Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Milt Kahl helps Cliff Nordberg

Cliff Nordberg animated this scene from The Sword in the Stone, in which Wart is adjusting a "Jousting Machine". Sir Kay is not very successful in practicing jousting on this contraption.
This is Scene 46 from Sequence 4. The draft says:

Jousting machine - Wart enters scene, runs up ladder, re-adjusts lance and helmet, again throwing himself heart and soul into his job.

The footage is based on live action, which was performed by one of director Woolie Reitheman's sons. Since Wart is the lead character, character designer and directing animator Milt Kahl kept a close eye on how other animators drew him. Here are numerous poses drawn by Milt over Nordberg's animation roughs.

There are drawings from another Nordberg scene included on this sheet.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ollie Johnston's Animation of Jock

Beautiful sensitive animation drawings by Ollie Johnston of Jock from Lady and the Tramp are currently offered by Heritage Auctions.
Ollie's approach is uncomplicated, with only one thing in mind: the character's inner emotions.
As I mentioned before, his light touch with the pencil allowed Ollie to get through his scenes quickly.
He often provided more footage than most animators did on any given production.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Walt Disney's Pinocchio

A few cel set-ups from Pinocchio, one of the most beautiful films of all time. And yet, according to Frank Thomas, even this masterpiece suffers from at least one grave story problem. But about that some other time.
I will be at CTN this weekend and I look forward to meeting and talking to some of you.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Bedknobs and Poppins

S/R Labs

I love the animated sequences in Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Wether anthropomorphic or standard animal types, the designs as well as the animation are just beautiful.
Just look at this trio of underwater creatures. How would you fit clothes convincingly on to fish?!
Below a vis/dev sketch of the bed with five humans entering the Blue Lagoon.

You just can't go wrong with Milt Kahl designs animated by John Lounsbery. All of these farm animals are so beautifully brought to life. Combined with a Sherman song, it's animation heaven.

S/R Labs

Milt Kahl dominated all final designs in those days, and that's a good thing. As Brad Bird said, without Milt's influence, the late Disney movies would look style-less. Without any particular graphic approach.

Friday, November 10, 2017

More Fritz Hug

Discovering more of Swiss animal artist Fritz Hug's work is always a real treat!
Here is another selection of his beautiful art. What intense observation, and love for animals.

Here again the link to my first post on Fritz Hug:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fisherman Bear II

Here is the second half of Milt's scene from Bedknobs.
The Bear starts to bend forward in anticipation of the final big pull. He tightens his grip on the fishing rod and pulls with all his might. just when you think that drawing #107 is extreme, Milt turns the character's head on # 127 to maximize the effect of the Bear's exertion. 
For those of you who are not animators, the final motion between #107 and #127 is what we call a stagger. The animation here does not flow smoothly from one drawing to another, instead the "staggered in-betweens" move back and forth toward #127 in a subtle but erratic way. On the screen this reads as a moment of strong physical effort.
At the end of the scene after his catch (in this case five humans on a bed) is out of the water, the Bear stumbles backwards, as he tries to keep his balance.
A text book piece of animation that is well worth studying.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Milt's Fisherman Bear

One of the greatest scenes in Disney's 1971 release Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Milt Kahl animated the introductory scenes of the Fisherman Bear. Here he pulls back excitedly to find out what this heavy catch out of the ocean might be. I think the dialogue goes something like this:
"This time I really got a whopper (a word I had to look up)!"
The following images are xeroxes from Milt's original animation roughs, before they got touched up -cleaned up- by an assistant. 
You can see how adventurous Milt gets with dialogue, super contrasting mouth configurations.
I love the way the end of the fishing rod rests on his soft belly. So much to admire here.
I will post the second half of the scene in a couple of days.
Just realizing that the bear's striped shirt had to be figured out by Milt's assistant.

This scene was supposed to appear in the Milt Kahl chapter of my Nine Old Men book, but we ran out of room.