Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Albert Uderzo R.I.P.

A giant in the world of comics has died. Albert Uderzo drew the legendary Asterix comic albums that became a part of millions of childhoods as well as adulthoods. I was -and still am- in love with his work on Asterix and other characters. Genius!

I did one post on Uderzo a while ago, but since then have found more pics from our lunch in Paris, around 1995. I was working on the Mickey short Runaway Brain at the French Disney studio in Montreuil, just east of Paris.
On the left is Didier Ghez, who arranged this get together. On the far right is his daughter Sylvie.

Uderzo stops by the French Disney studio. That's animator Catherine Poulain in the middle, and animator Sylvain Deboissy on the right.

A few of us had lunch with Uderzo after the studio visit. Animator Yoshi Tamura is in the back.

On the left are Paul and GaĆ«tan Brizzi, who would later direct the Firebird sequence in Fantasia 2000.

Here is the link to my 2014 post on Uderzo:

Saturday, March 21, 2020


This is a scene by Milt Kahl with Prince Phillip's horse Samson. At first I thought the drawings correspond with the film frame above, but they don't. In the color image Samson reacts to the forest animals stealing the prince's cape, hat and boots. 
It turns out that the actual scene in the film shows broader animation than what you see below. 
I believe this scene was cut from the movie. It might have been Mitl's original version, before being asked to re-animate it with a much stronger reaction.
It is interesting to see Milt applying multiple images to the horse's muzzle when he shakes his head. He did this off and on when his characters moved very fast. (Pongo jumping on Roger's lap, Kaa uncoiling before falling down a tree).
Occasionally these motion blur type lines were ignored by the inkers and painters and eliminated, other times they made it on to the final cels.
You can imagine Milt finding out that his animation was altered....lots of colorful language.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Honest John

That's Norm Ferguson animating the fox Honest John in Pinocchio.
(I feel like telling Ferguson: Don't touch your face, and wash your hands...!)
I am literally mad about this character, and I think not enough people are talking about him in terms of outstanding acting and personality development. Every single scene he is in just shines.
Not ONE missed opportunity to present ultimate entertaining moments.
Any of the key poses he strikes are inventive and full of character. Other animators who did fantastic work on Honest John are John Lounsbery, Hugh Fraser, Preston Blair and Shamus Culhane.
Quite the crew!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Prince Outtake

There is delicate perfection in this Milt Kahl key drawing from a scene that was cut from Sleeping Beauty. Prince Phillip is leaning against a tree in the forest, probably talking to his horse Samson about that beautiful voice he just heard. 
That scene was eventually re-staged with Phillip sitting down as he takes off his boots.

What is also interesting to note is that the drawing represents Milt's earlier design of the character.
The tip of the nose comes to a point, which was a design feature Walt Disney disliked. Milt altered the nose slightly for the final version.

This is actually a small drawing, the guy is about 5 inches tall on paper.

More on Prince Phillip's design development here:

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Animators' Footage on Jungle Book

This is a beautiful scene by Frank Thomas. Milt Kahl offered some help with drawing the characters on model.
And here is an interesting, rare document I received a while ago from the W. Reitherman estate.
It looks all too familiar to me, because we received these weekly footage updates as well at Disney.
Management needed to keep track of how animation production was progressing.

Here you can see what the animators' average footage was between May of 1966 (when animation officially began) and the end of December of that year (which was the time of Walt's death.)
Not surprisingly Ollie Johnston was the fastest, followed by Hal King and Frank Thomas.
Milt Kahl comes in fourth with almost nine feet per week. That's about SIX seconds of film. Milt of course would argue that he could have been a lot faster if other animators didn't bug him constantly for drawing help on their scenes.
In any case, these numbers are incredibly impressive, considering the top notch quality of Jungle Book's character animation.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Milt Kahl Outtakes

These are a couple of rough animation drawings by Milt Kahl from a scene featuring the character of Frou Frou  from The Aristocats. This scene was not included in the final film, perhaps the action was re-staged. There is a similar shot in the film depicting the mare as she reacts strongly to Edgar slapping a newspaper on her rear.
I am not entirely sure if the two are connected.
In any case, any rough animation drawing by Milt Kahl is a revelation, as it shows the master's mind at work. I remember him talking about this character and that he had a hard time with the design and her personality.
Nevertheless the work he did on Frou Frou is just beautiful!

A little more about this character here:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Cinderella in Pencil

You've got to see this...several times! At Disney Animation Twitter.
Animation by Marc Davis, effects by George Rowley. Sure, it is based on life action, but man....