Thursday, October 25, 2012

Early Robin Hood

What a beautiful character line up for a Disney animated feature!
This is how Ken Anderson envisioned the cast for Robin Hood. Nice contrasting shapes and silhouettes  make for a visually pleasing set up.
Although the one character who doesn't seem to represent his animal type clearly would be the Sheriff of Nottingham as a wolf. More on him in a future post.
Robin Hood himself is of course a caricatured fox, drawn here with a thin neck and with proportions that make him appear much younger than the final version.

These sketches by Ken of the title character represent a spunky mischievous type.
They date back to August of 1970. The movie's release was November of 1973.

Milt Kahl tried to preserve the "spunk" from Ken's drawings and explored animatable shapes, forms and expressions.



At that time John Lounsbery was cast as the animator for Robin Hood. Here are some of his exploratory sketches, based on Ken's and Milt's work.

I don't know if it was director Woolie Reitherman or Milt Kahl who voiced disapproval of these results, but things were about to change. For one thing, the length of Robin Hood's nose became a major issue of discussion. 
The choice to have British actor Tommy Steele voice the character was also questioned.

To be continued.


  1. I love these! I watched Robin Hood so much my parents took the video away from me

  2. I think that although the designs by Ken Andreson have some kind of appeal, are not as far good as the final versions of each character, excepting King Richard and Little John, who outstand. I think Milt Kahl did a really good job trying to stand out the personality of Robin Hood by Ken Anderson, but the design character looks too young, not too accurate and even I can say that it looks more like a opossum than like a fox. I´m waiting for seeing the rest of the post and the evolution of these personalities. As always, excellent post! Thank you Andreas for providing this information.

  3. These are so fun! Thanks for sharing them with us. :)

  4. What a wonderful draftsman Ken Anderson was, he draw the characters in Jungle Book like this, didn't he? I guess he did it to show the size relations. Was Robin Hood Ken Anderson's last film in Disney? Thank you so much for the post.

    1. Ken still worked on Rescuers and later designed Elliott for Pete's Dragon.

  5. Fantastic Stuff! All great!! I think going with a more leading man type approach a la Errol Flynn was the way to go.His design and Marions complemented each other very well in the end.Any chance of seeing some keys from the running and dressing scene right before the coach robbery?...Thanks again, for sharing the goodness.Bestest Blog Ever!

  6. I love that Anderson line up! This is the greatest blog EVER!

  7. Oooh Da Lally this is great stuff!!!

    If you were to write a book about the entire production of this film, I would buy it!

    Looking forward to the next post!

  8. Ken Anderson was/is amazing! His creativity knew no bounds. I wish someone would sell a book of all his best sketches and character concepts.

  9. Andreas... I had forgotten it! Could you make an special post this Sunday for the World Day of Animation? Thanks!

  10. Robin Hood's six ways to shoot an arrow – awesome! :D

  11. Always amazing. Robin Hood seems kind of nostalgic movie.


  12. There was a time when I would feel incredibly intimidated seeing work this good. Now I'm incredibly inspired! Thank you so much Adreas.

  13. Can someone tell me how to get in touch with Andreas? Or if you see this Andreas, can you give me a call? I have a project I want to run by you. Thank you. John Faurote 317-698-5108

  14. The design for both the rejected early version of Robin Hood and the one that was chosen are both great! Now days it might've been more likely the little guy chosen, as there are a lot of animated movies with a little guy as the protagonist. There's something very endearing and unconventional about it.