Sunday, April 8, 2018

Fred Moore's Mickey


I found this image on the internet a while ago. Whoever the owner is...congratulations, this is a unique Fred Moore doodle sheet. Starting out with red pencil, Fred explores a variety of poses. Then, in usual fashion, he adds black pencil lines on top. Those lines are the ones that matter, the red under-drawing was research in order to get to the final form defining black lines.
There is just one unusual thing going on here.
The red under-drawings show Mickey's eyes with pupils, the "modern" design. The black lines refer back to the "old" eye treatment, solid black ovals.
There is no doubt that these sketches were made during Mickey's eye transition in 1938/39.
It's just that you'd think Fred would draw the old design first, then add the new Mickey with pupils on top.


  1. The myth about Mickey Mouse's redesign is even confusing. According to the Making-of DVD featurette in Fantasia, Frank or Ollie tells there were meetings discussing about that, but in the history books and articles it simply says Fred Moore did a new design for Mickey Mouse to give more expressions.

  2. Since it was a transition process, maybe he drew Mickey the way he wanted to first, but he didn't have the okay to change the design yet, so he finished it up with the old treatment. As for the meetings vs. Fred Moore doing a new design, they're not mutually exclusive. In my imagination, Fred Moore would have said, "Hey, I have a new idea for Mickey," and then they would have had a meeting to discuss it and let all the other animators know what they were doing.

  3. Yeah, this definitely looks to be from the late 30's. I personally really like Moore's more "elastic" design of Mickey that was used in cartoons like "The Little Whirlwind" et al. The squash and stretch in the head and use of perspective in his ears really gave Mickey more charm, IMHO.

  4. I think those small eyes were a big mistake, sir! In fact, the way Iwerks drew it, the eyes were not only the black dots, but the overall space that surrounded them (you can see this in some close ups of "Plane Crazy"). The result of this modernization was the shrinking the eyes... the character loosed expresivity but gaining some realism. The kind of realism that eventually pushed artists like Moore out of the line.