Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pinocchio's Evolution

I am sure you've seen some of this art work before, but it is good to compare Pinocchio's development beats in one row. I don't know who drew this preliminary model sheet, it is reminiscent of the original book illustrations by Enrico Mazzanti.
The second sheet starts to show feature film qualities, it looks like Fred Moore might have had something to do with this version. Quite a bit of animation was done using Pinoke looking like this, but Disney wasn't satisfied.

An early color model cel with a still unrefined Geppetto.

Here Milt Kahl comes into the picture. He drew these poses after having animated a test scene featuring Pinocchio under water. (Which is sort of an odd choice for selling a new character design as far as environment).
Anyway, we all know that Walt loved Milt's model, and the rest is history.
Milt was right, a little kid personality is more important than the wooden marionette look.

Bob Jones created character models like this head of the title character.

A cel set up from the final production.

If you want to find out about the film's Making of, get J.B. Kaufman's fantastic book:
Pinocchio, the Making of the Disney Epic.

For a Milt Kahl pencil test, go to the bottom of this page:


Images Heritage Auctions


  1. I respect the hard-work of Fred Moore and Milt Kahl artworks, but Pinocchio is the one Disney that i hate it i whatch it wen I was a little kid and I got really scared of puppets or horror stuff I tell my mom i will never watch it again too dark for my taste, even now at 23 years old I'm a little bit scared of puppets.

    1. As a kid I really hated the cats in Lady and the Tramp. (Later I realised I was supposed to hate them)

    2. I like cats but thay are pain of the neck.

  2. Thanks for the Pinocchio post; I always appreciate them. You attribute the maquette of Pinocchio's head to Bob Jones. Do you know for certain that he was the sculptor? I have a maquette like the one pictured, it has a large 1 stenciled on the bottom. I have always wondered which person in the Character Model Dept designed it. With all of the Pinocchio character maquettes made, I wonder if there are records of who sculpted which maquette. I thought Jones made the marionette, but I didn't know if he sculpted the head as well, since the head seemed to predate the marionette. Any idea who might have records of the maquettes. It's not particularly important, but it would be nice to know who modeled my Pinocchio head and Laughing Coachman maquette.

    1. Bryan, I checked with my sources at Disney and the Pinoke head is attributed to Bob Jones. The marionette has the same head. Still...there is that chance the model department created it.

    2. Thanks for the follow up. Most appreciated.

  3. It's amazing how far those guys pushed the medium in the first decade of their careers. I think moments like this are real milestones in terms of the personality-based approach taking over from the earlier style. I guess Kimball did the same thing with Jiminy Cricket's design.

    If Fred Moore was involved in that second design, then it's the first time I've seen him draw something unappealing!

  4. If you say a bit of animation was made with the Freddy Moore design of Pinocchio, then I recall having seen it on the DVD documentary No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio...

    Speaking of DVD documentaries, I always dream of a new Making-of documentary for Peter Pan in style with the Platinum DVDs of Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians and others, providing new information to the making of Peter Pan. I even got a name for that featurette would-be - Second Star to the Right: The Making of Peter Pan. I can see a subtitle pop up to that vision in form of handwriting: ...and straight on 'till morning.

  5. The first model sheet is by Albert Hurter and the second is by Preston Blair. Both originals reside in my collection.