Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ferdinand and Matador

Before I scanned these two drawings for this post (I traced them from Frank and Ollie's book Too Funny for Words) I saw something in them that seemed odd.

First of all though, these are two absolutely fantastic key positions. How much bolder can you get ?! The matador had just exposed his chest in a last effort to challenge Ferdinand to a fight. But the bull only notices the tattoo of a flower which he starts licking affectionately.
The staging of the lick in the first drawing is already crazy, but it goes on from there. The tongue moves from the chest on all the way up to the jaw in one gigantic stretch.

Here's the funny thing: By the time the lick is in it's extreme position and the matador's body is fully stretched, his jacket fits tight on him now with the tie in place.
Logically this makes no sense. I assume that Ward Kimball, who animated the matador, didn't want to go through the business of having him put on his jacket afterwards.
I studied the scene on DVD, and realized that you just follow the main extreme action. The "morphing" of the jacket is a clever cheat, but you don't notice it unless you look for it.
Ferdinand was animated by Milt Kahl. 
These guys, even at a young age, sure had fun, and they knew what they were doing.


  1. Very interesting point, thanks for posting :]

  2. Incredible, so hilarious. All that give and opposing action.

  3. In Sweden they show this animated short every Christmas Eve, but I've never discovered this amusing detail. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Andreas, thank you as always for posting. Always so informative and inspiring.

    I was wondering if you could please clarify something. Normally these frames would be called "keys". However I saw a video where Don Bluth insisted on calling the "keys", "extremes". Further he went to say that's the way they called it at the Disney studio for years. And he felt that "extremes" was a better word than saying "keys".

    Side note, I heard an anecdote from Richard Williams where he said Milt Kahl called his story telling drawings the "key drawings".

    Sorry for the technical question but do you have any idea why? ...if I'm right Don actually worked with Milt Kahl, so why the difference in terminology?

  5. They all mean the same thing,
    Drawings the animator has to do to control the scene, before handing them to an assistant to be inbetweened.

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  7. Andreas, this is so great! ...i actually had an assignment recently where i staged a big lick and now i can go back into it more confidently by studying these key drawings closely... ...thanks for always providing such incredibly inspiring postings, reading them i am always so happy to be a student of animation...! :)

  8. Andreas: Did Milt Kahl and Ward Kimball team up on any other shorts and/or feature films? Didn't they work together on the tea party sequence from Alice in Wonderland. Just curious. :)

    When it comes to matadors and bulls, one of my favorites is the Chuck Jones classic Bully for Bugs!

  9. Why did you redraw them?! For Study?

  10. Also.....Milt played the voice of Ferdinand :)

  11. Hi Mr. Deja

    I send you letter to Disney Studios address about five years ago when I was TOO YOUNG to even speak English (oh well, as you see, I'm not able to speak English nowadays either). I'm pretty sure you didn't even get this letter (and if you did, I'm sorry for my English :D). But when I found this wonderful blog I decided to try to contact you again. So, I have to ask, is there any way to contact you privately? I would have few questions about your animation career but I'm not sure is this public area the best area to ask those for. So I really would presiate if I can finally, after 5 years, get change to talk with man who made my childhood so great as it was!

    All the Best!