Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Staging Pongo and Perdita

Just returned from A New Year's weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The parks were packed, but it was still a lot of fun to spend time there.
It sure brought back memories from when I worked at Disney's Florida Animation Studio on "Lilo & Stitch".

Time for another post:
These are staging ideas for a scene animated by Frank Thomas for "101 Dalmatians". Here Pongo is trying to give Perdita some hope that the Twilight Bark
might help find their stolen puppies. It's interesting to see that Frank is analyzing
the direction of movement and feeling through arrows, he even comes up with an abstract doodle on the last sheet, that seems to say: connect these two characters !
That last drawing shows a physical connection as well as a strong emotional touch.
Just compare it to the middle one, what an improvement!
First Frank thinks of the placement of the characters, then he adds real emotion.

As I said before, great staging is not easy. The audience often has only seconds to register what the animator is trying to say. But when the staging communicates like here, the scene becomes a warmhearted story telling statement.


  1. I love artwork like this (especially within context). Those of us out on the periphery tend to think it was easy for them. This is the proof of the sweat and tears that when into these classics. I never got to meet these artists but seeing the work at this level really makes me miss them.

  2. Its really great to see what went into these films, and learn from it as well. I agree with Rodney above.

  3. Great post!! I always take away new knowledge from visiting this blog. I love to see the thought process behind the animation.

  4. Hi Mr. Deja - Great post, as always. Keep 'em coming!

    I'm the Cast Member that said hi at Hollywood Studios in the Animation Gallery Store. We met briefly at CTN this year (thank you again for being a part of that... the whole expo was really great), so it was good to see you.

    I sent an email to your Disney account, but I really don't even know if you get that... so I was wondering, as I'm preparing to apply for the summer internship at Disney, how would you feel about me asking a couple questions regarding reels and whatnot, and what you like to see when reviewing student work? Feel free to send me an email mattdewater@gmail.com.

    It was good to see you again and I hope you and your family had a great time at Disney! Happy New Year!

    -Matt DeWater

  5. UGHHHH. I so miss the absolute beauty of hand-drawn animation. Thanks for sharing, Andreas--Happy New Year.

  6. Thank for sharing this, Andreas. Please keep 'em coming. Wonderful stuff.

    I have a question: Did you ever make any sketches/drawings of the character Esmeralda from Hunchback of Notre Dame? If so, could you show us what you created? I read some time back you had requested to draw the character when Hunchback was going into production. I would really like to see your take on the character. Thanks, and a Happy 2012 to you!

  7. Wow! I love this :D Those two are so gracefully drawn, and the pose is so...awww. I think I'm actually starting to understand all this complex animationy stuff. And it's absolutely amazing!

    Ha! I was in Disney/Florida during Xmas and New Year's as well. Brings back happy childhood movie-watching memories for me :D

    And to Matt D. up there – good luck on that internship. I'll definitely be applying too in several loooong years :D

    Happy 2012 everyone! No end of the world, please! That would mean the end of good ol' hand-drawn animation (along with some other things...)

  8. whoa.. A really raw drawing from Frank Thomas. The last one is like a Picasso abstraction.

  9. It is amazing how much emotion is in the rough drawing it is like you can fill what they are. I love it.

  10. Frank always said that he spent quite a while getting the perfect golden poses... while Milt got it naturally pretty fast. But when Frank got those poses where he wanted them to be God did they work! I have always loved Franks work on that Bambi skating scene! And the story behind that process is so interesting, the way he rushed in with it to convince Walt to include the shot... and I believe that it is one of his most astonishing work.