Monday, August 25, 2014


…from Disney artists, who knew what they were talking about. In the past I have shown these and other “quote cards” during lectures on classic Disney animation, and sometimes they started off an interesting discussion. 
I can certainly came up with more of these statements, based on interviews I have seen and what these guys actually told me.
Here is one, I forgot to add, by Milt Kahl:

“My wife (Julie) and I saw a review of ’The Black Cauldron” on local TV (in San Francisco). It was pretty bad, and I knew the film would be a prize stinker, so we didn’t bother watching it in a theatre. Later we both did enjoy ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ though, it looked like something fresh.”

Don Graham was head of Disney’s internal training program from 1932 - 1940. Chuck Jones called him the greatest American art teacher.
The closest you will ever come to his teachings is through his excellent 1970 book ”Composing Pictures”. It is in reprint and available at Amazon:

In other words, if it's not based on real life: Forget it!

It took me years to fully understand this.

Ward’s answer to a student’s question, referring to why the Disney classic films are so good with a quality unachievable today.

Yes…Marc did say that. And I respect him for it.
I wonder what he’d say about today’s animated features. he did with Shere Khan. No rotoscoping, just a lot of live action film studies.


  1. I just LOVE your blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences, and so much beautiful art. It's almost like a little animation class in itself.
    These quotes are great. It's the kind of talk I would expect from some infelxible martial art teacher, the kind that pushes the green students to their limits, make them sweat and grunt, but that at the end is able to make them in to great warriors. In my worst days I think "Screw it! That is good enough! If you don't give a pass to anything less than excellent you never going to finish anything!" but then you think of these great masters and yiu know they are right.

  2. Did Kahl ever get the chance to observe real tigers, or were all his studies from film only?

  3. Michel Sporn´s blog have very interesting memo from Walt to Don from year 1935, concerning coming training.

    And it seems, that qualities of good animator havent´change at all on 80 years, heh.

  4. I remember you mentioned elsewhere on this blog that when Kahl expressed satisfaction with Great Mouse and you asked him whether the animation featured into that, he quickly denied it. Where there instances when the Nine were impressed with animated scenes not from their work or their Disney peers that they openly said it? I remember the bear fight from Fox & The Hound making it into The Illusion of Life and you mentioning you thought your scene before the eponymous characters in Prince & The Pauper meet holds up.

  5. I'm sorry. I greatly respect a master like Marc Davis, but characters like Scar and Mufasa (to me, anyway) do not look like plush toys!

  6. I don't agree with Marc Davis…but I respect him too!!! =)

  7. Words of Wisdom ! Thanks Andreas for sharing .

  8. Thanks for share Andreas, I will print some of them for to see everyday in my studio

  9. I guess I can see why Marc Davis compares The Lion King to plush toys but the characters there are more "meaty" then the characters of Bambi. You can see more bone structure in Bambi then you can in Simba. But hey, they make fantastic plush toys. ºoº

  10. I do hate to see Black Cauldron put down so much. There's nothing wrong with that film a good editor couldn't have fixed.

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  12. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. motivational quotes about goals