Thursday, July 23, 2015

Milt Kahl's Wendy

An early pre-animation, charming model sheet.

Milt wasn't happy at all when Walt Disney asked him to take on the animation for Peter Pan and Wendy. He had high hopes for getting assigned to Captain Hook. That character of course went to Frank Thomas. So when Frank showed his first scenes with Hook during a sweatbox session, Milt tore them to pieces: There is nothing here, no personality, drawing...these are nothing scenes.
Eventually he calmed down and started to focus on the two most realistic characters in the film, Peter and Wendy. Milt naturally wasn't afraid of realism, to him it wasn't as much fun as doing eccentric or comedic characters. But he did his best, and his animation shines throughout the film.
In order to make animated realism look good on the screen, top draughtsmanship is absolutely essential. Standard poses and head angles will result in boring scenes. Yet beautifully drawn head tilts, up and down angles add so much to the overall acting.

These drawings from Milt's scenes show his special skills for drawing any angle extremely well.

Here an assistant is tracing Milt's rough animation drawings in an effort to understand the complex drawing style.

The following copies show clean up drawings over Milt's rough keys from the song sequence "Your Mother and Mine". Look at the subtleties in Wendy's facial features.

Let Milt tell you himself how he felt about Peter and Wendy in this clip from a previous post: