Animation Legend Don Bluth, Creator of 'The Land Before Time' and More, Has Formed a New Animation Studio

Don Bluth made waves in the 1980s and 1990s as an animation alternative to what was being made by Walt Disney Animation Studios. With titles like The Secret of NIMH, The Land Before Time, An American Tail, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Rock-a-Doodle, and Anastasia, Don Bluth Productions carved out a nice niche for themselves during the Disney renaissance. Now he’s going to try again by ushering in a renaissance of their own with the recently founded Don Bluth Studios, which will be focusing on bringing hand drawn animation back in a big way.

Cartoon Brew called our attention to the creation of a new Facebook page for Don Bluth Studios, which says:

Don Bluth is teaming up with Lavalle Lee from TraditionalAnimation.com to create brand new content from the newly formed Don Bluth Studios, LLC. This new company is going to be establishing NEW characters, NEW ideas and NEW cartoons. These fully animated ideas will be pitched to television networks and online streaming services. We believe the public is craving another renaissance of hand drawn animation. Our goal is to make that dream become a reality. Our company will be VERY transparent, showcasing and updating the public with concept art, pencil tests, model sheets, animatics, and much much more. We are excited to show everyone what we have been working on. Please join us in our new adventure!

As of now, there aren’t any feature length animated projects that have been revealed, but as the page indicates, they have various pitches and ideas that they’re working on. In the meantime, recently named vice president Lavalle Lee has been working on a project to whet the appetite of Don Bluth fans.

In a series of YouTube livestreams, Lavalle Lee is coloring and cleaning up drawings done by Don Bluth for a project called Bluth Fables. This isn’t an animated movie or TV series, but rather a kind of video storybook that features “multiple short stories similar to nursery rhymes and Aesop fables” that were written by Bluth, who will also narrate the stories. For any aspiring artists out there who may want to work in animation or illustration, these livestreams seem like pretty detailed and helpful resources.

Lee has been working with Don Bluth for awhile now. He started studying with the filmmaker in 2009 ad has been running the Traditional Animation website, a valuable resource for animation fans and creators. Lee also worked on the crowdfunding campaign for an animated feature film adaptation of the Dragon’s Lair video game Bluth created, which was recently featured in the second season of Stranger Things. That project doesn’t seem to have made much progress yet, though there is a live-action adaptation with Ryan Reynolds in the works at Neflix, and Bluth is attached to produce.

Perhaps the resurgence of Dragon’s Lair as a feature film project at Netflix will garner renewed interest in Don Bluth’s work. Traditional hand drawn animation has mostly fallen by the wayside with computer animation dominating the medium on the big screen. Is there enough of an interest from the younger generation out there to make hand drawn animated movies viable again? Or will it merely be a novelty that can never quite capture the same magic had years ago? Bluth attempted to mesh the worlds of hand drawn animation and computer animation with efforts like Titan A.E., but it didn’t pay off and it ended with Bluth’s company falling apart. We’ll have to wait and see if Don Bluth has any more tricks up his sleeve for this revival.

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