Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Early Medusa Set-Up

This is a pre-production cel set-up from The Rescuers. Actually one element in it is production, and that's Medusa. Milt Kahl had already animated her as she gets off the sofa and moves toward the door  in the back, with hilarious dance steps.
The alligators Nero and Brutus aren't developed yet as final designs. Milt just scribbled these poses so a color model artist had something to work from for an experimental color scene test.
The layout's line work (which doesn't line up here with the painted shapes) is brown, it was later changed to grey to match the character's xerox outlines.
Some of the film's night scenes are presented in old fashioned black xerox.

Milt himself wasn't a fan of the movie's art direction. "You never knew what time of day most sequences were played, whether it was night or day", he criticized later.

Here is a link to an earlier post about Nero and Brutus. I love Milt's animation on these heavy reptiles:


  1. I wish the movie's colours looked as good as the opening titles, or Al Dempster's book illustrations. I guess they wanted the swamp, cave, and orphanage to feel like horrible places, but I agree with Kahl that the art direction is a bit weaker than previous Disney films, even within the Xerox era.

  2. The alligators' face designs in this remind me of Captain Crocodile from "Robin Hood".

    1. M. Kahl designed that crocodile character as well.

  3. As an addition to your great post I remembered seeing this on Joanna Quinns (great) instagram account a while back:

    It's inbetweened on 1s by Richard Williams apparently the last walk.Cool to see I thought. Thanks for sharing as always!

    1. I love that accomplished as Richard Williams is, he's still enough of a student to do something like that!
      There's a piece of Kahl's Bambi animation floating around online, which Andreas added inbetweens himself too (:

  4. Yeah indeed, an eternal student as we should all be really! The reason for inbetweening is a bit different from what I understood. What Andreas did was to add the inbetweens that were missing according to the charts as to what Richard did was to try to see if it's better on 1s. I don't think personally that 1s are always better but it's defenitely an interesting experiment and of course I have tremendous respect for mr. Williams. I've encountered situations where scenes were inbetweened on 1s since there was a camera move to avoid strobing and it lost a lot of punch and became a bit floaty. Probably had to with certain drawings which shouldn't have been inbetweens but instead going a bit more down or up to add more weight etc. In the end it's often a mix of 1s and 2s of course. Regardless really cool linetest and sorry for ranting!

  5. Hi Mr. Deja, I drop in to your blog from time to time over the years as a lover of art and animation. You've even answered me before about your drawing process (I saved it!) and I was wondering how you feel about these live-action movie remakes of the animated classics you've worked on?

    I find them to be very faithful, but something about Disney not producing original works really bothers me, I think it's against our nature as artists.

    I think we need risk. They have enough money and support now, they could take a risk. They could be at the cutting edge. They could create the first masterpiece in Virtual Reality or something. You know. Or something we haven't yet imagined or conceived. Walt and the original company were innovative.

    They had to figure out a lot of things to get animation to where it is today. They were true artists, by taking risks. They had faith that if they produced something of high quality, it would pay off. Sometimes things don't do well right away, but if an artist really tries, it pays off, wins, or lasts.

    Isn't our calling risky in the first place? I don't know why I'm sharing all this with you, specifically.

    Just felt like saying it. At any rate, I hope you continue to be Blessed Mr. Deja. May your eyes never fail you, and may your hand ever be steady.