Saturday, July 26, 2014

Frank & Ollie's Last Assignments


By the time I stated at Disney in August of 1980, Frank and Ollie had already finished work on their last film The Fox and the Hound. The rest of the studio was still wrapping up sequences, correcting rough animated scenes and trying to meet deadlines for clean up animation. 
But Frank and Ollie were still around at the studio, upstairs in the animation building, working enthusiastically on their first book The Illusion of Life.
For the film Frank had animated the section in which Tod and Copper meet in the woods for the first time as cubs. Ollie had focused on the sequence with grown up Tod getting to know Vixey.
Both animators worked together as they always had, talking over the acting for particular scenes and exchanging drawings. (They also layed out continuity sequences for young artists to animate). 
Overall they thought that the type of personalities and situation in the film didn’t challenge them like previous animal assignments. It seemed to them they had done similar work on earlier movies with fresher results. Frank and Ollie were ready to let young people take the medium and develop it into new directions. 
But as you can see in these final drawings, they both still had that sincere, emotional touch with character.








These are Frank's drawings:





14 comments:

  1. Another great post, Andreas, but I have a question about it. During this time period, animation seemingly adopted a distinctive style in the way characters - especially humans in their facial features and hands - were drawn by the artists. It's noticeable in this feature, as well as other works, such as The Small One and The Black Cauldron; the design also seems to have been carried over into Don Bluth's features. Were the animators trying to emulate Milt Kahl? Were they taking cues from Bluth? I've always been curious about this transitory era.

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    1. I'm sure that is an important question many viewers probably have in the back of their heads looking back on this period. I suppose I had noticed it as well and simply accepted that as the look the studio like to go with.

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    2. Many animators and directors at that time tried to continue Milt Kahl's graphic legacy. After all, his designs had dominated Disney animation for decades (and Walt wanted it that way). But we were way too inexperienced to successfully emulate Milt's style, and guess what? Milt WANTED us to go into different direction, which did happen eventually...after a few years.

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    3. Milt Kahl was a fantastic person. From humble beginnings, to become a one-of-a -kind artist. He had a temper, but this was justified as he always pushed for quality and for the best animation. He even didn"t force his style upon young animators, this shows the greatness of his personality.

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  2. they were just perfect until the very end. No mistakes, 100% sincere entertainment. Something definitely ended at Disney when the last of the 9 old men retired. Only a few films reached this level in the 1990's, and only a few artists followed honestly their approach, and cared for the medium.
    Mr. Deja, you were one of them, thank you for all!

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  3. Beautiful work. Very cool to see the very distinct differences in Frank and Ollie's way of sketching. Frank's sketches seem way 'looser'if you will. Like he was much more willing to let a sketch be, instead of trying to elaborate on details.

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  4. Lieber Andreas,
    wir sind Sandra Thieme und Beatrice Matis aus Deutschland, wir studieren Animation an der Filmuniversität Babelsberg "Konrad Wolf" und unser Studiengang plant momentan eine "Hero Galerie", in der unsere Vorbilder präsentiert werden sollen. In die Hero Galerie schafft es der, der das schönste Bild seines Heros in bester Auflösung bringt (Was oft garnicht so einfach ist.) Du bist eindeutig unser größter Hero und wir wollten dich fragen, ob du bereit wärst, uns einen Wunsch zu erfüllen. Wir würden dich gern um ein gutes Foto bitten - vielleicht eines, auf dem du ein Schild in der Hand hast wie: "Liebe Grüße an die Animatoren und Animatorinnen aus Babelsberg! - Andreas Deja".
    Erreichen kannst du uns unter folgender Adresse: sandra.thieme88@gmx.de
    Ganz liebe Grüße aus Berlin/Potsdam,
    Sandra & Beatrice

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  5. I find it interesting that Copper looks more like a true Bloodhound in these drawings than in the final film. I'm curious as to how the character design evolved. Interesting.

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    1. Maybe they thought Copper looked like Trusty from "Lady and the Tramp".

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  6. Thank you, Andreas:D this is Pure Gold!

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