The Castaway Layout and Animation Dr...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionThe Castaway Layout and Animation Drawing Group of 2 (Walt Disney, 1931). "Hmm! A pian-er!"Yes, just what everyone stranded on a desert island needs - a piano! Leave it to Mickey to figure out a more practical use for it... Throughout this early film, Mickey displays much of the impish behavior which made him an initial hit with Depression-era audiences - and which was later "toned down" to depict him as a better role model for children. The sprightly, buoyant way in which he is animated surely would have enlivened any theater; it is easy to see his appeal for early moviegoers. This desert island-themed short was released on April 6, 1931 - and was still early enough in the studio's output that a consistent Disney story structure had not yet been established from short to short. The story arc was perhaps not as evolved as it soon would be, and early films often tended to be more gag-driven, rather than driven by story. This innovative film provides plenty of laughs, beginning with the opening shot - a castaway Mickey has fashioned a raft out of wreckage...and for the sail, he looks to be using a pair of Minnie Mouse's bloomers! He lands on an island inhabited only by exotic animals, who are soon transfixed by his piano playing. It was directed by Wilfred Jackson, and featured animation by Les Clark and Norm Ferguson. The first drawing is a layout drawing, which depicts the piano after Mickey has "wrung it dry" and set it up for playing. Mickey has fashioned a stool by laying a spare plank of wood from the piano crate across two boulders. This specific shot can be seen at the 4:27 point in the film, after Mickey catches an inquisitive tiger cub playing with the foot pedals under his bench. 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 second drawing, an animation drawing, features the curious tiger cub who has his heart set on accompanying Mickey in his recital, only to be continually rebuffed by an irritated Mickey. The cub measures roughly 3" high. It can be seen at the 4:04 mark in the film. Both drawings measure 12" x 9.5" and are rendered in graphite and colored pencil on 2-peghole animation paper. Drawings from this early in Mickey's career are exceedingly rare and highly sought-after by Disney aficionados and animation art collectors in general. Minor handling and toning of paper. Both are in Very Good condition.
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