Saturday, June 03, 2006
CELEB SKETCHBOOK_Glen Keane!
Here's the third installment of the Celeb sketchbook, this time it's the great Glen Keane! Here's the story that goes with it:
If you have worked in the animation industry (2D or 3D) or just are a fan of animation, then you have no doubt heard of Glen Keane. He's been a Disney Supervising animator for many years going back to about "Black cauldron" or so. He is on most animator's short list of to 3 best animators in the world. He would be number one on mine. Some animators can create great acting performances with good drawings, others can create great drawings with good acting, but Glen can create GREAT acting with GREAT drawings- like no one else! No doubt you've seen him interviewed on almost any Disney "making of" trailer. He exudes a passion for drawing and the art of animation that is riveting and a call to become better for anyone that is working with him. He's also equally as inspirational in his personal life. He's a kind person, a strong Christian, and a giving mentor.
So, all that said, I was honored to be chosen to work with him on his animation unit for the character of "Pocahontas" for the movie of the same name. I had been at Disney for maybe 8 to 10 years at that point, but all of the animators that wanted to be on that unit had to submit a life drawing portfolio for Glen to review! That never happens. Glen wanted to make sure everyone on that unit could draw the human figure at least to the level he felt he could work with or mold. Very intimidating. Some how, I passed on got on the unit. The actual film was REALLY not very fun (as is watching it for me), BUT working with Glen was a great and challenging experience. Even when it was long distance. After all, I was in the Florida studio and he was in the California one. He would go over drawings that I would mail him (for every scene!) and I would watch video lectures he would tape for everyone on the Pochy unit. And occasionally he would come out to Florida.
All that is just set up for how I got this drawing. See, all through Pocahontas I really wanted a nice (framable) drawing of Pochy from Glen as a memento. I never got the chance. It's intimidating to ask. So, a couple years later, Glen was visiting Florida to do a press junket for the upcoming "Tarzan" for which he had designed and supervised the main character. He had been living in France working with the French Disney studio for a couple years. No one had seen him at Disney Calif or Fl for about that long. This was a great opportunity to say "hey" and finally get that sketch, I thought. Well, I went down to the office he was staying in while he was there and sheepishly knocked on the door. He saw me and said come on in and I small talked with him for a second. He saw the sketchbook in my hand and asked if he could see it knowing I wanted him to. It didn't don on me that he didn't know I was just about to ask for a sketch. He opened it up and started flipping through the pages and saw all these sketches by other artists to me. His face kinda fell and he said, "Oh, it's THAT kind of sketchbook...." I'll tell you, I will never forget how he said that. I felt like I was letting him down in some way. I wasn't the artist he was hoping I was in some way. I hadn't been working on life drawings and wanted him to see my progress since last we had worked together. All of that was in the way he said "THAT kind of sketchbook..". So, he was nice enough to do a Tarzan for me. He did a great job, but every time I look at it, it's kind of a bitter sweet reaction for me. It still makes me want to do better though.....