Monday, 5 April 2010

Animators: Disney's Nine Old Men

Disney's nine old men were a group of main animators set at Walt Disney Productions. Who created most of the iconic films to date due to its amazing and " believable" animation. Not only they applied the twelve principles of animation to the films , they actually refined them creating a more believable and enjoyable experience to watch.

This group was formed by 9 masters of hand-drawn animation:

Les Clark (1907-1979)

He was one of the first animators to join the Nine Old Men, working with Ub Iwerks creating many of the Mickey Shots in films, He did also many other beautiful scenes at Disney. After all the success at Disney, He moved onto directing many other films.

Marc Davis (1913-2000)

Marc Davis started to work at Disney in 1935, during the production of Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. He animated many of the most famous characters at Disney, such as Bambi, Cruella De Vil, etc. For someone who started as an apprentice at Disney, He achieved amazing reputation by the creating and animating, many of the iconic characters building Disney's reputation.

Here's a list of films he worked:

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (1937) - Assistant Animator

Bambi (1942) - Animator

Victory Through Air Power (1943) - Character Design

Song Of The South (1946) - Directing Animator

Fun And Fancy Free (1947) - Animator

So Dear To My Heart (1949) - Cartoon Story Treatment

The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr. Toad (1949) - Animator

Cinderella (1950) - Directing Animator

Alice In Wonderland (1951) - Directing Animator

Peter Pan (1953) - Directing Animator

Sleeping Beauty (1959) - Directing Animator

101 Dalmatians (1961) - Directing Animator

Ollie Johnston (1912- 2008)

Ollie Johntson as 1 of the first core animators integraded into Disney's group Nine old men. Johnston, apart from being an really good craftman, he had also a huge talent for animation.
All this talent can be perceived in the episodes of "Frank and Ollie", where Johnston was part of the animation team, this same drawings not only have life by the power of animation, but also their feelings, pathos and gags.
Nowadays, he has been a source of inspiration for many contemporary artist and animators, including John Lassester and Tim Burton, with his "perfect" animation and emotional characters.

Milt Kahl (1909- 1987)

Milt Kahl was another brilliant animator who belonged to the 9 most prestigious and core animators at Disney. He drew many of the importants characters in Disney films, such as Peter Pan, the Lady and the Tramp or even Mowgli in the jungle book. After retiring from Disney Milt Kahl, was privately employed by many other wanabee animators to share his techniques and his perfect craftmanship.

Ward Kimball (1914- 2002)

Ward Kimball was another core animator at Disney in the 60's, even though he didnt have the main characters to animate, he had to animate the secondary with the same effort. He had a secret love for music, and this allowed him to animate characters more fluently, but also more accurately.As I mentioned before many of his works consisted in animating characters that would act alongside the main character, such as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland; Lucifer the Cat from Cinderella; and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio.

Eric Larson (1905-1988)

Although Eric Larson wasn't one of the most famous 9 old men, as his work instead of belonging to many beautiful animations, stayed in recruting new talents and aspiring animators to would allow the continuation of talent at Disney Studios. with the best animators leaving Disney at that time, this recruiting program gave the opportunity train many wanabee animators such as, Joe Ranft, Ron Clements, John Musker, etc.

John Lounsbery ( 1911-1976)

John Lounsbery was a comic animator, that specialized and mastered the "squash and stretch" principal of animation. Along with the other 8 old men at Disney, many with different techiniques branching from the principals of animation, allowed to create many important films.
His works consisted in the dacing alligator in the "Dance of the Hours" sequence in the film Fantasia. The elephant march in the "The Jungle Book", etc. Not only, he animated for most of his life, but also he directed an co-directed many other films at Disney.

Wolfgang Reitherman (1909-1985)

Wolfgang Reitherman was most known for making the action sequences in such films as Pinocchio, Fantasia and Sleeping Beauty. Creating really dinamic animations never seen before. After "leaving" the drawing room, he directed many other films such as "The Jungle Book", although he did a great job inside Disney's as a director, the period that he directed films showed a decline of Disney's "Magic".

Frank Thomas (1912- 2004)

Frank Thomas is another legendary figure in the world of Animation, being the other part of "Frank and Ollie" animation teams, alongside Johnston. Also, his works consisted in animating Peter Pan's Captain Hook or the ice skating sequence in "Bambi".
Thomas and Johnston shared their ground-breaking techniques in the hand- drawn animation field to future animators, where they used the principal of animation, but also improved them.

All this 9 legends of Disney Animation, created many films that are the company of every child or every adult, giving not only motion, emotion and life to characters and to films, but also by using, what I like to call, the " magic ink", in which these beautiful drawings are made, adding a little hint of magic to the Disney's films.

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