DON BLUTH



In the mid-1950's Don Bluth had been an assistant animator on "Sleeping Beauty" for two years. He left the studio to pursue other interests, then returned in 1971. After working on "The Rescuers", he served as director of animation on "Pete's Dragon" (1977), a musical fantasy combining live action and animation. He also produced and directed the Christmas featurette "The Small One" (1978) and was animating "The Fox and the Hound" until he resigned from Disney in September 1979. Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy went with him to found their own studio.

Don Bluth is one of the most charismatic animation personalities since Walt Disney. Like Disney, he is able to discuss and demonstrate animation with the enthusiasm and craftmanship of a fine actor... and artist.
Also like Disney, Bluth began in the business as an artist and moved up to director and producer. But there the comparison ends. By the creation of Mickey Mouse in the late 1920's, Disney had given up the drawing board, preferring to concentrate on coordinating his art talent and story editing. Disney soon realized he could hire artists who could draw better than he could. Bluth, however, continues being heavily involved in art production; he is the artistic force behind character design, storyboards and even animation. This makes Don's films more visually consistent than the Disney product. It also creates a more personal film.
Don Bluth and his followers have focused heavily on the artwork found in the first Disney features like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Pinocchio". His intent to recreate the look of these films has won him admirers and critics.

Although Don Bluth's films suffer heavily from poor storytelling, I think they are among the best animated features that have been made in the past decades. From his first independent feature "The Secret of NIMH" to the more recent "Anastasia", there is a lot of visual stuff to be enjoyed.

On these pages you will find cels and a drawing from various films that Don Bluth made.

I hope you'll enjoy my website, and if you have anything to add or any other comments, please e-mail me: hwalther@xs4all.nl

Hans Walther


All images and TM of the respective studios.

You can click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

   
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BANJO THE WOODPILE CAT (1979)
Original hand-painted production cel of Crazy Legs and Banjo with a special effects overlay cel from Don Bluth's first animated short film, produced by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy.

Before leaving Disney, Don Bluth and his partners started this project at nights and on weekends in Bluth's garage. The film served as an educational tool by which the young animators learned to perform the magic tricks of the masters.

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BANJO THE WOODPILE CAT (1979)
Original production drawing of Banjo from Don Bluth's first animated short film, produced by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy.

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THE SECRET OF NIMH (1982)
Original hand-painted production cel of Mrs.Brisby from Don Bluth's first animated feature.

Mrs. Brisby (featuring the vocal talent of Elizabeth Hartman) is the timid heroine of "The Secret of NIMH". The mother of four thrust out into the world after the mysterious death of her husband Jonathan, she learns the meaning of the word "courage".

"Courage of the heart is rare! The stone has the power when it's there!"
In this wonderful cel you can see Mrs. Brisby with the magical stone around her neck.

I bought this cel at an auction at the Howard Lowery Gallery in 1996 and combined it with a simple background image of clouds, which matches perfectly as Mrs.Brisby is pointing upwards.

SOLD

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THUMBELINA (1993)
Original hand-painted production cel with color print background, signed by director Don Bluth.
Thumbelina flies with Prince Cornelius.

The wings of Prince Cornelius are on a different cel-level, and were only exposed half-time, so they would be transparant in the film.

After producing films with talking dinosaurs, immigrating mice and a rock and roll rooster, Don Bluth and his partners Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy decided to make a classic fairy tale. They chose Hans Christian Andersen's "Thumbelina".
The voice of Thumbelina was performed by Jodi Benson, who also did the voice for Ariel in Disney's "The Little Mermaid".

SOLD

ltd-thumbelina.jpg (30477 bytes) THUMBELINA (1993)
Hand-painted limited edition cel of the most important characters from this animated feature. This is #297/400.
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