Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guess who?

For the live action part of the Disney movie "The Reluctant Dragon" large size character illustrations were needed to dress up the set. The movie opened in June of 1941, so these photos were probably taken earlier that year.
Here are a bunch of young animators taking a break from their desks in order to provide "set designs" for the film. Even at this early age these artists were already masters of their craft. Under Walt Disney's guidance they elevated the art of personality animation to unimaginable heights.  

The first photo shows Milt Kahl and Frank Thomas sketching Bambi and Thumper.
Behind the ladder are Les Clark and Eric Larson. We can't see it here, but Eric is drawing centaurs from Fantasia.
In the second photo Les Clark shows up again, he is working on Mickey and Minnie. To his right are John Lounsbery with Pluto and Art Babbitt sketching Goofy.

I am sure Walt knew that with talents like these you could move mountains and go places. Only Art Babbitt wasn't a part of the Disney decades that followed. 
What a shame...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wow. A photo of a young Milt Kahl (and with a full head of hair, no less!).

    I previously read where, even though artists like Frank, Eric, Ollie, Milt, etc. attended Chouinards, Walt still had them take continuous classes to make their artistic skills even greater. No wonder these guys were at the top of the animation mountain!

  3. Dear mr. Deja,

    i am currently writing a paper on the difference in (character)animation of the 1930's and modern day animation. Mostly concerning technique and the way people (the artists) thought about how and why animation should be applied the way it was.
    My focus lays more on the bigger studios and taking in to credit you're an expert on the topic i would like to ask you this; Could you give me some thoughts on what you think has changed in the way the master animators animate and think about how to animate? Regarding the masters like the nine old men and modern day animation. Or do you think animation did not fundamentily change and is still what it was 70/80 years ago?

    I love your work and hope to get some form of reply :) My email is: urbyz@hotmail.com
    It would greatly contribute to my paper! Greetings from a Dutch animation student, Ruben Zaalberg.

  4. For some reason, this one really made me smile :D Perhaps that's because it's the type of thing I would love to do to my bedroom wall.

  5. I love that even a stair marked with a disney label :)

  6. I really love seeing the masters working on their craft in these old photos...I wish there was more video of them working. I'd love to watch them work. Case in point, I ve heard so much about how much control Freddy Moore had over his line...it would of been so nice to watch over his shoulder of him putting them down ya know? Or any of the greats really. I suppose it's a dream lol

  7. Andreas: I just found this story on the in google news. I hope you're a part of this production! :)


  8. Drawing on the walls, every artists dream. Greta post!!!

  9. Hi, Andreas
    WOW! A picture of Babbitt at Disney that I haven't seen before!!!
    And taking on his role as Goofy expert! What a treat!
    I'd love to reference it in my blog :

  10. This hit me like a lightning bolt. My father was a young animator at Disney in 1940-1941 and worked on Fantasia and Dumbo. It's been my privilege to archive his commercial art career that spanned over 70 years. I have several drawings done at Disney that are caricatures that other artists did of my father. Alas, they are either unsigned, or their signatures are not legible or familiar to me. Can you suggest a way that I might be able to identify them? Thank you.
    Liza Jennings Seiner (daughter of Rixford Jennings)