Saturday, March 1, 2014

From Ken to Milt

Here is another design idea for Madame Medusa (and Penny) by Ken Anderson.
He definitely tried to incorporate the idea of the classic Medusa image with snakes growing out of her head. 

Milt Kahl eventually came up with his own design for the character. His Medusa resembles one of his earlier creations, when Madame Mim briefly turns into a beautiful woman. 

This Anderson sketch shows Medusa and Penny in an awkward embrace. Milt liked the situation and the way it was staged, and he made use of it in a scene toward the end of the film. “(Ah, ah, ah, Snoops, that is no way) to speak to our little Miss Penny.” 
The way Milt animated Medusa approaching Penny doesn't look like a person...more like a weather system. Amazing.

Milt liked showing soft skin when it gets in contact with something solid (in this case Medusa’s head). He once said, that he gets a kick out of seeing a nude in a Degas painting sitting on a hard surface like a wooden chair. It’s a chance to show contrast, the way flesh reacts to that surface.


  1. Great post! Thanks a lot for sharing all this amazing artwork. Speaking of Milt Kahl, I was reading through Nik Ranieri facebook and found this caricature of you.

    I also have a request for a future post, I'm very interested to know more about mouth shapes, what makes for appealing shapes, what are some of the Do's and Dont's when designing mouth shapes for dialogue and also what are some of the Disney characters to study to learn more about lip sync. Thanks a lot!

  2. Andreas, great post again. In literature it is difficult to find much information about the exact background, that led to Milt's isolation during production of Rescuers. Would you mind to report, what you know about the disput, please? I just can't believe, his peers didn't like Medusa ...

  3. Wow, really enjoyed this post! Thank you!

  4. It's amazing how fleshy his drawings are with just simple lines.

  5. When I was an assistant at Disney, I remember Marc Davis talking about the work on the Little Mermaid. The hard, and soft body parts such as the skull. Squashing and stretching it to much. These two animators, Milt Kahl , and Marc Davis, where the greatest draftsmen in the studio.

  6. What a great scene. A few moments after this Medusa squashes Penny's cheeks with her hands, while she just stares at her in utter amazement. The way Milt Kahl could convey the squash and stretch, while still keeping all characters grounded in reality is just amazing.