Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Drawings from Peter Pan

A selection of rough animation drawings from Disney's classic film Peter Pan. These Milt Kahl poses  explain once again why Walt Disney needed to have Milt do the title character. The solid draughtsmanship alone with great attention to animatable anatomy made this animator casting obvious. Since there were several animators handling Pan, the original pencil tests revealed him in all kinds of different looks, from cartoony to too muscular. After Milt hit the roof, he then re-drew some of those key drawings so that clean up would have an easier time keeping the character on model.

Hal King animated this beautiful scene with John and Michael.

Woolie Reitherman handled most action scenes with Captain Hook. Frank Thomas of course focused on the main acting sequences,

Norm Ferguson did some great work on Nana, a curious mix of pet and house maid.

I don't know who came up with these early charming design concepts for some of the The Lost Boys.

Ward Kimball drew the final designs for these lively characters, but I don't believe he did any animation on them.

The Indian Chief was Kimball's main contribution to the film. What fantastic animation! So inventive (as usual). I remember thinking about this character frequently when animating dialogue scenes with Jafar. It's so much fun to come up with weird mouth shapes, as long as they work with the dialogue reading and the character's personality.

Drawings Howard Lowery, Van Eaton Galleries and Heritage Auctions.


  1. Hello Mr. Deja,
    My name is Luke Wooten, I am currently writing my senior research paper on animation and propaganda, and was wondering if you might be available for an interview over email? I would love to have your insight and it would be amazing to interview with a professional with so much experience. My email is woot.luke@gmail.com if you are interested, thank you for your time!

  2. It'd be interesting to see the drawings before Milt's corrections. Did you see Floyd Norman's recent post about working under Frank Thomas, after having worked under Milt for years? Maybe you've spoken to him in real life about it anyway, but it was pretty interesting.

    I asked him once about cleaning up Kahl's drawings, and he (humbly) said it was easy because Milt had "already done all the work". I guess Frank's drawings were sometimes quite rough, so maybe Floyd had a hard time interpreting them in cleanup

    1. That's exactly it. Frank left more room for misinterpretation.

  3. "After Milt hit the roof..."

    I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall! I second Marc: I'm curious about the drawings that led to that.

    "I remember thinking about this character frequently when animating dialogue scenes with Jafar. It's so much fun to comer up with weird mouth shapes, as long as they work with the dialogue reading and the character's personality."

    It's been a long while since I saw Peter Pan, and I can't remember the Indian Chief too well (must rectify) but one of the most memorable and entertaining things about Jafar is the way his mouth moves - particularly when it's the only part of him in motion: "Ecstatic!"
    On that note, I'd like to express my appreciation for your... how would you put it? Animation acting? Knowing what and when to hold, alongside what and when to move. At this point I can't say a lot about how much you channelled Ward Kimball, but the end result came out brilliantly.

  4. I find it so beautiful to see a still image, like the ones above, yet feel their movement. It's magical (born from outstanding craftsmanship).

  5. Hey Andreas, this is Polyvios, how're you doing? Thanks for the blog and your film's teaser. I just wanna say to you that I believe that the artist responsible for the early Lost Boys designs were drawn by character designer and story person John Walbridge who'd worked on films like Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo, and on this image

  6. Hey Andreas I saw on FB that Don Lusk is 103 today. I don't suppose you know how I could reach him, my mother and father worked at Disney on Pinocchio, Bambi and Fantasia, my dad Jack Bachom an editor and my mom Dorothy Higgins and air brush artist. They're both gone now but I'd love to talk to him.

    Sandi Bachom

  7. I don't mind if you use photographs from my Gallery (Untitled Art Gallery), (the drawing of Captain Hook hanging from his hook is my drawing and the photograph was taken and edited by me); just please credit my Gallery and the website is: www.untitledartgallery.com

  8. Is it true that Milt Kahl originally wanted to animate Captain Hook as villains are always more fun to draw? ( As I am sure you know)