DISNEY FUN FACT- THE 1970s ANIMATION PROCESS
For 1970s Disney films like Robin Hood, The Aristocats or The Rescuers, the visual delevolpment for animating a character was different and quite shorter compared to earlier or later films.
The first Disney feature films like Snow White, Pinocchio or Dumbo had so many artists, who were part of Joe Grant’s Model Department, contributed to the animating process of a single character with sculptures, several ideas, designs and rough model sheets. Nonetheless, after Sleeping Beauty a lot of artistic personal was let go in order to streamline future productions and to save money. So, when the 70s started, the animation staff was reduced to only four supervising animators, who carried all the weight and responsibility.
The process was as follows; Ken Anderson started with rough character designs such as these marker sketches above, which were rich in personality and reflected a sense of who this character was. After that, these sketches would be passed to Milt Kahl's desk, who would, as he'd call it, make them “animatable”.
Model sheets were made up of drawings from Kahl’s early animated scenes…and that was it. No construction sheets, no head or body turn arounds like in the old days, or in later years like they did for films in the Disney Renaissance like The Little Mermaid or Aladdin. Still, the characters from the 1970’s films do not lack any quality compared to others who did go through a more complete transformation.
Next time you are watching one of these films, take a closer look to these characters, but they will only confirm the great talent of these few animators who really took the charge and responsibility and nailed it.