous original artwork. I am in awe of it's sublime beauty.

Mr. Tsai incredibly honored me with this extraordinary gorgeous original artwork. I am in awe of it's sublime beauty.

Jackie Show host and awesome producer! I am speaking in Chinese something like GO FOR IT, KIDS! Be BOLD! At least that is what they told me I was saying.

Jackie Show host and awesome producer! I am speaking in Chinese something like GO FOR IT, KIDS! Be BOLD! At least that is what they told me I was saying.

The third judge, Sun, Li Jun's Mickey they gave away to some lucky prize winner. I love this Mickey. 

The third judge, Sun, Li Jun's Mickey they gave away to some lucky prize winner. I love this Mickey. 

My Mickey drawn on camera they gave away as a prize.

My Mickey drawn on camera they gave away as a prize.

Nikkey Wang tallying the final judge scores to announce the winners!!

Nikkey Wang tallying the final judge scores to announce the winners!!

My second day started with a fun tour of Yuan Gardens and the famous Tea House where we enjoyed a lovely cuppa with my fun Disney rep Vanessa Chun and my awesome tour guide for the day, Jessica Luo.

My second day started with a fun tour of Yuan Gardens and the famous Tea House where we enjoyed a lovely cuppa with my fun Disney rep Vanessa Chun and my awesome tour guide for the day, Jessica Luo.

Me with my pro, very informative, and very petite tour guide, Jessica Luo. I think my watch weighed more than her, but she knew more than the watch. 

Me with my pro, very informative, and very petite tour guide, Jessica Luo. I think my watch weighed more than her, but she knew more than the watch. 

The famous Yu Yuan Garden Tea House in the center of Shanghai.

The famous Yu Yuan Garden Tea House in the center of Shanghai.

Yu Garden.

Yu Garden.

Yu Garden.

Yu Garden.

Yu Garden

Yu Garden

Yu Garden area.

Yu Garden area.

Yu Yuan tourist mart.

Yu Yuan tourist mart.

The Old Tea House.

The Old Tea House.

Vanessa in the Tea House for tea time while it gently rained outside.

Vanessa in the Tea House for tea time while it gently rained outside.

Jessica.

Jessica.

A light rain was falling and it looked so pretty outside while we sipped warm tea inside.

A light rain was falling and it looked so pretty outside while we sipped warm tea inside.

I had green tea.

I had green tea.

Tofu and duck eggs marinated in tea.

Tofu and duck eggs marinated in tea.

Mysterious tea snacks.

Mysterious tea snacks.

Vanessa, tea and me.

Vanessa, tea and me.

At noon I gave a presentation on my 35 year disney career to my fellow disney employees at their disney offices. 

At noon I gave a presentation on my 35 year disney career to my fellow disney employees at their disney offices. 

I get all excited talking about myself. 

I get all excited talking about myself. 

Makes you feel good to have people interested in hearing your tales of Disney lore.

Makes you feel good to have people interested in hearing your tales of Disney lore.

 Although, I drew gasps a few times from my stories (or scary expressions.) The real Disney sometimes is shocking! Got to keep it real, people.

 Although, I drew gasps a few times from my stories (or scary expressions.) The real Disney sometimes is shocking! Got to keep it real, people.

Sweet group of fellow mice. 

Sweet group of fellow mice. 

Autographs come with a free drawing. 

Autographs come with a free drawing. 

Jessica and Vanessa took me to the river walk called The Bund after my noon presentation.

Jessica and Vanessa took me to the river walk called The Bund after my noon presentation.

Jessica describing something----fill in your own joke here.

Jessica describing something----fill in your own joke here.

The Bund riverwalk.

The Bund riverwalk.

After the Bund back to work, Disney China had me give my 35 year disney career presentation to invited fans that evening at The Langham Hotel.

After the Bund back to work, Disney China had me give my 35 year disney career presentation to invited fans that evening at The Langham Hotel.

Okay I have different clothes on, because I got too hot with the humidity and went back to my hotel to change into a cooler shirt. And then the pants needed to switch out too or I would look like Johnny Cash or Zorro all in black. 

Okay I have different clothes on, because I got too hot with the humidity and went back to my hotel to change into a cooler shirt. And then the pants needed to switch out too or I would look like Johnny Cash or Zorro all in black. 

Very appreciative group. I enjoyed their kind "oohs!" and "ahhs!" on seeing the artwork I have done over the years that helped to inspire some well known characters and scenes from our films. 

Very appreciative group. I enjoyed their kind "oohs!" and "ahhs!" on seeing the artwork I have done over the years that helped to inspire some well known characters and scenes from our films. 

The fans were incredibly fun to meet and do drawings for. The cute little girl in the purple princess outfit wanted me to hold her. So sweet! They really made me feel welcome and appreciated for all the films I worked on that they loved over the 35 years. It is a very rewarding and fulfilling way to make a living, I have to say.

The fans were incredibly fun to meet and do drawings for. The cute little girl in the purple princess outfit wanted me to hold her. So sweet! They really made me feel welcome and appreciated for all the films I worked on that they loved over the 35 years. It is a very rewarding and fulfilling way to make a living, I have to say.

 BTW this nice guy in the middle of the frame front row came all the way from Mongolia to meet me. Really nice guy.

 BTW this nice guy in the middle of the frame front row came all the way from Mongolia to meet me. Really nice guy.

Great guy but nobody spoke English so it was all sign language and a few words here or there. 

Great guy but nobody spoke English so it was all sign language and a few words here or there. 

Yea Shanghai had many beautiful sights. 

Yea Shanghai had many beautiful sights. 

Many. Lucky me. 

Many. Lucky me. 

Bu those rascals worked me, each person asked for a different Disney character, Dumbo, Pocahontas, Winnie The Pooh, King Candy. I only screwed up once on a Piglet drawing. Unfortunately, it was on a beautiful pink (piglet pink) leather iPad case too. Ouch. Sorry, miss. She said "Yea he too fat." She was right. 

Bu those rascals worked me, each person asked for a different Disney character, Dumbo, Pocahontas, Winnie The Pooh, King Candy. I only screwed up once on a Piglet drawing. Unfortunately, it was on a beautiful pink (piglet pink) leather iPad case too. Ouch. Sorry, miss. She said "Yea he too fat." She was right. 

Check this cool art this guy did. Looks like a disney promotional piece.

Check this cool art this guy did. Looks like a disney promotional piece.

The awesome Disney exec who set the events up for the day, Bonny Zhu, loved her. 

The awesome Disney exec who set the events up for the day, Bonny Zhu, loved her. 

 I felt like Walt Disney at Disneyland. I feel a mustache is in my near future.

 I felt like Walt Disney at Disneyland. I feel a mustache is in my near future.

Who knew I had fans in China? I felt very humbled, and happy to have met them.  Thank you, Shanghai, for making me feel so welcome and special! I will be back! 

Who knew I had fans in China? I felt very humbled, and happy to have met them.  Thank you, Shanghai, for making me feel so welcome and special! I will be back! 

Concept Art for Tim's Frankenweenie

About 5 years ago, Don Hahn asked me if I would do some conceptual art for an idea he had to develop Tim Burton's 1980s live action short film "Frankenweenie" into a full length animated film. He was going to pitch the idea to Tim and wanted to know if I would come back to Disney  to do 2 months worth of development art for his pitch to Tim. I jumped at it because although I was doing freelance for Brenda Chapman Lima's The Bear and the Bow (Brave) at the time, I still had plenty of bandwidth to take on Frankenweenie too. Frankly, it was just great to do art again after so many years directing. And to work with good friends, all the better. Tim was one of my best friends when we both were starting out at Disney in the early 80s and I was, like everybody else, a huge fan of his style of art. I was excited to see if I could mimic the Tim Burtonesque look the final film would most definitely have. I was around for Tim's making of the original film, watching him draw away in his pad all the time, pinning up incredible originals in his office, and going over all his ideas as he planned out what he wanted to do. I always thought it was a genius idea and so how cool to be asked to be a part of the remake in animation form, albeit a mere two months of coolio. In those two months, I produced art that I am very proud of.  I was emboldened by Tim's insanely pushed, free form design sense and Ed Gorey's precision line look. It propelled me to go further in my usual design choices than I ever would have.

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There was an evil car salesman with a dumb henchman. 

There was an evil car salesman with a dumb henchman. 

I designed the evil car salesman as if he were a California Governor type.

I designed the evil car salesman as if he were a California Governor type.

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I thought it would be fun to have Sparky have to deal with a cat's leg sewn onto him.

I thought it would be fun to have Sparky have to deal with a cat's leg sewn onto him.

Sparky hates his cat leg

Sparky hates his cat leg

The only bone Sparky wants to bury is his cat leg bone.

The only bone Sparky wants to bury is his cat leg bone.

I thought it could be a running gag where he continues to tear off his leg and bury it no matter how many times it is sewn back on. 

I thought it could be a running gag where he continues to tear off his leg and bury it no matter how many times it is sewn back on. 

Caught! Victor once again has to resew the leg back onto Sparky. 

Caught! Victor once again has to resew the leg back onto Sparky. 

Early Victor design  

Early Victor design

 

I thought we needed a good reason for Victor to have to replace all of Sparky's limbs.

I thought we needed a good reason for Victor to have to replace all of Sparky's limbs.

Neighbor concept.

Neighbor concept.

Punishment for tearing off his leg again.

Punishment for tearing off his leg again.

Victor's devoted acolyte Edgar "E" Gore.

Victor's devoted acolyte Edgar "E" Gore.

Alt. Victor concept.

Alt. Victor concept.

Neighbor concept.

Neighbor concept.

One of my favorite drawings I have ever done. 

One of my favorite drawings I have ever done. 

My thinking was that people usually pick a costume that reflects their inner wish fulfillment.

My thinking was that people usually pick a costume that reflects their inner wish fulfillment.

I gave an option of an Indian teacher.. 

I gave an option of an Indian teacher.. 

Sparky's beloved.

Sparky's beloved.

Cleopatra complex. Her costume would reflect that. 

Cleopatra complex. Her costume would reflect that. 

I thought it would be fun if Sparky had a party favor for a tongue. Or maybe that was Don Hahn's idea, I forget.

I thought it would be fun if Sparky had a party favor for a tongue. Or maybe that was Don Hahn's idea, I forget.

Maybe Victor would have a rat to interact with in the cellar or the attic.

Maybe Victor would have a rat to interact with in the cellar or the attic.

It is impossible to  design as extremely or unexpectedly as Tim does but Lord knows I tried. 

It is impossible to  design as extremely or unexpectedly as Tim does but Lord knows I tried. 

Frozen concept art.

I was one the early visdev artists, (Paul Felix did some killer paintings as well), on Frozen back when it was still called The Snow Queen. These are some of my Snow Queen concept pieces.  This was before the Anna Elsa sister concept was part of the story. Anna discovered the long neglected Snow Queen's ice palace high in the mountains, and then the Snow Queen's body encased in a huge block of solid ice within it's frozen walls. Anna unwittingly resurrected the Queen and her ice palace to full fury. The penguin was just me throwing ideas for frozen tundra character ideas, never really a part of any version. Chris Buck had an army of snowmen in the story back then, and I gave the queen a flying sleigh for heightened action possibilities. 

 

Anna discovers the buried ice palace long believed to be a myth.

Anna discovers the buried ice palace long believed to be a myth.

The Snow Queen returns to her army of snowmen. 

The Snow Queen returns to her army of snowmen. 

Alt. idea for ice palace entrance.

Alt. idea for ice palace entrance.

snow queen options

snow queen options

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I thought maybe she could be like a Vegas showgirl type. The director wisely didn't.

I thought maybe she could be like a Vegas showgirl type. The director wisely didn't.

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Capt of the snowmen guard. Or not. 

Capt of the snowmen guard. Or not. 

Thanks for checking out my art. 

Lorenzo art

I made an Oscar nominated short film called Lorenzo for Disney in 2004. The 5 min. film is still unreleased on dvd but here are some of my early visdev paintings done in liquid acrylic on black paper.

Looking Back At Oliver and Co

My first storyboards i ever did were on Oliver and Co. Here are a few random board panels.

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Why Should I Worry--- always fun boarding to a song.

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Some of these ideas made it into the final film some of them didn't.

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These are done with Prisma color and felt pen marker

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With Billy Joel, the voice of Dodger, recording in New York.

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Billy Joel, director of Oliver and Co. George Scribner, and me with 80's mini party in the back going on.

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Me with the voice actress for Jenny, Natalie Gregory, back row, Tim O'Donnell asst dir, the legendary Mark Henn lead animator on Jenny, and dir George Scribner.

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Prod Manager Kathleen Gavin, little Joey Lawrence the voice of Oliver, Billy Joel the voice of Dodger and my boards.

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Mark Henn, Dom Delouise the voice of Fagin, and me in a classic standard disney cheesy publicity shot. I guess I liked that dotted shirt back then.

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