Sunday, January 14, 2018

More Ken O'Brien Roughs

I've written about animator Ken O'Brien before. On Lady & the Tramp he had the ungrateful task of bringing the human characters of Jim Dear and Darling to life. They were both based on live action reference, and a lesser animator might have ruined such an assignment.
But O'Brien knew very well how to work best with that kind of reference. He altered the poses from the live action quite a bit by strengthening body rhythm and overall movement. His drawing and animation is sort of a healthy mix of Fred Moore and Milt Kahl.
Look at the image above, he handled those 3/4 rear vews with such ease! I find myself working that kind of an angle on characters over and over. Its not easy, but look at O'Brien's approach! Intuitive and perfect.

Go here for previous posts on the talented Ken O'Brien:


  1. I always thought that we need a book on the lesser known animators like O'Brien, Bob Carlson, Hal King, Harvey Toombs, Eric Clerworth, Clif Nordberg, etc. They were so good in their own rights and we know enough about the 9 Old Men, let's hear about the others too. I wished I had the time and money to make such a book. These drawings of O'brien are as good as any of the 9 Old Men.

    1. A sequel book? ;) You've got one guaranteed sale here, in that eventuality.

    2. It's cool that they at least did those flipbooks.
      I recently got an artbook that is ALL rough pencil sketches, doodles and studies by the japanese animator You Yoshinari. It's 300+ pages with no text, no cleanup, no attempt to tidy up rough parts. It's GREAT, and I wish Disney would release similar books about their great animators

  2. I don't know enough about what others assignments the 9 Old Men got in animation, I've seen drafts indicating those 9 animators on characters that aren't acknowledged for, but there are no drafts of Bambi, Make Mine Music, Fun And Fancy Free, The Aristocats, Robin Hood or the first three Winnie The Pooh shorts available on the web. Andreas, I wish you could type each scene in a sequence from those specified movies and post it on your blog.

  3. As to the perfection of the first Ken O'Brien drawing in this post, how do we know it was the first try? It may have been, but it is also possible that he did a half dozen pages before he got it.