Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily is a unique character in the Disney film Peter Pan.
Just like Tinker Bell she doesn't have any dialogue in the movie, but her emotions and attitudes are always clear. She is one courageous young lady. By resisting Captain Hook and not telling him about Peter Pan's hiding-place, she risks her life.
Milt Kahl came up with the final design for the character. He did the drawing above for Ken O'Brien, the animator responsible for most of Tiger Lily's scenes.

These model sheet drawings were done by James P. Miller during the early 1940ies, when Peter Pan was in early pre-production. Actually the final design doesn't differ that much from Miller's beautiful concept.

A couple of stunning animation roughs by Ken O'Brien, who is one of those unsung animation heroes. 
This spirited Tiger Lily dance alone makes him a top animator, and his work over the years deserves further investigating.

A frame from the film shows Tiger Lily next to her father, the Indian Chief, and Peter Pan.


  1. Like so many enriching and wonderful posts about the wonderful artists, it would be really great to know about Ken O'Brien and his work. Waiting to see more of his work. This blog is helping me a lot to learn the basics, get inspired and make some progress in my work. Thanks a lot Andreas for all your efforts in building such a resourceful blog!!

  2. This is so lovely! great post.

  3. Tiger Lily's dance is especially great. :D

  4. Another excellent post, I would never have drawn that similarity between Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell. It's great to see the progression from the lovely concept art, to Milt's work and the final animation roughs.

    Ken O Brien's roughs are a feast for the eyes. I Don't mean to sound like an Oliver Twist, but please Andreas may we see some more of his roughs?

    1. I have a great rough scene of Jim Dear from Lady & the Tramp, which I believe is O'Brian's. I'll turn it into a pencil test for a later post.

  5. Vielen Dank, Herr Deja, dass Sie Ihr vieles Wissen und Ihre wertvollen Sammlungen mit Ihrer Fangemeinde - zu der ich mich ebenfalls zähle - teilen. Das empfinde ich als wahres Geschenk!

    Auch wenn Sie sicherlich täglich mit Fragen überschüttet werden, möchte ich diese Plattform kurz für eine Frage bzw. Bitte nutzen. Seit meiner Kindheit zeichne ich leidenschaftlich gerne und habe eine tiefe Verbundenheit zur Kunst des Trickfilmzeichnens und zu Trickfilmen - insbesondere aus dem Hause Disney. Und obwohl ich studientechnisch einen anderen Weg eingeschlagen habe, lässt mich das Verlangen nicht los, selbst eines Tages als Trickfilmzeichner (natürlich bei Disney) tätig zu werden. Dies ist sicherlich eine Herausforderung, da Sie diesen Weg selbst aber schon gemeistert haben, würde ich mich riesig über ein paar Tipps und Anregungen freuen!

  6. Great post. Ken O' Brien was a superb animator. His work on this character is first rate. He was killer at Lantz too, where he worked on some of the Freddy Moore ones.

  7. I think with today's "art of" books that accompany animated movies, the collaborative nature of character design is more apparent. However I think that this is less covered in earlier Disney history. So your display of James P. Miller's Tiger Lily is a real eye-opener. I am always excited to learn of behind-the-scenes people like him or Tom Oreb, who contributed great character designs yet are not as commonly known. Thanks for illuminating us!

  8. Tiger Lily is very much an important character in the story of "Peter Pan" to me. She is also one of my favorite of the supporting characters in the Disney pantheon. I think she, like Tinker Bell, ought to have a franchise too.