…From the Flat File: 2000 – John Wayne

Recently I was going through some old digital files of mine and came across an ad I created at Disney Feature Animation for an employee screening of the classic John Wayne film The Searchers. I always really liked this caricature of Wayne and thought it deserved to get dusted off and shared here on the blog.


John Wayne
Brush and ink art of the Duke.


John was drawn entirely with brush and ink. You can see that I kept the line work thick and rugged which suited the subject matter well. Not only did John Wayne have a thick and rugged face, but I was going to be taking this art into Photoshop to try to make it look like it was cut into a piece of wood. The thickness was going to be an asset in that process.


The Searchers art
Here’s a close-up of the line drawing after being given the woodcut treatment in Photoshop.


Those years I spent at Disney Feature Animation were with the Artist Development department. It was our job to make sure the staff as a whole at the studio were up on the latest computer programs, inspire them with special guest speakers and screenings, and to keep the artists sharp by providing drawing classes whether that be life drawing or special classes with animals.

For a time we were regularly screening classic films, and for each screening I created the flyers that were posted around the building. This one for The Searchers was my favorite. I even made that “cowhide” from a wrinkled up piece of paper rubbed in coffee and pencil shavings. Notice the date on the flyer? I thought it would be fun to post it here twelve years to the day of the screening at Disney.


The Searchers Disney flyer
Here is the whole flyer never before seen outside the walls of Disney until now.


The drawing of John Wayne had one more day in the sun (not counting sharing it with you here today). Disney would allow folks who worked at Feature Animation to have art shows of their personal work. The Animation Research Library folks (you should visit their Facebook page) would help us post our art in a hallway in the Southside building where it would hang for a month, then move it to another building across town that we also used (called “Northside”) where it would hang for another month. There would be a nice reception on opening night where colleagues and friends from outside could come see the work. I put John Wayne in a frame and included him in the show.


William Sanderson
William Sanderson and Chad Frye in the halls of Disney Feature Animation’s “hat” building in Burbank, CA.


Thought it might be fun to show you the above photo of the Duke flanked on either side by yours truly and actor William Sanderson who came to see my work that night with his lovely wife Sharon. While he has been in many television shows and movies, Bill is often remembered for being on Newhart where he would always enter a scene by saying, “Hi, my name is Larry. This is my brother Darryl. This is my other brother Darryl.” I keep that photo taped up next to my drafting table where it reminds me of some good times twelve years ago.

Thanks for letting me share the art, memories and good times with YOU today!