Posted by: Rio | September 25, 2008

“Know the Figure”

Milt Kahl, legendary Disney animator on such films as Cinderella, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, and The Jungle Book once said, “I don’t think it’s possible to be a top notch animator without being an excellent draftsman.  You have to try for the whole thing, you know, got to know the figure.  You need that figure-drawing background in order to sharpen.  Every animator should have this background.”  When giving advice to a young animator hopeful, legendary Disney story artist, Richard Kelsey said, “First of all, kid, learn to draw.  You can always do the animation stuff later.”

This is a simple explanation for why I’ll be posting so many “life drawings.”  These two men were speaking from their own animation backgrounds of traditional hand-drawn animation, but I believe it is still an essential skill for any type of animator to learn.

Plus, I see the animation landscape shifting and believe hand-drawn animation will be “re-discovered” again.  There is so much beauty and appeal (charisma) to hand-drawn animation that computer generated animation (CG) and Flash animation cannot recreate.  I’ll save that discussion for my other site, Drawings in Motion, which you can link to from this blog.  Drawings in Motion will focus on hand-drawn animation past and present.

For now, please enjoy a few 15 minute life drawings from my sketchbook.










  1. I am always in awe of people who have artistic talent. Nice work and have a great time with the school!

  2. Thanks Bob for the kind words. You are my favorite father-n-law, you know.

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