Thursday, February 2, 2023

Sketches of Wart

I think I said this before, but Eric Larson found Wart very difficult to draw. "Boy...that kid was so skinny", I remember him saying. But then again any character design by Milt Kahl was hard to follow in those days because Milt had developed his own personal drawing style. For the most part Walt Disney approved Milt's character designs for a new film, but occasionally there were design details that the boss didn't like. And he called for changes such as Wart's profile, his nose in particular. Milt told me way back that Walt did not find this early version appealing enough. On Jungle Book it was the character design of King Louie that went through subtle changes. Walt asked for larger eyes and some hair on top of his head. "You are thinking too much in terms of a real orangutan" he told animators Frank Thomas and Milt, who had just presented their ruff animation of the King Louie sequence. (In the same memo Walt praised both of them for the great character animation).

One thing that really cracked me up is when Milt told me that Walt asked him to stop drawing the characters in the Hanna-Barbera style. "He was playing with me, you know."


Thursday, January 26, 2023

Sword in the Stone Publicity

These are four "mini stand up posters" that were displayed in windows of movie theaters when The Sword in the Stone premiered in 1963. Beautiful compositions for this unusual format, as well as terrific character depictions and gorgeous color. This is some of the best advertisement art for any Disney movie. It is interesting to see Bill Peet's story credit here.

I believe the artist might have been Al White, who also illustrated a Golden Book featuring the film's story. Years ago I had the opportunity to see the original book illustration/paintings over at Disney Publishing. Let me tell you, they took my breath away. Absolutely stunning!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Early Pongo

These rough animation drawings show the early design of Pongo with a larger muzzle. 

See previous post on this topic here:

Ollie Johnston animated this section from the opening sequence of 101 Dalmatians. After spotting Anita and Perdita from a window sill, Pongo is in a hurry to leave the house. In this close up scene he realizes that it's not time yet for his daily walk with his pet Roger Radcliffe. What to do?

This is one of the first scenes Ollie animated on this film. Milt Kahl had designed the character with a rather large muzzle, and Ollie followed Milt's early sketches of Pongo. The scene would later be redrawn with the final approved character design.

Final frame 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Lounsbery's Robin Hood

These rough animation drawings of Robin Hood show how John Lounsbery handled the character early on in production. To me he looks more like a comic sidekick than the hero type Milt Kahl turned him into afterwards. Lounsbery's rough lines are fluid and less designy.

These drawings are currently available at Wonderful World of Animation:

Tuesday, January 10, 2023


In this Milt Kahl scene Buzzie is starting to loose his patience with the other vultures while discussing plans for what to do next. "Oh blimey, the same notes again!" 
Milt Kahl's challenge here was to find interesting ways to portray boredom. When you are bored you don't move very much at all. But these four buzzards have just enough interaction to pull off a very entertaining sequence. 
As they sit still, one of them would burst out an idea for what to do, which almost freaks out the other ones. For a few frames they turn into "feathery fluff balls" before settling into their normal appearance.
I love all that stuff.


The exhibit WALT DISNEY'S THE JUNGLE BOOK, Making a Masterpiece at the Walt Disney Family Museum is closed during February. It will reopen next month and run through March 4.

In the meantime have a sneak peak on Youtube, posted by a visitor: