This scene with the owl Archimedes from The Sword in the Stone exemplifies Milt Kahl's modern approach to animation. Starting with Sleeping Beauty his drawings show a 2-dimensional graphic quality that becomes 3-dimensional when viewed in motion. It's a juxtaposition. It says:
I am a flat drawing, but I can fool you into believing that I am a real animal with flesh, blood and feathers.
This concept actually started in Disney's brilliant 1953 short Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. The animation of Professor Owl is full, not limited like UPA films from that time. Yet the completely dimensional treatment of this style didn't happen until Milt stepped in a few years later. Marc Davis was right behind in understanding this modernism applied to Disney animation. Other animators struggled, but succeeded nevertheless by working extra hard or by having Milt go over their key drawings. This often led to frustration though, because Milt would alter their work to a point where his improved drawing deviated from what they were trying to express with the character.
The main problem was that animators focused so hard to match this new sophisticated drawing style while neglecting basic animation principles such as squash and stretch.
In this scene Milt demonstrates that you can be graphic without loosing fluidity that comes with squash and stretch.
This is scene 34 from sequence 12, Archimedes brings the sword to Wart's attention:
"Well look, boy, look! There in the (churchyard)"
A few years ago I was fooling around with designs for an animated film that involved a story about the friendship between a boy and a circus elephant.
But things happened, and I chose a friendship between a girl and a tiger instead as subjects for my animated film.
Kathryn Beaumont visits John Hench in this publicity still. Hench was a color stylist on the movie Peter Pan. Here he is looking at a layout for the the scene below, a gigantic camera move during the flight to Neverland sequence.
Co director Ham Luske helps out during the filming of a live action scene. He is holding his young son Tommy Luske, who plays Michael as he flies into Wendy's arms. The final frame shows a different camera angle.
Actor Roland Dupree holds Kathryn Beaumont for a scene in which Peter Pan protects Wendy from Captain Hook. The final frame is one of my favorite images from the film.
Staging and lighting are phenomenal, magic!
There are many posts about Peter Pan in this blog, here is one that I like in particular:
I have written before about the ever changing design of the character of Robin Hood. Here are two images representing the initial version of Robin and Little John followed by their final designs. This opening scene was animated by John Lounsbery. Since Milt Kahl was the character design guru, he made sure that those opening scenes by Lounsbery represented the latest and final version of the characters.
Here are a few draw overs by Milt (over Lounsbery's animation) to ensure character consistency.
I think these sketches are beautiful, sensitively drawn and very appealing.
The most fun sequence in Bedknobs and Broomsticks is arguably the Soccer Game between the Dirty Yellows and the True Blues. But the preceding underwater sequence has its moments as well. As usual the live action/animation mix is done extremely well, as you can see in the frame above. Angela Lansbury holding an animated/drawn trophy looks magical. It is always such a pleasure to see live actors interacting with drawn characters in such a way!
Here are a few sheets with design drawings for a variety of fish characters. Milt Kahl's drew some of them, his drawings are sketchier than the ones done by other artists.
Here is the link to an earlier post about the film's soccer game: