Monday, April 28, 2014

Disney Animator Andreas Deja in the MCL

Andreas Deja
Andreas Deja always knew he wanted to be a Disney animator. Born in Poland and raised in Germany, he sent his first letter to the studio inquiring about a job when he was only ten years old. He received a form letter in return, but it was full of encouraging words urging him to study art and build a portfolio. As a teen, he continued to practice his craft, corresponding with Eric Larson, one of Disney's Nine Old Men who headed up the animation training program at the studio. Andreas graduated from university in 1980 and by the end of the summer had accepted a position at Disney. It would mark the beginning of a relationship that would last over 30 years.

The first film Andreas worked on was The Black Cauldron, doing early character design, costume research and some animation. Over time, he lent his talent to Oliver & Company, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid. He found his niche as a master of villains when he became supervising animator of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. More bad guys would follow: Jafar in Aladdin and Scar in The Lion King.

Scar in The Lion King
Andreas finds drawing villains more fun than drawing heroes. He says, "You have so much more to work with in terms of expressions and acting and drawing-wise than you would have with a nice princess or a prince, you know, where you have to be ever so careful with the draftsmanship." Still, he managed to draw his share of heroes. He was supervising animator of adult Hercules in Hercules, as well as that most heroic of rodents, Mickey Mouse, in the shorts The Prince and the Pauper and Runaway Brain.

Today, we celebrate one of Disney's truly great animation artists. Andreas Deja is my guest in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

No comments:

Post a Comment