PHOTOS: Awesome Disney Animators from the 90’s just casually creating childhoods

90_s-Era Animators - Duncan Studio -1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been TWENTY YEARS since the theatrical release of Disney’s TARZAN but the film — with music by Phil Collins — is an indelible Disney classic. With the anniversary just around the corner (June 18!) renowned animator Ken Duncan (who has an illustrious career under his belt) shared a bunch of fantastic behind-the-scenes photos from various animators.

Master sculptor Kent Melton, with his Jane and other sculpts for “Tarzan”; 1998 Kent sculpted most characters on the 2D films we created in the 90's. He would also create sculpts for "The Incredibles" with Brad Bird and many other films. Kent was masterful at translating a 2D design(drawing) into a 3 dimensional sculpt while capturing an animator’s pose and the character’s personality. He's an amazing painter as well!The collection contains photos of the people who lent their talented art to classics such as HERCULES (June 13, 1997 – turning 22 this year), TARZAN (June 18, 1999 – turning 20), THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE, and TREASURE PLANET.

These awesome B&W portraits (first shared on Duncan Studio’s Instagram) offer candid snapshot into the creative studio spaces that helped bring to life various animated projects. Ken pays homage to the artists who came together for these history-making projects and where they are today.

Ken’s studio announced its foray into original content in April with the launch of “Duncan Originals” to produce features, series, and short-form content targeted at a global audience. Most recently, the studio worked on the critically acclaimed 2D animation sequence for MARY POPPINS RETURNS.

Enjoy now some of Ken’s photos of Disney animators:

Treasure Planet: supervising Animator Glen Keane <br /> circa 2001<br /> I would occasionally walk around and take photos of folks with my Rolleiflex camera.<br /> Glen was in the middle of animating a Silver scene.<br /> Ah, old telephones, CD and music boxes KEN DUNCAN: Burrowed in my office, animating Jane<br /> circa 1999<br /> (Note the sculpt of Jane on the shelf, to the right)<br /> That mountain of papers were my “throw away” drawings(not used). I would throw them into a box at the end of the production and cart them home. Joe Grant-Disney Animation; circa 1999 So fortunate to have worked with Joe for a short time. Joe started at Disney Studios in 1933. He designed the witch in Snow White, wrote the Dumbo screenplay, helped Walt choose the music for Fantasia, and began the idea for Lady&Tramp(Lady was based on his own dog). He was Walt’s “right hand” man until he exited the studio in the 1949. Joe would return in the 80’s and inspire a new generation. A true legend! Respect. He was 91 when I snapped this photo; a master at calligraphy, which he is doing here. Animation Supervisor Andreas Deja; 1999 Andreas was animating on Yzma at the time(his model sheet drawings are on the board). I didn’t work on “Groove”, but did work with Andreas on “Hercules”, etc., which was a great experience. During this period I would walk around and take photos of crews working on the various films. I’ve got hundreds of photos and slides that are a good “behind the scenes” history of this era. “Hercules” directors Ron Clements and John Musker (aka John&Ron); 1996 We are in a warehouse here, shooting live-action reference of actors for our animation sequences. John looks a bit annoyed with RonI really enjoyed these shoots, to see what the directors wanted of our characters and to suggest ideas. The sequences would have been storyboarded beforehand, and the Head of Layout dept., Rasoul Azadani, would also attend, to work out camera angles for the scenes. This reference was not to be “rotoscoped” but to use any posing/acting achieved that fit the characters in the recordings....to get ideas. Roy E. Disney at his desk; 1997 My office was 2 doors over from Roy’s office, in the “hat” building. He was shooting an intro for “The Wonderful World of Disney”. Roy was waiting patiently for the camera crew to setup and I took this photo through a small window. Beautiful Juliet Duncan taking a break to pose while working on Disney’s “Hercules”; 1996 Cousin Louie!! Joe Mosher, Assistant Animator on “Hercules”; 1996 Joe was goofin’ (not his real hair, glasses, or teeth ;) Joe became a great character designer, of course! Bruce Smith, Supervising Animator, taking calls. “Tarzan”; 1999.<br /> Bruce created the characters “Kerchak” and “Favcilier”(Princess &Frog). He also created “The Proud Family”animated series, worked on “Roger Rabbit”, etc.. Bruce is one of the first animators I worked with when I arrived in L.A. in 1988 and been a good friend ever since. He’s worked with Duncan Studio on occasion over the years. Super talented! Animator Rej Bourdages; “Hunchback of Notre Dame”; 1996 Rej is a fellow Canadian...we were at college together and began our careers out in Europe before coming to the States. Rej has been a Story artist at Pixar for many years now… The Layout team, “Hercules”; 1997 Lobby of the Disney Animation building. Monica Lago-Kaytis, Assistant Production Manager of Layout, Emperor’s New Groove”; 1999 Monica would become the Associate Producer on Wreck-it Ralph and Zootopia. She most recently Executive Produced “The Christmas Chronicles” for Netflix (her husband Clay Kaytis directed). Animator Mark Pudleiner; “Hercules”; 1996 Mark is a fellow Canadian, we were classmates in college. He was on my “Meg” unit of animators.... Animator Mark Pudleiner; “Hercules”; 1996<br /> Mark is a fellow Canadian, we were classmates in college. He was on my “Meg” unit of animators. Supervising Animator Mike Show drawing with a banana-“Hercules”; 1996 Ron Clements,Co-Director of “Hercules”, at the Animator “thank you” lunch; 1997. The waiter is trying to decide if Ron deserves the water .Accountant Andrea Paul spies from the doorway, behind the curtain . Tony Fucile’s last day, circa 1997. Tony(Supervising Animator of Esmerelda in ”Hunchback...” and Mufasa in “Lion King”) was packing up and leaving Disney...to head over to WB and work with Brad Bird on “The Iron Giant” as Head of Animation(or “Ray Gun”?). Tony would also work with Brad on “The Incredibles” 1 and 2. Amazing draftsman and super nice guy. We both competed for the “messiest office” award!<br /> (That’s a “Little Caesar’s” Pizza Pizza doll on his monitor on the left. Tony animated the first commercial with that character, I believe). Supervising Animator Ellen Woodbury in her office; 1996 (She's in the lower right corner). Ellen animated Pegasus in “Hercules”, which explains the wing(for study). She was also the Supervising Animator of Zazu in “The Lion King”. Ellen is now a sculptress our in Colorado...a very talented person!

90_s-Era Animators - Duncan Studio -1

Author: Joey Inigo

I have been a part of MouseInfo.com since 2003. I enjoy visiting the Happiest Place on Earth and am happy to talk about Disney Parks all day long.

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