Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Dumboards - Part Two

First of all, I'm not sure when he added this, but thank you to Michael Sporn for adding a link to my blog on his "Splog"! Now, it's high time I returned to the Dumbo storyboards he posted up several months ago.

Bath time!

Carrying on where I left off, here is a sketch of Mrs Jumbo taking her son to be washed... everyone remembers this sequence in the film - a look at the loving relationship between mother and son before they are separated. Tytla's animation is a great portrayal of warmth and affection, of the way they are thoroughly happy to be in each other's presence. This sketch goes for a more comical approach: Dumbo is being taken to his bath against his will, a sulky, bratty expression on his face, while Mrs Jumbo's expression shows amusement at her son's ineffectual resistence. A perfectly valid depiction of a mother-son relationship, but hardly fitting for the only time we see them alone together. To me, Dumbo's expression makes him look too specifically to a drawing of a human boy in a children's storybook... in the film his appearance seems more universal, appealing on both human and animal levels.

Mother and son

Speaking of humans, this pose for Mrs Jumbo and the way she holds Dumbo are much more anthropomorphic than the approach they finally settled on.


An unused example of the pain and humiliation Dumbo undergoes as a clown.

Wealthy Ringmaster

Now, in the film, the last we see of the Ringmaster is when Dumbo gets back at him during the Big Town sequence. In the following success montage, Timothy becomes Dumbo's manager, and is seen in a still, proudly signing a contract for him. All this is fitting: the Ringmaster was the one who separated Dumbo from his mother, while Timothy has been a loyal friend who we know can be trusted to look after Dumbo's interests. This sketch, however, shows the Ringmaster gaining from Dumbo's success - perhaps he was intended to be a more positive character than he eventually became.

The Dumbo Hop

Dumbo Peanuts

Presumably the story department came up with various ideas for the success montage, and Walt Disney, Ben Sharpsteen or whoever chose which ones to include in the film. There are a few on the Splog which I wish had survived, as they show Dumbo entering the popular consciousness... I'm particularly fond of the "Dumbo Peanuts"... a bit more endearing than the implications of using Dumbo likenesses to bomb civilians in German cities...

Anyway, there are actually many more boards in Michael's post: these are only the ones which I felt I had something to say about. Once again, you can find the rest here. Until next time!