The Robber Kitten Pan Layout Drawing...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionThe Robber Kitten Pan Layout Drawing (Walt Disney, 1935). Gorgeous drawing which offers a fascinating peek at the behind-the-scenes process of making a Silly Symphony. This short was released on April 20, 1935 and was directed by David Hand. Disney Legend, Ham Luske contributed animation. The star of the film is a young kitten named Ambrose, resentful of his comfortable life and attentive mother. Instead of taking his bath, he changes into his highway robber costume, decides to call himself "Butch", and - after stealing a bag full of cookies - sneaks out of an open window in search of adventure. Along the way, he meets a real robber, Dirty Bill (from Cootie Hill), voiced by Peg Leg Pete himself, Billy Bletcher. Ambrose quickly discovers that a robber's life is no life for him! After being threatened by Dirty Bill, Ambrose runs back home, and gratefully, jumps into his bath. This is a beautiful example of a layout drawing, showing both a pan background and character placement. Layout drawings served as a sort of "meeting point" in-between storyboarding, background painting, and final animation planning. Essentially, layout drawings helped the different departments throughout the studio visualize and coordinate efforts to bring an image or an idea to the screen. In one respect, it was similar to a very elaborate storyboard, showing in great detail the planned movement/trajectory of the characters across the stage, or background. Camera moves and the duration of the shot were also denoted through charts along the margins. The layout also served as a guide both to the background artists (who would then copy and provide color to final drawing, usually in gouache and watercolor), as well as to the animators, who could see definitively how to move their characters about in "physical space." The scene depicted is a woodland road which passes near a tree with Dirty Bill's "Wanted" poster and the fallen log which serves as a seat. The background was can be seen in the film at the 3:37 point, as the camera pans left-to-right, from the tree to the log on which the two characters sit. The characters are indicated through rough sketches in colored pencil. Lively drawings of both Ambrose and Dirty Bill as they shake hands and take a seat together. The portion of the drawing representing the woodland background is minutely-detailed, with darker elements in the foreground, fading in intensity as they recede into the distance. This is a fascinating piece of Disney history, which provides a tantalizing glimpse into the filmmaking process. The layout measures 28" x 9"; the drawn area itself measures 18" x 8". There are many notes in the margins which detail camera moves and directions to background painters. In the left margin, a small chart indicates that Hamilton "Ham" Luske would be assigned the animation for this scene. The drawing does have noticeable edge wear, creasing, and toning throughout. There a number of small pinholes near the bottom edge, suggesting this drawing would have been pinned to a cork board for story meetings. There is a large crease in the center of the drawing, along with some discoloration in the same area. Drawing is in Fair condition.
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