Sunday, January 25, 2015

Who All Created Shere Khan?

We all know that the villainous tiger in Disney's The Jungle Book is a Milt Kahl character, but you'd be surprised to find out how many artists had a hand in creating this iconic bad cat.
Milt himself stated at one time that he really can't claim full ownership of a character he animated, because of other people's involvement in shaping its personality. He said, you've got the voice, which is so important, the story work as well as input by the director and other artists.
Milt felt like that by the time he gets his hands on the character, his contribution might be relatively minor.
Well...that's being overly modest, Milt never made any "minor" contributions to any of his animated characters.
Let's take a look at Disney artists who were involved in Shere Khan's development.

Story man Bill Peet doodled these poses, shown above, on a writing pad. Great drawings, but no specific character type is emerging yet. Peet left the studio early on in production of the film, his overall vision of Jungle Book clashed with what Walt had in mind.

Ken Anderson produced a ton of sketches as he explored the film's villain. This drawing still lacked menace, too comical.

I believe the following story sketches are Ken's work as well. By now he shows a tiger, who is confident, arrogant and above it all.

Go here to see story artist Vance Gerry's work on this sequence, and how it compares to Milt's final staging:

A publicity photo of actor George Sanders, who provided the tiger's voice, next to his animated alter ego.

A model sheet made up of Milt's magnificent animation drawings. Draughtsmanship and performance for the ages.

More on Shere Khan here:

and here:


  1. Thanks for posting this, Andreas. I watched Jungle Book over and over again when I was a kid. Even with all the beautiful animation that are out there right now, the animation in Jungle book still blew me away.

  2. I have a wonderful cel of Shere Khan for sale at:

  3. Bill Peet's design reminds me of Tony the Tiger who hasn't had his Frosted Flakes and cup of coffee before filming the commercials. You know I recall Shere Khan as a business man in the old Toon Disney show Tale Spin growing up in the 90s. The way they designed him looked like Milt's final sketch of the tiger but dressed like George Sanders.

    So with your new animated production you are doing Andreas, are you using Milt's Shere Khan design as inspiration to your tiger design?

  4. Andreas I remember you talked about when you visited Milt Kahl after he retired, he told you he got his references for Shere khan from "jungle cat" and "a tiger walks". I heard that from your commentary on the jungle book DVD and I want to thank u for sharing that with me