Thursday, July 23, 2015

Milt Kahl's Wendy

An early pre-animation, charming model sheet.

Milt wasn't happy at all when Walt Disney asked him to take on the animation for Peter Pan and Wendy. He had high hopes for getting assigned to Captain Hook. That character of course went to Frank Thomas. So when Frank showed his first scenes with Hook during a sweatbox session, Milt tore them to pieces: There is nothing here, no personality, drawing...these are nothing scenes.
Eventually he calmed down and started to focus on the two most realistic characters in the film, Peter and Wendy. Milt naturally wasn't afraid of realism, to him it wasn't as much fun as doing eccentric or comedic characters. But he did his best, and his animation shines throughout the film.
In order to make animated realism look good on the screen, top draughtsmanship is absolutely essential. Standard poses and head angles will result in boring scenes. Yet beautifully drawn head tilts, up and down angles add so much to the overall acting.

These drawings from Milt's scenes show his special skills for drawing any angle extremely well.

Here an assistant is tracing Milt's rough animation drawings in an effort to understand the complex drawing style.

The following copies show clean up drawings over Milt's rough keys from the song sequence "Your Mother and Mine". Look at the subtleties in Wendy's facial features.

Let Milt tell you himself how he felt about Peter and Wendy in this clip from a previous post:


  1. Hey Andreas,

    Did any of the animators during your time at the studio have similar feelings as Milt when it came time to casting characters off?

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  3. Didn't Milt also animate Michael and John?

  4. Pretty interesting how different the clean ups from that time are to CAPs-era cleanups

  5. I challenge any artist out there to Draw Wendy and get her on model. She is one of the most difficult I've ever tried to work with. Just try inbetweening any of these and you'll see how hard she is.. Thanks Andreas, I've been Schooled again.

  6. I had trouble in figuring out who animated Wendy in "Peter Pan". Disney Wiki said that Wendy's chief animators were Ward KImball, Ollie Johnston, Eric Larson, Les Clark, Milt Kahl , and Iwao Takamoto. Johnston was originally intended to animate Wendy but Walt Disney assigned him to Mr. Smee.

  7. There is such masterful talent here. I'm endlessly astounded by these drawings. Thank you for sharing.