Wednesday, March 13, 2013


That's animator Art Babbitt animating a close up scene with toymaker Geppetto from the Disney classic Pinocchio. 
I had the chance to meet Art when he was still working for Dick Williams on The Thief and the Cobbler. He didn't mind talking about his Disney years and his strained relationship with Walt.
I remember him saying that after he left Disney he never again animated a character with so much warmth like Geppetto. He felt it was one of the best things he ever did.
I would agree, the level of depth Babbitt was able to inject into the character's acting is astounding.
Geppetto just loves this wooden puppet that came to life, and when he looses Pinocchio, his whole world seems to fall apart. But he still has enough hope and searches on to find his "son".
A real high in character animation.

Below is storyboard like panel which also shows frames from the animators' pencil tests.
Whenever the character drawing is transparent and you see the layout shining through, you are looking at rough animation. 
These Geppetto scenes were animated by Art.

During early design stages Fred Moore helped out with beautiful drawings like these.

More rough exploratory sketches by Fred and probably Art as well.

After clean up artists did their magic you end up with refined drawings like these. 
The feeling of real volume is unbelievable. There is a thickness in the vest, the shirt and the apron.
And look at the subtle squash on the two fingers holding the string. Just beautiful!

For much more on Art Babbitt's animated life go to Jake Friedman's outstanding blog: