Monday, March 18, 2013

Searching for the Perfect Pose

Ollie Johnston animated this short scene with Pongo, who is trying not to loose sight of Anita and Perdita who are heading for the park. After a brief pause he leaps off the window ledge toward screen right.
What happens then is Pongo's attempt to convince Roger Radcliff to take him on a walk to the park.

It is fascinating to see how many sketches were made by various artists in order to find the perfect pose for the start of the scene. Since Bill Peet's storyboard didn't include a drawing for this moment, it was up to the animators to work it out.
The challenge is portray a dog from from a 3/4 rear angle, who looks out the window down the street with a sort of anxious attitude.
Above is the final frame from the film, but check out all these drawings.

This is how Frank Thomas analyzed Pongo's pose and its staging.

These could possibly be Ollie Johnston's sketches.

Milt Kahl tried a couple of different versions which helped to solve the drawing problem.

It looks like these animators exchanged drawings and asked each other for help more often than I thought. Then again producing a Disney animated feature is one big team effort.


  1. Its cool to see all these drawings of one scene done by all these old school Disney animators. I'm hoping that someday I'll be able to work together with people on an animated film. Did you ever do something like this with your fellow employees like Glen Keane or somebody.

  2. This is really cool. I like the pose they ended up going with. It reminds me of the way my dog sometimes stretches out her neck with her head tilted to get a better view at whatever I'm eating. It always cracks me up.

  3. Thank you again, great pictures. Frank Thomas seems to be close too, and surely helpfull. :)

  4. Wonderful comparison between sketches of different artists, especially how each change in angle says something else. :D

  5. Thank you so much - I LOVE this post.

    I was going through each drawing and thinking, this looks OK, this looks OK, what's the problem? Then BOOM. The last drawing is just so much more 'right'.

    But then studying the last drawing, it really is very anatomically 'inaccurate' to a real dog. But the beauty of it is how it demonstrates the power of caricature, pushing exaggerations to capture the essence of something. That last drawing is an expression of the beauty of a Dalmatian, what distinguishes it from other dogs. Makes me think of the great caricaturist Al Hirschfeld,

  6. One Hundred and One Dalmatians is one of my favorite Disney classics...I love the stylized and contempory look of the backgrounds and characters. Pongo I think is my favorite, but I do really love Roger and Anita. Thank you, Andreas, for sharing sketches of one of my favorite canines. Simply beautiful. I would love to work at Disney someday, and let's just say you are an inspiration! I can't really draw so I don't expect to be an animator but being part of movies would be amazing!
    This is why I love hand-drawn animation: seeing the characters and knowing someone's loving hand drew them carefully and step-by-step, giving them life when they had none before. Sigh. Beautiful.

  7. Andreas, Thank you for sharing your wealth of experience, knowledge and inspiration. Simply fantastic!

  8. Definitely a difficult angle to display an emotion. I like the progression as they add the snout bit and get the body attitude just right. Ollie once told me to try everything three different ways to get the best result. If that didn't work, you go to Milt. He said Milt would want to see your attempts first before he would help.

  9. These are pretty great! Nice to see and try to figure out what they were thinking at the time.

  10. Great post. Nice to see the development.

  11. You can always tell Milt's Pongo drawings because he drew the paws nicer than everyone else.