Animation &Animation Artifacts &Disney 11 May 2010 08:09 am

Dumbo’s Bath

Hans Perk has been posting the drafts for Dumbo, and this has led Mark Mayerson to start posting the brilliant Mosaics he creates for the film.

I want to join in celebrating this feature, which is one of my very favorite animated films , and I’ve decided – since I’ve already done a lot of behind the scenes posts – I’ll recap a number of those posts in the next week or so.

I start with this one of Dumbo’s bath animated by Bill Tytla and boarded by Bill Peet.
- Thanks to a loan from John Canemaker, I can continue posting some of the brilliant storyboard work of Bill Peet. The guy was a masterful artist. Every panel gives so much inspiration and information to the animators, directors and artists who’ll follow up on his work.

This is the sequence from Dumbo wherein baby Dumbo plays around the feet of his mother. Brilliantly animated by Bill Tytla, this sequence is one of the greatest ever animated. No rotoscoping, no MoCap. Just brilliant artists collaborating with perfect timing, perfect structure, perfect everything. Tytla said he watched his young son at home to learn how to animate Dumbo. Bill Peet told Mike Barrier that he was a big fan of circuses, so he was delighted to be working on this piece. Both used their excitement and enthusiasm to bring something brilliant to the screen, and it stands as a masterpiece of the medium.

Of this sequence and Tytla’s animation, Mike Barrier says in Hollywood Cartoons, “What might otherwise be mere cuteness acquires poignance because it is always shaded by a parent’s knowledge of pain and risk. If Dumbo “acted” more, he would almost certainly be a less successful character—’cuter,’ probably, in the cookie-cutter manner of so many other animated characters, but far more superficial.”

I had to take the one very long photstat and reconfigure it in photoshop so that you could enlarge these frames to see them well. I tried to keep the feel of these drawings pinned to that board in tact.

(Click any image to enlarge.)

Bill Peet at his desk on Dumbo.

Here are frame grabs from the very same sequence of the film showing how closely the cuts were followed. Even in stills the sequence is stunning.

(Click any image to enlarge.)

This film is a gem.
The dvd also has one of my favorite commentary tracks throughout.
John Canemaker, by himself, talking about the film. It’s great!

From Hans Perk’s A Film LA:

Seq. 06.0 “Menagerie – Mrs. Jumbo Goes Berserk”
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, assistant director Jacques [Roberts?], layout Terrell Stapp.

Dumbo being washed by Mrs. Jumbo, animated by Bill Tytla, with effects by Art Palmer, Cornett Wood and Sandy Strother.

9 Responses to “Dumbo’s Bath”

  1. on 11 May 2010 at 9:07 am 1.Oswald Iten said …

    This is a post I have bookmarked long ago and have been coming back to from time to time. Especially since I’m currently studying the mother-child relationship in that film and am preparing a post on the editing in this scene.

    The storyboard – final frames comparison is very insightful.

    “Dumbo” is so simple yet so powerful. Bill Peet has stated his unhappiness in interviews about the fact that Tytla always gets credited with this scene. Even though much of the scene is certainly already visible in Bill Peet’s storyboards, Tytla’s contribution in doing the actual animation still deserves all the praise it gets.

  2. on 11 May 2010 at 9:18 am 2.Stephen Macquignon said …

    even the storyboards make me smile when it come to this film

  3. on 11 May 2010 at 9:48 am 3.Ray Kosarin said …

    It’s impossible to praise Bill Peet’s work too highly. There are artists who are good draughtsman, artists who are good at staging, artists who understand acting, artists who understand timing, artists who can tell a story, and artists who have good taste.

    A very good artist might be gifted at two or three of these things. Bill Peet, incredibly, was gifted in all of them.

  4. on 11 May 2010 at 1:57 pm 4.Eric Noble said …

    Excellent post. I thank Bill Peet, Bill Tytla, and all the other Disney artists and crew for creating such a beautiful piece of film.

  5. on 11 May 2010 at 2:06 pm 5.Stephen Worth said …

    Is this the sequence Bill Peet said he helped Tytla animate?

  6. on 11 May 2010 at 2:10 pm 6.Stephen Worth said …

    Just looked it up and answered my own question. The scene Peet animated for Tytla was the scene that introduces the elephants.

  7. on 11 May 2010 at 7:40 pm 7.Zartok-35 said …

    Great artwork! Thanks for making it available.

    Judging by the final photo of Bill Peet at his desk, it looks like he worked on the “Timothy Befriends Dumbo” sequence as well. I wonder if the storymen were assigned by director on this movie.

  8. on 12 May 2010 at 8:55 am 8.Robert Dress said …

    As men we stand on the shoulders of other men to achieve greatness. Both Tytla and Peet had a greatness that’s still as fresh and new and exciting as it was 60 some odd years ago. I can only hope to achieve this kind of greatness in my own
    right with my art.

  9. on 20 Oct 2013 at 2:49 am 9.Renaldo Meckes said …

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