Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frank Thomas' Squirrels



Let's stay with "Sword in the Stone" for a moment.
Juan Alfonso asked to see some squirrel sketches from this film, so here they are.
Frank Thomas was very fond of the squirrel sequence, and after he had passed away this section from the film was shown at his memorial.
It is a bitter sweat moment in the movie, when the girl squirrel falls in love with somebody who turns out to be a human. After she flirts with Wart as a squirrel, her disappointment is so devastating when she finds out he is a human. It breaks your heart.
This kind of emotional material is what Frank handled so well, in many films.

By contrast, one day I was surprised to see Frank in his back yard squirting water 
at some squirrels, they apparently were causing a big mess behind his house.
I gave him a hard time about it.

Bill Peet storyboarded this sequence, and with Frank's acting it became another animated masterpiece.









19 comments:

  1. Pure gold! Thanks for this Andreas!

    Have a great 2012!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a great story about Frank in his backyard!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Magnificent. What can you say...the great Frank Thomas!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Wart's facial expression in the fourth one from the top. Great sketches.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm looking at the last drawing, and i see a correction on the drawing done in pencil as opposed to the blue....is this frank's own correction on his drawing or someone else's? Or is that a note for cleanup?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, Frank did great job with this. Just look at the differences between Wart's and the girl squirrel's postures. It's very distinguished and very easily read by the audience.
    Thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Annamator,
    I think you have got this one figured out. That's Frank's handwriting next to the the drawing corrections. Most likely these were instructions for clean up.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brings tears to my eyes- to see how simple their forms were, but how evolved was their understanding. I think I'll die of pure joy the day (if ever) I come remotely close to their understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  9. One of my favorite scene in *any* movie.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I absolutely love this film. And I've always been fascinated by the way the characters maintain their essence no matter what form they take. It's so seamless, you might not think to notice!

    Thank you so much for posting these images and stories! I loved the Mim one too!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great stuff Andreas! It's amazing that Frank didn't think of himself as a great draftsman. Just look at his use of straights and curves, (sorry I'm nerding out!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Andreas,

    Continuing on the topic of Sword in the Stone, I read an interview with Bill Peet where he said that Milt Kahl balked at drawing his Merlin.That he took all the illustrated King Arthur books out of the library to check out the Merlins—always tall, austere figures with long black beards and star-spangled robes.Do you know if Milt did any drawings of what he thought Merlin should have looked like?

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's like you can see the way they think when you can see there line work.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Andreas, Is it true that you are doing freelance work on Disney's Frozen?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mr. Deja, i hope we will see you back at Disney doing some of your amazing animations again.May you have a 2012 full of new animation opportunities.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you very much!Best Xmas gift I got this year!
    The sketches are great-I always loved that sequence(and mad Madam Mim's).It's the kind of thing missing from today's crop of CGI wonders.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hector,
    as far as I know Milt based his final character designs for "Stone" only on Bill Peet's sketches.

    50mostinfluencial,
    I am not doing any freelance work for Frozen.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have a great talent of drawing. I did good with the squirrels for my book.

    ReplyDelete