Jul 10, 2011

Shere Khan

So, Milt Kahl was one of the most awesome animators ever, part of the famed Nine Old Men of Disney lore. Today, he's known both for being an incredible draftsman (many of the most famous Disney animated films' characters bear his marks--Robin Hood, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians) and for having been a sometimes difficult character to have worked with. He had high standards and expected a lot from his colleagues. So, good for him.

I've copied a lot of stuff from him before, but mostly by individual drawings. For example, he's famous for having been able to draw uber-expressive hands:

My favorite Milt Kahl character, by far, is Shere Khan, the villainous tiger of The Jungle Book. Of course, I'm biased in favor of big cats simply because I think they're so cool. But Shere Khan, in character, in design, and in animation, is brilliantly done. He's a consummate gentleman, though twisted and vengeful. He's graceful but strong, evil but controlled. When my roommate saw a video clip of the tiger he said "He's so gentrified!"

It's true. I mean, who else could so brilliantly handle Kaa, the python:

Or give Mowgli a 'sporting chance' before being devoured:

I decided to try to do a little pencil test, totally robbing a series of images from Frank and Ollie's "The Illusion of Life" (p356-357). Like I said before, using others' art for education and inspiration is great. Copy, copy, copy!

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