Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Post #100, Old Portfolio Stuff

100 posts, how times fly.
It feels like I just started blogging, a sign that I am having fun, I guess.

I want to clarify a couple of things:
I do apologize for not having accepted any invitations to join some of you on a variety of social networks. Absolutely nothing personal, but I just don't have the time right now. Maybe in the future some time.
Also, just because I showcase the work of Disney's great animators as well as some of my own stuff from time to time does not mean that I put my work on to their level. These guys were in a class by themselves, and that's that!
But since a lot of you are students and probably grew up with some of the films 
I worked on, having the occasional "Behind the Scenes" post and talking about those movies might be of interest to some of you.
For the classical Disney animation purist, rest assured, there will be plenty more
"Nine Old Men" gold coming this way.

I selected these drawings from my Disney application portfolio.
They date back to 1978/79.
Life drawings, animal sketches, motion studies from Super-8 film and cartoon experiments, where I tried out different styles. (Second to the last)
I keep hearing my life drawing teacher from way back saying: " If you get too confident with your drawing, try sketching with your other hand (to keep learning)."
That sounded funny at first, but it makes sense. What he meant was: don't show off with what you think you know, keep observing and improving instead.

I think if you know how to draw well,  you own something treasured. It shows that you put quality time into observing and trying to understand things.
And it doesn't matter if you are a pencil animator or if you work in CG, good drawing will help you to visualize so much better, and you will be ahead of the game.
In other words, you will know a bad pose from a good one. You will be able to say:
this hand looks awful, but that one looks great. And combined with your acting sensibilities: this is entertaining, that isn't!
This journey to become a good draughtsman is a lot of fun, but of course you never arrive. Hopefully you'll just keep on learning.

My five cents worth of wisdom for the day, here are a bunch of oooold drawings.


  1. Gorgeous drawings, Andreas. I'm a huge fan of your work! :) I particularly love the elephants.

  2. You're a constant inspiration to me, and I'm sure, a lot of other people. Keep it comin'!
    I'm learning SO much!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I remember your recalling on The Animation Podcast what Eric Larson had to say about your portfolio; I see Eric Larson's point. Those human studies are too, too good!

  5. Really interesting post!
    I was wondering... mostly about the animal drawings, did you go on and refine some of the sketches before submitting the portfolio or was the drawings just like that right from the beginning? I personally find it really hard to capture specific animal behaviour when in the zoo. Like the chewing camel for example, it looks really well structured!!!

    1. Thanos,
      these animal sketches were done at the zoo.
      When drawing with chalk, I usually start out with a few light lines
      before finalizing the sketch with more definite structured line work.
      Start out with animals that don't move much, like an alligator,
      then try sketching walking tigers and jumping monkeys.

    2. Perfect, perfect...I'm on the right way!!!! Thank you for sharing this precious information Andreas!!!!

  6. Something about those rolly large ladies is very fun!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I guess you always drew well, Andreas. With these drawings of course Disney would have hired you on the spot.

  9. beautiful words amazing drawings....
    Do more posts like that one please!!
    (we can't wait to #200)...

  10. Lovely to see such personal artwork. You're right about becoming too facile-Searle would tape his fingers together in an effort to avoid it!

  11. Wonderful, wonderful work my friend! Those dancing fat ladies feel like wire sculptures!!!

  12. Roberto A Cordova said...
    I was wondering, how much is it to hire somebody like yourself to handle a scene of animation. 11 seconds to 1 minute long, i'm working on my own project and i keep looking to hire an animator but i havent find a source of good information for this type of thing. If you can help me out in finding this out i would be forever grateful. I've added a link to my project so you could see what i'm talking about, at this point i'm in the production process finding artist's to handle the character's/model sheets/scenes. Then i'm going to start my own kickstarter project to get the funding for the animation. I've already been accepted so i'm just pulling the artist's together to create and move forward with my story. (I genuinely don't know where else to go to get this type of information) there aren't any sites available for this type of thing if anybody else has any other information please let me know.

    Thank you,
    Roberto A Cordova

    I know your a busy man i wont bother you anymore after this post.

    1. Roberto,
      good luck on your project. If you are in search of an animator, perhaps you can contact our locals union for help.

    2. Hello Mr Deja my Name is David I want to be an great animator like Ollie and Frank whats your advice for a young animator like me ? how do I make a great Portfolio ? hugs David

  13. Loving this post! Beautiful work Andreas!!

  14. Beautiful stuff, Mr. Deja! I'd have you draw my hypothetical hand-drawn animated film any day!

  15. Happy 100 Posts!!! Wow, these sketches are amazing :D And thank you so much (again) for creating this blog. You don't know how much I've learned in the past few months from your posts! Very inspiring :D And I love the animals, especially the camels and elephants. For someone who is really interested in animation (hopefully I'll get to do it in college!), this has been a big eye-opener. I think we should throw a party once you hit 200! :D

  16. Andreas, you are way too modest.

    No matter what walks of life your viewers are from, student, aficionado, or professional, you are an OASIS of inspiration and information.

    Cannot THANK YOU enough for your passion, sharing and helping keep the flame of hand-drawn animation alive. We all look forward to to next 1000 (yes, 1000) posts.

    Happy 1st 100.

  17. beautiful! are those life drawings watercolor ? i really like those!
    i wanna try it, thought of doing life drawing that way.

    the motion study of the boy playing tennis is awesome !

    1. Some of the life drawings were done with a brush.
      It's fun to try different techniques, chalk, marker, even finger paint. You surprise yourself with what comes out.

    2. thanks for the advice mr Deja ill be sure to try it next time ime life drawing,
      i do have a tendency to stay in a comfort zone when life drawing maybe itll help me learn, finger painting sounds fun! messy fun although thats normaly the best kind :D.

      p.s i said tennis when i ment frisbee, sorry :(

  18. Dear Andreas Deja,
    Great to finally see several examples of your own pre-Disney work. It's georgous! For me you always played in the same league as the nine old men. You're a great inspiration. I would really love to see more of your work in this blog (or maybe a second sketchbook...).
    Best regards from Gwermany

  19. Congrats on 100 posts, Andreas!

    These are beautiful student studies. I think that anything you post from your student days would be of an immense help and inspiration to young people (and old people like me!).

    I for one would love for you to post some of your student animation!

    Here's to at LEAST 100 more posts!

  20. I for one love the mix of Nine old men work and your own. Keep it all coming!!

    Sketches, pencil tests, illustrators' work and behind the scenes stuff its all a real treat. Thanks for a great 100 posts. I love those animal sketches. Are they all from observing at the zoo? The last sketch of the horse and rider are so expressive. Thanks for posting.

  21. Happy 100th post celebration! The devotion and the humility you have when you speak of the Nine Old Men and other great Men from Disney Animation bring you honor and testify the fact you're a wonderful person, not just a wonderful artist. I adore the rabbits, they remember me "Watership Down". The hands are wonderful, so classic. I adore the last one, the tension in it is very effective. Thanks for every post.

  22. Wow ! Amazing post ! Thanks a lot !
    You've been always a great inspiration to me !
    I was always facsinated by your story and how you accepted to work at Disney !
    So much love and respect
    BTW You have so many fans here in Iran , We all love you so much .

    1. Arezou,
      lots of love to all animation enthusiasts in Iran.

    2. I love you too Andreas...I love your works, your characters and your carism...Brazil loves you!!!!

  23. Thank you for sharing us your beautiful work Mr. Deja, these are truly inspiring ! :)

  24. great animal drawings! were those all from life or did you draw from video footage?

    1. The kid throwing the frisby was observed from Super 8 film footage. Today of course you would use video.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. I couldn't think of a more inspiring way to start the week. Thank you again for sharing all this.

    Indeed I find these drawnings fantastic, but if I may ask, what is your personal opinion on them. Seen those in the time context of a career about to start like was yours back then, do you think you had any particular and visible lack? Is there anything in particular you had to work on to improve?

    1. When I started at Disney, my drawing was good enough at the time, but I really needed to focus on things like timing and performance. And those things come with time and experience.

  27. Beautiful drawings! Thank you for sharing.
    You also mention that there will be more "Nine Old Men" stuff in the future but I would also love to see more (perhaps in a book someday) on all the other great Disney animators that weren't included in the esteemed Nine. Freddy Moore, Bill Tytla, Norm Ferguson, Hamilton Luske...

  28. This is soooo inspiring!! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Happy 100th post.

    These are completely inspiring - I'm amazed at your early style, so bold with shape and loose in line. These animals are perfectly graphic in anatomy - if I could draw like this I'd probably not do anything else. ^^

    The frisbee animation drawings (and I can quote this is hard work with tracing from film) actually capture the bits of the character in the mise-en-scene of real life (what you'd notice if the kid did that right in front of you). You were always amazing at that, just letting you know. ^^

    The final drawing - the bucking horse and rider in the style of a Kley sketch (who is a genius) - I'm curious. Were you thinking of Heinrich Kley as you drew and putting your own thoughts under the surface, or were you focusing on his working style and influences and letting it develop from there?
    (It's the same difference as watching a scene you did, inspired by the same things as Milt and capturing the power; and from a CalArts greenhorn who, thanks to focusing on the 'surface' Kahl, can't draw rounded fingers or decent squash and stretch to save his life.)

  30. *O* I can't believe I missed this post!!! Very Awesome!!!

  31. I admire your lines, volume and motion sense, the last is just perfect. They are all beautiful, it's great to look different techniques.

  32. Wow, those were awesome drawings! Inspires and depress me same time :D ... gotta learn to draw better.. :)

  33. Ah, your work is so inspiring! I really admire your animal sketches.
    I am currently a first year animation student and structure is something that I am struggling with in my life drawing. I would like to ask how you approach life drawing? Like, do you think to yourself when you're drawing? What are the things you say?
    Sorry, for all my questions. I just really want to improve my life drawing and I thought seeking advice from a pro would be extremely beneficial.

  34. What a great stuff! :)
    Most of all I like the dancing Lady with the magic wand!

    Thank you for your suggestions! :)