Sunday, September 27, 2015

Milt's Thumper

We all know that Milt Kahl does "Eccentric" very well. Medusa, Madame Mim, the short Tiger Trouble etc. He also does "Realism" well. Bambi, Peter Pan and Prince Phillip.
Of course he also had a knack for "Cute" as you can see in these rough animation drawings of Thumper. It is interesting to see how loose his work was in the early classics. But in order to avoid poor clean up, Milt gradually drew tighter, so he could control the quality of final drawing on the screen.
This is a classic scene. Thumper has just been asked by his mother:"What did your father tell you this morning?" He replies:" If you can't say something nice...don't say nothing at all."
Milt recalled in a later interview that child actor Peter Behn wasn't able to deliver a long sentence. He would pause trying to remember the line. Milt used such a pause here, and Thumper also tries hard to recall his father's words.
The drawings shown here on two sheets are out of order. I presume an assistant or another animator cut them out to create impromptu model sheets.
So much emotion and insight into the young rabbit's personality.

I intended to include some of these drawings into the Milt Kahl chapter of my book on the Nine Old Men. But there just wasn't enough room. The process of elimination was painful. I have enough Disney rough animation art for three more books. So, go ahead and order your copy, if this book is successful there just might be an "Encore" edition with more animated treasures.


  1. I guarantee the book will be successful, so why not publish more works!!!

  2. I've ordered mine and will order more for friends and family if I have to! ;)
    Encore!! Encore!!

  3. I think that you should make a book with just Disney roughs and sketches; I'd buy it.

  4. I long for a book of nothing but model sheets.

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  6. The head movements on Thumper are so amazing. I was just looking at this Bambi flip book in my college's library on the characters of Thumper laughing, adult Bambi moving, the owl talking about being twitterpatted, and baby Bambi trying to walk. It's so interesting looking at the animation page by page to see how that movement was just so.

    Hearing about your latest books you are working are is really exciting. I would love tot see more of these amazing rough cuts from the Disney vault.
    Do you happen to have any posts about your work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    1. Just enter Roger Rabbit into blog search on the top left.

  7. These are amazing. I have started the year in a BFA in Digital Art and Animation and just today in our Animation 101 class our teacher showed us a test scene for Bambi (just jumping around) by Milt Kahl. I was amazed by the movement and the personality in just a few seconds of animation.

    I am really enjoying my discovery of animation so far, I've been subscribed to your blog for a while now and getting to both read your articles and having lectures at school is fantastic! Thanks for all the great content you put out there!

  8. Hi Andreas,

    I am working on tracking down images of Milt Kahl to be used in an independent, feature-length documentary. Do you own any images?

    I was hoping we could connect through email to further discuss the details.

    You can reach me at