Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Ken O'Brien Scene

There is very little information about animator Ken O'Brien online or in books. This is a screen grab from a short 1986 interview, which was posted on youtube by Jerry Beck. Here is the link:


What strikes me is that Ken in his demeanor and speech reminds me so much of Marc Davis.
Kind of serious, confident, with the occasional chuckle during his answers.
He mentions working with Fred Moore (among others), and I can clearly see that influence in terms of clarity and fluidity applied to key poses for this scene depicting Jim Dear from Lady and the Tramp.
At the end of the film Jim Dear takes a photograph of the new dog family. The old fashioned flash light explodes, resulting in smoke filling the room. Here he makes a run for the window, before opening it in order to clear the air.
O'Brien is in full control of animating this realistic design convincingly. The overall body rhythm reads simply and clearly. There was live action reference involved, but O'Brien always altered his animation drawings to get more dynamic results.

A final frame with effects from the scene.

Check out this previous post on Ken O'Brien:



  1. Spent a good minute scrolling the drawings up and down and the movement like you said, is thoroughly convincing! and just like Fred Moore, it looks like Ken didn't spend so much time on every drawing. He kept them loose (not risking losing the fluidity and dynamics).

  2. Thanks for this posting, Andreas. I always thought that we need to know more about other animators other than the 9 Old Men, they were also amazing. For example, I love the work of animator Bob Carlson, he did one of my favorite Mr. Smee scene where he shoots Hook in the cave. That were many others like Hal King, Hal Ambro, Ed Aardal, Hugh Fraser, etc. I would love that someone would make a book on these other very talented artists too. We have enough info on the 9 Old Men.

  3. Andreas, do you think Disney are going way to far to make a live action remake of Beauty and the Beast, even thay stole your character Gaston.

  4. And of course he did a lot of great animation, sculpting and figure finishing work at WED...

  5. Wow! That's beautiful! !!! And by hand! No computer!