Flickr Images

Atlantis, The Lost Script

Back in 1998, I did about a year's worth of development work on Walt Disney's Atlantis. Although the film had many story and concept problems, I have to admit it was a lot of fun to work on. The Art-Of book for this film had about ten of my visual development images printed, however this was not one of the images printed in the book.

In this scene, Rourke has stolen something (I think it was the princess' crystal), and is attempting to make a getaway. The Atlantean charge Rourke, as he attempts to fend them off like Daniel Boone at the Alamo. Once in the cockpit, I imagined he would fire his gun and cut the rope and the plane would be launched into the air. This scene never made it to the film, however the film's actual getaway sequence takes place when Rourke and Helga try to escape using a hot air balloon.

Why did I imagine the getaway like this? Since the lost city was sitting inside a cavern, surrounded by water with only a few patches of land, I asked myself, "How they would launch a plane?" I put myself in their place and realized that it would be near impossible to launch a plane with no runway, so I imagined a large wooden contraption like a catapult that would launch the plane into the air, whereupon the engine would do the rest.

As you can see, the characters are heavily influenced by Mike Mignola, who was the style artist for the movie. Unfortunately, the Mignola style was barely recognizable by the end of the film...the final version had been "Disneyfied" to the point that it lost it's original inspiration.

This drawing is about 16x22 or so, and drawn on vellum with black Prismapencil.


Magui Bizzotto said...

What Hourke?

Unknown said...

It's really amazing to see this Disney pre-production work that rarely makes it into the artbooks.

I had a chance to see some of Piotr Bielicki's stuff from Mulan and Atlantis with you (he teaches me layout at Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada). Really inspiring to see the thoughtfulness that goes into the production design of these films.

Henry Elmo Bawden said...

Thanks for finally putting this one up. I absolutely loved this piece when you showed it to me quite a few years ago now. At the time I was having trouble even drawing one figure. I remember just being blown away by how you were able to place all the figures as well as making it a very dramatic and beautiful piece. Good stuff Moe. Your work is great.


Rocco said...

My GOD! The more of your stuff I see, the more impressed I am... and I was mightily impressed to begin with.

Hans said...

Wohow Marcelo, that is awesome!!! A true piece of art that belongs in a frame. How long did it take you to do that? The action and detail is just incredible. I'm still not comfortable working with dark tones and find it very hard to control details in areas with little contrast. I actually just messed up a drawing I'd been working on all day because of it. It just got too messy, but I'm not bitter, cause I realize that I'll have to mess up MANY times before I get it right. Do you somehow plan out your tones first or how do you go about it? and do you go over all the linework again, after shading it?
I'm grateful to have your artwork to compare mine to, so I can keep on pushing myself and not just get comfortable with my current level.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your gifts:)


Marcelo Vignali said...

Thanks again everyone for your continued interest and kind words.

Hans, you are right, doing a dark drawing is tough with vellum and a wax based pencil, in part because if the wax builds up too much, it starts to slip and get a greasy/messy look.

On this particular piece, I knew ahead of time where I was headed with the lighting because I had done my preliminary thumbnail lighting sketch.

In order to keep the mess down to a minimum, I started on the upper left-hand corner, and worked my way towards the lower right-hand corner.

I wouldn't recommend this to a beginner, usually it's best to develop the entire drawing at the same time in order to control the values and details. But, having enough experience, I knew would have a huge mess on my hands if I tried to do it that way.

After I got to the bottom right-hand corner, I did a little adjusting details here and there...and that was about it. I pretty much nailed it on my first pass because of my preliminary thumbnail sketch.

In total, the drawing took about four days from start to finish. I can draw figures pretty quickly and easily, and that part went really quickly. The part that took the longest was designing an interesting-looking catapult that would really function.

Urban Barbarian said...

Stunningly beautiful. Way to capture the focus point and keep the eye interested throughout the illustration....!

Perry Linton Joseph Osuna said...

I love how the build up figures create a texture almost similar to that of rockface of a mountain hope that makes senes, I'm love it keep posting so I can continue to soak up the knownledge and wisdom awesome your helping out Hans like that he a super kat I love his work to well have a great weekend take care!!!

kcirbuk said...

Beautiful and elegant drawings!!!I love them!!


Paco K.

Mark McDonnell said...

INCREDIBLY beautiful. Love the spotted blacks and the reduced values (even though you have wisely hidden half-tones for volume) similar to Mignola's style. Great push and the epic sense of adventure. It reminds me of a more friendly and just as thought out piece similar to Dore. Impressive as always Marcelo. Thanks for sharing.


Lubomir said...

You did an awesome job capturing Mignola's style and gestures and an even better job creating the mood. High adventure with high stakes. You're outdoing yourself with every post!

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Martin Wittig said...

I am a huge fan of your work....and i am always amazed!

Unknown said...

V neat!

Armand Serrano said...

What can I say...this is truly an awesome piece, my friend.

Anonymous said...

the light work .... you're a the same level with Gustave Doré with this one

Marcelo Vignali said...

Thanks everyone, thanks for all the nice compliments. Although this image didn't make it to the final film, I was hoping it would make it to the Making-Of book...but it didn't.

I'm glad that blogging provides a forum to show some of my work that typically never gets scene by a general audience.

Thanks Mark and Yacin, I'm a huge Dore' fan myself.

A. Riabovitchev said...

Amazing concept!I like it very much!:O)

David Colman said...

I remember seeing this piece while working w/you over 2 years ago. It still greatly inspires me. Nice to see u take serious advantage of those figure skills.
Keep on drinkin' Mata

Marcelo Vignali said...


Now my Mate' secret is out!