Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fergy's Honest John

Honest John (or J. Worthington Foulfellow) is one of my all time favorite animated characters.
Rich personality -the used car salesman type-, great design and outstanding acting.
Norm Ferguson supervised the animation on him, he had some help from a young John Lounsbery.
Fergy, as he was called around the studio, was an intuitive animator. Walt Disney liked the loose quality in his animation and in his drawings, and he encouraged other animators to take this approach. He was also a very fast animator. And because Fergy was not thinking about doing "pretty drawings" the poses he came up with for the fox are dynamic, inventive and so right in character. There is a theatrical Vaudeville quality to them, which is why the animation reads so clearly on the screen.
To me it looks like Fergy intergraded strong straight lines into his work even before Milt Kahl used them as a means of simplifying and strengthening a drawing.

The first sketch is pre-production, followed by rough animation keys and a couple of model sheets.
Fergy died way too young in 1957 at the age of 55.