Saturday, June 11, 2011

Milt Kahl II

A little more on Milt Kahl for now, (there will be much more later).
The two lovely ladies in the photo knew him well, particularly Sybil Byrnes 
on the right.
She is Milt's daughter and says that her dad was not only driven by perfection in his work, but in his hobbies as well. Crossword puzzles, playing chess or fly fishing, he was great at all those things. 
As a child Sybil was popular in school, because she could invite her classmates to
work in progress screenings of films like "Peter Pan".
The other lady is Kathryn Beaumont Levine, who as you might already know, is the voice as well as the live action model for Alice and Wendy. She remembers Milt well, and that he frequently updated Kathryn on how her character and certain sequences were coming along during the production.
The photo was taken at the Academy's tribute to Milt Kahl in April of 2009.
I had the honor of hosting this event. (And boy, was it fun!).

Following are pictures of some Milt's wire sculptures. They are a bit difficult to photograph, because they become two dimensional. Full of grace and beauty
they show again his sense for design and motion.
These pictures were taken by animation historian Robin Allen.

Then we have a bunch of hilarious Marc Davis gag drawings.
Marc and Milt were best friends, but I guess occasional arguments would come up
over issues like the length of Alice's arms. Too funny!

Today I finish with a few design drawings for the short "Lambert, the sheepish Lion". 
Milt didn't animate on it at all, but for the final look of the main character they needed Milt's touch.
I see a foreshadowing of Tigger in the first sheet. Beautiful squash and stretch in his face. Wonderful gutsy drawings.

And again everybody, I do enjoy your comments.


  1. Good lord those wire sculptures are beautiful. They feel as alive as his drawings ever were. I'm assuming you were inspired by Milt to do your own sculptures Andreas? Or is it just coincidence that you do them too? To be honest I've never seen that kind of thing from anybody but the two of you. I remember one of yours of a frog....I particularly liked that one. You should put some of them on here!

    Hey Andreas, I've been trying to get in touch with you ever since our meeting at the Disney studio last September. Has your email address changed or something? I'd really appreciate it if you could drop me a line sometime to keep in touch ( or Your work, particularly on Scar the lion, is the reason I went into animation so of all the animators I've had contact with in the past, I am most keen to stay in touch with you! :)

  2. Hi Andreas,
    The sculptures are amazing. Was Milt's wire sculptures your inspiration to start creating your own wire sculptures? I recall seeing one of your sculptures at the Totoro forest project auction. I agree with Andy, it would be nice to see some of your wire sculptures posted here as well as some of your drawings. You were a big inspiration for me when I was starting my career as an animator.

  3. Andy and David,
    after having seen Milt'ts sculptures for the first time long ago, I wouldn't dream of trying something like this.
    But a few years later I had to ask myself, what would happen if I try this my way. I finished a little sculpt of a horse and I was hooked.
    Later I will post some of mine in form of a video.
    By turning them you will again get a dimensional effect.

  4. Andreas,
    It's great to take a look at your blog and find these wonderful posts! And thanks for sharing these drawings of Milt. Very inspiring!

  5. Your blog is full of goodness and inspiration!!!!
    I can't wait to see your wire sculptures, and thank you so much for sharing all the valuable stories here :)


  6. Thank you so much for posting these Andreas. I think it's interestin that Milt would do the design for Lambert although he didn't work on the short. Kind of a parallel to Fred Moore's involvement on the Sorcerror's Apprentice. Speaking of perfection what type of things do you do in your animation to achieve perfection? Or do you more just try different things and manage them more loosely?- Grayson Ponti

  7. This is so fantastic! His wire sculptures have such life, it's incredible. The previous shorts you posted that Mr. Milt Kahl created were a really helpful study. His art has that life to it that makes you forget you're just watching drawings move. Its truly amazing!

    I had the pleasure of going to that tribute for Mr. Milt Kahl. I was able to meet Ms. Kathryn Beaumont, which was wonderful! But sadly I didn't get a chance to speak with Milt's daughter.
    Thanks so much for posting all of this Mr. Deja! -Alison Malanowski

  8. oh wow, those lambert sketches were fantastic!
    i find all these stories so interesting, thanks again for keeping them alive.

  9. ITS LAMBERT THE SHEEPISH LION! I grew up watching that little cartoon. I will never forget it. It will stay in my heart forever!

  10. As far as I know, Milt designed a lot of characters for features and shorts from early on the 1940's and well on to his retirement.

  11. Hello Andreas Deja,
    Thank you so much for creating this blog, with your own experiences and of the great Milt Kahl. As an CG animation student this blog is like gold-dust, with rare and inspirational sketches, stories and experiences. I have also listened to your podcast at Animation Podcast back in episode 1 to 3.
    It was really interesting and magical how you got into the animation industry and had the chance to meet people and work for people just like Milt Kahl.

    I just passed by to share my appreciation for this blog and your work and please keep up.

    Thank you very much

    Ruben Martins

  12. Hi Andreas,

    Thank you for posting the pictures of Milt's awesome wire sculptures.

  13. Of course now I have to go watch "Alice In Wonderland" now and look at her arms, haha=). I totally see Tigger in Lambert's eyes in that first set now that you say that. Thanks for posting!!

  14. Your blog is great Andreas!really likeable stuff I will be always here!thanks for sharing!I heard a lot of wonderfull things about you from Sandro,Rune and Uli!I am lucky enough to have worked with all 3 of then!Maybe one day I am lucky enough to work with you too!best wishes from Brazil!!if you come visit São Paulo let's us know!

  15. Hey Andreas,
    obwohl ich selbst keine Animationen erstelle, interessiere ich mich seit einiger Zeit immer mehr für diesen Bereich der Disney Filme. Besonders das "Animation"-Buch der "Disney-Archives"-Reihe hat es mir da angetan.
    Auch versuche ich so viele Interviews mit dir oder anderen Disney-Zeichnern im Internet zu lesen und hören und könnte mir stundenlang die Geschichten zu den Filmen und einzelnen Animationen anhören. ;)
    Als ich dann gestern deinen neuen Blog entdeckt habe, konnte ich es kaum glauben, ich bin jetzt schon begeistert davon! Die einzelnen Zeichnungen bringen mich immer dermaßen ins Staunen, dass ich mir wünschte, die Disney-Blu-ray würden über einen Modus verfügen, womit man den ganzen Film nur mit den Zeichnungen sehen kann (ähnlich wie bei Beauty and the Beast).
    Ich freue mich schon auf weitere großartige Einträge wie die bisherigen!! :)
    Grüße aus Hamburg, Romain

  16. oh god.. the hands on the second wire sculpture... pretty breathtaking shapes. Thanks again Andreas for such inspiring posts.

  17. Great stuff. I would like to repost the two Alice drawings on my blog, may I have permission to do so? I would of course provide full attribution and a link back to your excellent blog.

  18. Matt,
    feel free to repost some of this stuff.
    The more people see this the better.

  19. Hi Andreas,
    so great to see those wire sculptures from Milt Kahl. Very inspiring!
    Looking forward in seeing more of Milt Kahl's artwork on your blog and those great anecdotes.
    Great stuff, thanks for posting!

  20. I had never seen his sculpts... They are fascinating- thank you.

  21. wow, i never knew Milt had such a key role in the design of the characters.

  22. This is really filling the void left by The Animation Podcast. I have been using the production art you are posting to practice, so thank you for sharing your collection.

  23. Lambert the Sheepish Lion is one of my FAVORITE pieces of all time. Thanks- I'd never seen these before.

  24. Haha "what do you mean the arms are too short?". The drawing is hilarious lol...

  25. Hey Andreas! I'm an animation student, and as we're getting into acting, our teacher just gave this Milt Kahl pages of your blog as reference! Great blog you have here man! Sooooo much information, so much cool stuff! Thanks a lot for this! Keep inspiring!

  26. Thank you for posting this. We use to go to Julie and Milt's hose for dinner. The ballet sculpture was in Julie's ballet room. It spun beautifully suspended from the ceiling. I was describing this to my daughter, and wondered if anybody had ever photographed this and posted it. I was so happy to find it here. Thank you very much.