About a week and a half ago I was finally able to see the very charming new movie Winnie the Pooh created by Disney’s Feature Animation Studio. For the past few decades, new animated Pooh adventures have been ably put together by Disney’s television division, but it did my heart good to see the 100 Acres Wood gang return to the Features division with characters rendered by some of the industry’s top traditional animators such as Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Randy Haycock, Dale Baer, Bruce Smith and Mark Henn.
I once was a part of Disney’s Television Animation group that worked on Pooh’s last outing, the My Friends Tigger & Pooh show that aired on The Disney Channel. Seeing the new film made me wistful for the characters. Pooh & company are such delightful characters to watch, and equally delightful to draw. The whole thing is a warm and fuzzy experience all the way around. Then again, maybe I’m conveniently forgetful of the challenges of working on a television show.
After finishing my work on two and a half seasons of My Friends Tigger & Pooh back in 2008, I just couldn’t stop Poohing. I spent some time doing some little watercolor pieces of the gang, the last one I posted here in April of 2009. So, in honor of the wonderful new film that families of all shapes and sizes will delight in seeing, I am posting this previously unseen watercolor & pencil piece of Winnie the Pooh with his friend Darby.
If you or your children ever watched My Friends Tigger & Pooh, you would know that Darby was a little American girl created just for the show that would be there for all the adventures with Pooh and the gang. She was shorter and younger than Christopher Robin, and was likely conceived with the thought that she would be more relatable as an equal to the target audience of 3 to 5 year olds. I grew to really appreciate Darby, and enjoyed drawing her. She had a sweet innocence about her, and a voice to match provided by a very young Chloe Moretz in one of her early jobs.
Well, enjoy this painting of Darby with her silly old bear, and be sure to add the new Winnie the Pooh film (that includes Christopher Robin – not Darby) to your “to do” list.