Sunday, May 10, 2015

Roquefort


This sympathetic mouse character from the 1970 Disney film The Aristocats was animated by my mentor Eric Larson. Eric enjoyed one of his last animation assignments, before focusing full time on training new people joining Disney during the late 1970s.
Milt Kahl came up with this early design concept above, heavily based on Bill Peet's earlier concept for the character of Amos from the 1953 featurette Ben and Me. 




As much a I like Milt's drawings, Eric created a new mouse for Disney Animation, which was certainly a challenge, within a medium full of mice characters. Eric remains one of the most underrated animators. No matter what the assignment, animal crowds on Snow White, the cat Figaro in Pinocchio, Flying Horses in Fantasia, Eric performed these characters  believably and beautifully.
He was a Master animator!!

9 comments:

  1. Eric Larson was a very special person. Unfortunately only fragments of his thoughts and advises remain on the internet, yet his unique personality can be felt across these (few) videos which can be seen on the net.
    Without him, Disney animation would have been quite less, he was a master, and I also admire him for remaining active way until the end of his life, helping young people to learn the craft. He had a dedication which is almost missing today, with the noted exception of you Mr. Deja! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Now that you mentioned Ben and Me, Sterling Holloway did voice both Amos and Roquefort.
    Btw Andreas, even though Eric Larson's not one of my favorite of the Nine Old Men, these are really good drawings that he did here. And the Milt Kahl model sheet is, as usual, fantastic.( Milt Kahl is second to Ollie Johnston as my favorite of the Old Men). I'm always looking forward to whatever it is you post next!

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  3. Andreas, i dont know what you think but i would suggest to you to put a ''search'' option in your blog because it is full of great information, so users can find what they look for easily.

    thank you very much for the work you do.

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    1. Go to the upper left corner of my blog page. That's where you'll find the Search option. It works very well.

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    2. Oh thank you very much, it was hidden on my browser.

      thanks again, a big fan of your work from France.

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  4. So I have a question for Mr. Deja. How did you get into the Walt Disney Animation studios 31 years ago?

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  5. Andreas, I've always loved the stylized way you animate hands. Were you influenced by any of the Nine Old Men's way of drawing hands? I see lots of similarities between the hands of Tony/Joe from "Lady and the Tramp" and Jafar.

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    1. Milt Kahl's way of drawing hands is a big influence on me. The use of hands in classical paintings as well, and of course studying real life hands. The mechanics of a hand as well as the meaning of certain positions.

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  6. Certainly Milt's take on Roquefort certainly makes him look like a descendent of Amos Mouse (and to that extent, Jaq from Cinderella always looked like an alternate version of Amos as well). Still that was an appealing design as much as Eric's finalization.

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