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The 'Charlotte' Papers — Part 4

Charlottes Web Graphics: See for yourself. No one before has seen these drawings.

Storyboard from the ill-fated Charlottes Web.

Storyboard from the ill-fated Charlottes Web.

An excerpt from Gene Deitchs How to Succeed in Animation (Dont Let a Little Thing Like Failure Stop You!).

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the correspondence between Gene Deitch and legendary author E. B. White.

Mirko Hanák produced many character model studies, a few watercolor paintings and a 775-drawing full-color storyboard for Charlottes Web before his tragic death, still in his prime. He was a master draughtsman, and simply wrote the drawings with a flow-pen. His watercolors were a perfect absorption of Chinese watercolor technique. His work was extremely popular.

Mirko was a natural, a rare genius illustrator of many classic books and calendars. His specialty was animals, and he could draw and paint them all, seemingly effortlessly. And as you can see in these pages, he was also a master of human figures, of expression, and action; a natural for Charlottes Web.

His passing compounded the tragedy. We both felt that Charlotte could have been our masterwork. It could have also been a failure, something beyond what we could have managed. My only comfort is that, not having done it, no one can say that it would not have been my masterpiece. It certainly was my extreme failure.

I present here a few of Mirko Hanáks studies and story sketches for Charlottes Web. Maybe Henry White would say they are not up to the Hanna-Barbera standard. But I take satisfaction that Andy White loved them! And thats what I have as my satisfaction!

Mirko Hanáks study of Wilbur.

Mirko Hanáks study of Wilbur.

Mirko Hanák's model of Templeton.

Mirko Hanák's model of Templeton.

Mirko Hanák's American barn study.

Mirko Hanák's American barn study.

Mirko Hanák's animal studies in his watercolor technique.

Mirko Hanák's animal studies in his watercolor technique.

To read more about Genes adventures in the animation world, visit Genes online book.

Gene Deitch is one of the last surviving members of the original Hollywood UPA studio of 1946 and the instigator of the CBS-Terrytoon renaissance of 1956-1958. He was also: animation department chief of the Detroit Jam Handy Organization; 1949-1951, creative chief of UPA-New York, 1951-1954; director at John Hubleys Storyboard Inc., New York, 1955; president of Gene Deitch Associates, Inc., New York, 1958-1960; creative director for Rembrandt Films, 1960-1968; and star director for Weston Woods Studios, Inc., Weston, Connecticut, 1968-1993. He has worked for more than 40 years with the Prague animation studio, Bratri v Triku.

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