Monday, August 8, 2011

Captain Hook

Many of you would agree that Captain Hook is one of Frank Thomas' best creations. To some Frank is the best animator who ever lived. 
Personally I think there is no such thing as the one or the best in animation.
Look at other studios, Rod Scribner, Ken Harris, Ken Muse, Emery Hawkins...
the list of animation geniuses goes on and on. It's a matter of what turns YOU on.
But Frank Thomas most certainly is waaaayyy up there.
He used live action reference for a number of his characters. In this case it was character actor Hans Conried who provided the voice and acting reference for Hook.
Frank was very critical about the way other animators used live action. To him  the acting ideas were all you needed, but you still had to pass judgement on the footage and interpret what the actor gave you. His animation never has that roto,
floaty feel to it. For one thing Frank was way too talented and smart to let that happen. 
This is the intro of Captain Hook. The pencil test is the tied down version.
The photos of Hans Conried with character drawings on top of them first appeared in the book "The Art of Animation" by Bob Thomas.
I am not 100% sure, but those drawings could be by Milt Kahl, who wanted to do this character so bad, he could taste it.
In a future post I will show you how Milt envisioned this character. But Walt wanted Milt to focus on Peter and Wendy instead, and I think It was a wise decision.
So here  are a few layout and staging sketches by Frank for Hook's intro.
In some of those drawings you can sense poses by Hans Conried, but Frank's interpretation takes it to another level!