Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Frank & Ollie

I want to thank everybody for visiting the blog and for posting the nicest comments!

You guys sure know how to flatter this animator. I am a little overwhelmed by
the reactions from around the world.
That means the pressure is on to surprise you with posts that will knock your socks off.
So, I continue with FRANK & OLLIE !
I met them both for the first time in the spring of 1980 at Disney, during a visit to LA, before I started to work at the studio. Eric Larson took me to their office.
They were working on "The Illusion of Life" at that time. The walls were covered with storyboards, holding original art from many Disney features. Backgrounds, designs,animation drawings....I almost fainted.
Curiously though when posing with them for this photo, I seem to project an attitude
that says : May I introduce you to my two assistants, Frank and Ollie.
The nerve...

The pencil test shows two scenes from "Sleeping Beauty" in continuity.
The first scene was animated by Ollie, the second by Frank.
I purchased all of the original ruffs from Ollie many years ago. After scanning
them and adding sound I couldn't believe what I was watching.
Acting and drawing are so utterly convincing, completely alive!
Ollie stages his scene very clearly, three characters interacting, but the focus is on
Flora's finger. And Frank's close up of Merryweather shows a mood change with stunning subtleties.
The way her head anticipates ever so slightly the word "frost".
This is the kind of stuff that still brings me to my knees....

Eric Larson

Here are three examples of Eric's work.
The first one is Pedro from "The Flying Gouchito". Frank Thomas animated most of this character,
but Eric did some fun scenes at the end of the short with the kid and the donkey. I will post more drawings from that part of the film later. 
You don't see it here, but very often Eric used multiple charts, in order to control different parts of the character. 
His Cinderella wasn't as tightly drawn as Marc Davis' version, but his animation sure had life.
Eric knew how to use life action and how to avoid that rotoscope effect. 
The dance movements with the prince don't "float", because of the animator's ability to translate realistic 
motion into graphic statements. There is real weight here.
He told me way back that the nice thing about Cinderella is, that you always know what she is thinking
in every scene.