The Magnificent, Marvelous, Mad Madam Mim by Milt Kahl (source)
Disney’s The Sword in the Stone
Mary Poppins - Concept Art
I just love those animal designs so much asdfgh
Milt Kahl, Robin Hood (1973)
ugh goddamn this man inspires me forever
The other day, I wrote an article on Cartoon Brew analyzing my favorite piece of animation of all time; Tigger by Milt Kahl. Check it out over there!
The Black Cauldron - Milt Kahl
I always thought Taran and Eilonwy looked very Milt-esque in the final film, and I guess my suspicions were right! That Gurgi, though… amazing. One of Milt’s best designs!
The Black Cauldron - Milt Kahl
OMG, I had no idea Milt did ANYTHING for Disney after Rescuers…!!
*legitimately freaking out/fangasming right now*
Disney likely disliked it. I didn’t see it in many movies except this and perhaps “The Jungle Book”. Before this they had very clean lines in comparison and then reverted back to those lines.
Don’t forget Robin Hood, it was quite sketchy.
The Aristocats was the last film to be approved by Walt Disney himself, as he died in 1966 and this was released in 1970, so any movies after that he didn’t have consideration over. The same artists worked on The Aristocats, The Jungle Book and Robin Hood, I believe. Hence the sketchy style. c:
Also 101 dalmations had this. I fucking ADORED the sketches flashing past and dancing around the motions, it added such great character. The “nprofessional and unpolished finish” would keep this from EVER being any kind of standard to aspire to but I would love to see a 2D film that used this playfully and intentionally.
To clear some things up: this “sketchy” look was more or less a result of cost cuts. After the enormous budget of Sleeping Beauty in 1959, coupled with its less than desirable reception at the box office, the animation department was forced to cheapen their budgets on future features, and a sort of photocopying process called Xerox was invented. It was a much quicker and less expensive alternative to meticulously inking over every drawing - here, the lines were instantly captured in a single copy. After being experimented with on some shorts including the World of Color premiere on TV (Ludwig Von Drake’s debut!), it was put to testing on a feature with 101 Dalmatians in 1961 - and it ended up working enormously in that film’s favor, taking into consideration both the graphic, pop-look of the film and the huge amount of spots on all the dogs. Walt, however, strongly disliked the look - but had to begrudgingly accept it, as it was the most monetarily effective option available, and at the moment he was more occupied with television, live-action and especially Disneyland and the World’s Fair than with animation. The process continued to be used on both shorts and films through the 60’s and 70’s, covering The Sword in the Stone, Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Aristocats, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Robin Hood, not to mention the first three Winnie the Pooh shorts (which were eventually combined into a feature). The graphic look given by the sharp dark lines was aided by frequent art direction from Milt Kahl, who was the lead character designer on all of these films and was more effective at combining realistic three-dimensional movement with stylized designs than anyone else at the studio. Come 1977’s The Rescuers, however, it was decided to return to the softer, hand-inked look of the early features, although I believe Xerox was still used to some extent both there and through some of the 80’s features.
That’s all off the top of my head, and I may be missing some important details. That said… I LOVE this look, and I guess that’s no secret if you look at my art. The 60’s period of Disney, especially, is one of the strongest influences on my stuff I can think of. A lot of it has to do with Milt Kahl’s incredibly strong designs but I really do have a love for the rawness the Xerox look gives the animation. Without being limited by the ink and paint department, the animators were really able to be a bit more loose with their performances and, as seen here, were given less room to worry about keeping their drawings tight while instead focusing on just putting strong animation on the screen. If you look at many films where the drawings are carefully inked and tied-down, whether digitally or traditionally (especially the 90’s renaissance) you can see a bit of clumsiness in the animation pretty often, which is a shame - clearly something is frequently lost in the process of making everything look clean and pretty. I do think it’s worth looking back on what the Xerox method and style had to offer, at least in terms of retaining the raw energy and life of the drawings.