Thursday, January 7, 2016


Milt Kahl is showing some guests the scene he is working on for The Jungle Book. Kaa, the python, has a strangle hold on Mowgli and is about to devour him. Luckily Bagheera, the panther, interrupts the situation just in time.
Kaa is a fascinating character. I will never be able to figure out how Walt Disney thought that the voice of Winnie the Pooh would be perfect for a villainous snake as well. I suppose actor Sterling Holloway was able to slip into just about any role and be convincing.
What's also interesting about Kaa is the fact that the snake's design changed. In this early sequence the eyes are smaller and are drawn streamlined on top of the head.

When Kaa returns later on in the movie, the snout is larger, and so are the eyes. These are Milt's drawings as well. Unfortunately I never thought of asking him about the subtle change in design .

Going back, here is the starting point in terms of design, a story sketch by Bill Peet.

According to Frank and Ollie's book The Illusion of Life several artists contributed to the visual development of the snake. I recognize Ken Anderson and Milt at the very end.

More of Milt's drawings. What a great rough sketch with Kaa and Mowgli.

Frank Thomas animated the later sequence, when Kaa tries again to hypnotize Mowgli in hopes for a meal. Shere Khan interrogating the snake is of course Milt's sequence.

Story sketches by Vance Gerry with the help of Floyd Norman, a new and upcoming story artist.
The central color sketch is by Ken Anderson.

A Frank Thomas rough animation drawing. Mowgli tries to free himself from Kaa's body.

As all characters in The Jungle Book, their acting and relationships to other personalities is what makes the film. So little story, but sooo many entertaining situations. Still my favorite. 


  1. One bit with Kaa that stands out in my mind is the painful way he untangles himself at the very end of the first encounter. ("Oh, this is going to slow down my slithering.") I don't even understand how anyone could imagine that movement, let alone make it work.

  2. This is a wonderful blog. You update it what seems like every few days and you show a lot of great drawings. I especially like the Milt Kahl stuff. Thank you for the upkeep. Its something I always look forward to.

  3. Jungle Book is simply magical, and it will be forever!
    Lucky us, Uncle Walt gave his final magic touch to the film before he left.
    Thank you sharing the drawings!

  4. This sequence still plays so well. It's difficult to believe we storyboarded it so many years ago. It was awesome working with a story master such as the amazing Vance Gerry. Thanks, Walt for the opportunity.

  5. Wow, a comment from *the* Floyd Norman! Thanks for your contribution to one of my top 5 Disney films! And, yeah, the characters make this picture.

  6. Hi there! I really loved this post. Do you have any other material related to this crafty, mesmerizing snake? Would love to see more if you do!!!