When Walt Disney Productions decided to produce an animated film based on the classic tale of Robin Hood, it was Ken Anderson who who got to get to work before anyone else.
During conversations with the animators Ken found out that some of the most fun they ever had was animating the anthropomorphic animals in Song of the South.
So he suggested that the story of Robin Hood be told with animal characters. Everybody loved the idea and after completing early design work Ken presented his research to some of Disney's top talents.
This photo was taken during a lively meeting which included, from left to right, director Woolie Reitherman, Milt Kahl, Ken, Dave Michener (a former assistant to Kahl, who had moved into story), Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and writer Larry Clemmons.
As you can see in the back Ken had done a ton of work. Once a character concept had been approved, it was up to Milt Kahl to finalize Ken's designs for animation. Usually Milt greatly finessed the look of the characters, but in my opinion there were exceptions.
Ken's version of Friar Tuck really looks like a badger. Something got lost in Milt's translation.
I remember that some people thought he was another bear.
Allan-a-Dale looks fantastic in Milt's final version.
Lady Kluck is a Kahl masterpiece.
Sir Hiss didn't improve from Ken's concept, Milt's version looks a little conventional.
Ollie Johnston though did a great job animating the snake.
Let me know if you'd like to see more of Robin Hood's design work. Robin, the fox himself went through quite a few changes.
"""Let me know if you'd like to see more of Robin Hood's design work. Robin, the fox himself went through quite a few changes.""" -> Yes, please.ReplyDelete
Robin hood is vastly underrated, but has plenty of charm and fun.
Great post Andreas, those Ken Anderson paintings are beautiful- it's fascinating to see them side by side with Milt's interpretations.ReplyDelete
And yes, I'd love to see some more Robin Hood design work please!
I love Ken's Badger. I'm not quite sure that I understand how Milt's version was any more animation-friendly...?ReplyDelete
And I'd love to see more design work. Robin Hood has always been one of my favourite Disney films.
Yes, please more Robin Hood/Ken Anderson/Milt Kahl goodies! Thanks for posting this batch as well.ReplyDelete
Yes Please!! We want to see more!ReplyDelete
This is one of the Disney films with most appealing characters. Even though none of the characters evolve during the film (there is no inner journey) they are charming and cleverly chosen.
I believe it is a strange film in many ways. Each sequence is "locked". It starts with a fade in and ends with a fade out. As far as I know this is the Disney feature with more reuses in animation. There are a lot of moments of characters just walking from left to right with little or no depth in the staging. Could you tell us how this came to be?! Was it only for budget reasons or was everybody overwhelmed with the Xerox?
For budget reasons this movie didn't turn out to be very cinematic or extravagantly. Often the staging is pretty plain, and as you mentioned, lots of re-used animation. The animators were not happy to recycle old scenes.Delete
That being said, Robin Hood does have some of the finest modern character animation.
The fade ins/outs were pretty noticeable to me at a young age, but I would say it's a film I would enjoy for the animation/design and less for the story itself given how these characters are simply moved through their paces anyway.Delete
More Robin Hood please, love the characters from this movie as well :)ReplyDelete
Yes, would love to see more of the design work for this terrific little film.ReplyDelete
Yes, more please!ReplyDelete
Great photo of Disney talents. Thanks.ReplyDelete
My childhood crush was on the fox Robin Hood. There was no other. It is still my favorite Disney movie. PLEASE SHOW US MORE! :)ReplyDelete
That jacket Milt Kahl is using is the one of the caricatures in Richard Williams book! It would be wonderful to see more posts of Robin Hood, he is my favorite animated fox. Thanks for sharing all these drawing conceptsReplyDelete
Yes I would love to see more Robin Hood concept art!ReplyDelete
Add me to the list of those who would like to see more!! I also had a childhood crush on Robin Hood. ;) It is one of the animated movies that my husband and I both grew up with and enjoy. The only difference is that my favorite part was always the love song, and he always fast-forwarded it or found something else to do. ;) Now, it's one of our 3 daughters' favorites, too. :)ReplyDelete
I really enjoy your blog, by the way. Thank you for sharing so many unique gems of animation and animation history with us. :)
Yes, please share some of Robin! :DReplyDelete
I would like to see more of Robin Hood's design work! I'm sure we all would.ReplyDelete
Thanks for these comparisons! And the photo. That outfit of Woolie's...wow. It takes a real man to rock those slacks with those socks.ReplyDelete
RH is my favorite Disney feature (I'm in a small minority, I know). I'd love to see more designs from the film. There are also some designs featured in the DVD extras, including some by Alex Toth from when the characters were still human. A treat!
May 70-ies fashion come back soon.Delete
I remember wearing red jeans...
Yes, I'd love to see more!! Robin Hood was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up, and still is!ReplyDelete
Slightly stupid question, but if anyone would know I'm sure you would.....did Milt Kahl ever say he kept a sketchbook around during his daily life? If so, did you ever have the chance to see his non-production related sketches? Just wondering.ReplyDelete
And yes please more Robin Hood! It's a big favorite. Design-wise some might argue that was "standard" stuff --- but I think some of the characters were incredibly appealing and well done.
Thank you always Andreas!
Nope, Milt didn't sketch outside the studio.Delete
"I don't really care to draw unless I have to" is a quote from an interview.
His friend Marc Davis was the opposite, he explored drawing and painting styles and techniques on weekends.
Milt really didn't keep a personal sketchbook?Delete
That's crazy. I've never heard of anyone doing that.
Very nice characters, what medium are they in, it looks like marker and ink?
I suppose after a while you grow out of that stuff if you do view it as a job rather than for leisure.Delete
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What was the feeling among the 9 Old Men when Marc Davis went into imagineering? Did any of them want to go as well?ReplyDelete
Milt Kahl was very upset when Marc left animation.Delete
Years later Walt Disney wanted Ken Anderson to help out on an Imagineering project. Milt argued with Walt (he feared that Ken might be "gone" for good), and Ken stayed with the animators.
Fab post-quite startling to see the Old Men in vivid 70s color! Always happy to see more of Anderson's work.ReplyDelete
I'd love to see the changes Robin went through!ReplyDelete
I'd love to see some Robin artwork! =)ReplyDelete
You said, "Let me know if you'd like to see more of Robin Hood's design work."ReplyDelete
Yes please, more design notes! I am an illustrator / game artist and very often when designing characters, I look back to Robin Hood. I remember one post from 2006 by Mark Kennedy that introduced me to Milt Kahl's designs. It's a pretty quick and dirty execution, but brings out a point that I have kept in mind ever since.ReplyDelete
Interesting to see that there's a line of these rhinos already drawn by Ken Anderson, I had so far regarded Milt Kahl as the father of the designs...
That's so cool, seeing the before and afters of each character. Interesting to see what changed/didn't. I'd love to see the Robin Hood design work!ReplyDelete
Yes Robin Hood designs are so awesome because they are so late in the game (in terms of Milt's career)--the designs are more refined! More if you have em, please!ReplyDelete
I love posts like this, Andreas. Brimming with history! So much fun. Thanks for keeping this blog.ReplyDelete
Please, more Robin Hood. I thought he was one of the coolest characters growing up. I went crazy for the McDonald's figure that came in the VHS style packaging.ReplyDelete
Would love to see Robin's transformation! Did Prince John go through much of a change? He's always been one of my favorite performances - both in voice acting and animation.ReplyDelete
Prince John at one time was a tiger, check it out:Delete
Great post again. Groove men at those days :). Thinking of Prince John and King Richard, love those designs. That was great about Prince John and story about Milt & Ollie :D. Ollie seems to be very humble man.ReplyDelete
Robin Hood is the reason I became an animator. Definitely add me to the list of people who want to see more!ReplyDelete
I thought I remember you teasing us a while back with maybe seeing some Robin "Stork" costume work? I think I read somewhere that Frank handled the animation for those sequences? Do you know if that's true?
Thanks for reminding me (and I'm sure countless others on here) why we got into this industry!
HI Andreas. Yes I want to see more of Robin Hood.ReplyDelete
It's not a great Disney Classic in my opinion but the animation and characters are always fabulous in Disney!
I would definitely be interested in seeing more of Ken Anderson's work. His characters are so vibrant and lively!ReplyDelete
Someday, I'd love to see a film really take some chances with it's character designs. Anderson's work is pretty awesome and distinctive. Not to take anything from Kahl's work.ReplyDelete
The animation, tho re-used, is so good. I remember seeing this a few years ago after being deep, deep into some crap TV animation and thinking, "oh yeah, that's what real animation looks like."
Only a few scenes were reused. This movie has way too many A-scenes to be ignored.Delete