Above is some beautiful concept art from one of my favorite Disney animated features, 101 Dalmatians.

Compared to the classic fairytale epics, this film is almost a chamber piece, with a quiet, cozy, gentle humor — interrupted, of course by the delirious Grand Guignol of Cruella DeVille.  Its modernistic (for 1961) line-drawing style reminds me of the work of the great N. M. Bodecker, who did the wonderful illustrations for the Edward Eager magic-themed children’s books.

Despite its reaching for a newer, more linear style, and the fact that it used Xeroxing to help in the transfer of the artists’ drawings to the cels, 101 Dalmatians has a fully animated look and makes exciting use of composition and animation in depth. It’s the perfect film for a winter’s night by the fire, with some cookies and a cup of hot chocolate.

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