Milt Kahl magic

Sorry for the long delay between posts.  Working seven days a week will do that.  Here’s a quick bit of animation inspiration courtesy of Michael Sporn and John Canemaker: some fantastic animation of Peter Pan by the great Milt Kahl.
Kahl Pan
Go here to see all the key drawings from the scene, and the actual animation (sans inbetweens).    It’s wonderful stuff.

What astonishes me about this scene is how utterly clear Peter Pan’s attitude is throughout, despite the scene requiring the character to be down on his hands and knees, rummaging around in a loaded chest inches from his face, with the camera above and beside him.  Not only is the acting clear and entertaining, the physical mechanics are dead on.  It would have been easy to make the character feel broken, especially in the pose I’ve highlighted above, and for the action to feel contrived (especially the way he keeps his right arm from obscuring what he’s doing).

Notice how Peter’s facial expression reads, even though he’s practically buried in the chest for much of the scene, and even though he turns his face completely away from us twice.  My AM students should also note the way the hips are alive and involved in the action, even though it’s his arms and head that are doing the major movements. Also note the rhythm between the two arms and the head — one of the three is always quiet when the other two are moving, and it never becomes a chaos of competing movement.

Michael Sporn’s Splog is one of the few websites I visit virtually every day, and I don’t know how he has time to put up so many fantastic, informative posts on a daily basis. Here’s another recent Sporn post, featuring the drawings of great cartoonist Lyonel Feininger.  I can’t explain why, but I find this art profound and unique, and keep coming back to look at it again.

Feininger 1908

One Response to “Milt Kahl magic”

  1. alex vaida Says:

    Beautiful ! Beautiful ! Thank you, Kevin, for pointing out a few things. This is, indeed, a great little piece that teaches how to do things right. The cam placement is so well planned out – makes you think it’s easy. Parts competing for attention – that is something I find difficult to master and I’m grateful whenever I find something that shows me the magic behind the process. Thanks for the post !

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The animation and animation-related musings of Kevin Koch