Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 01-14-2015 - Animator and Disney Legend Glen Keane

By Tim Callaway

"If I can coast, I don't think it's the thing for me." -- Glen Keane

Glen Keane
Glen Keane
Glen Keane still believes he has a lot left to learn as an artist—he’s not quite there yet. I’d argue that him being the animator behind such great Disney characters as Ariel, the Beast, Tarzan, Pocahontas and Ratigan--among many others--would place him on a pretty high pedestal. The man’s a Disney Legend for a reason. But, that's exactly what makes Glen Keane such a great artist. He is never fully satisfied. There’s always a new story to tell, a new technique to embrace, a new technology to learn. It’s that insatiable desire to challenge himself and try new things that at age 60--nearly three years removed from his stellar career at Disney--Glen finds himself nominated for an Annie Award and possibly an Oscar for his beautiful work on the short film Duet, a film that honors hand-drawn animation as much as the cutting edge technology that allowed Glen to tell a charming story about a boy and a girl in a 3-dimensional virtual space.

The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid
Glen always had talent, His father was a successful cartoonist and Glen thrived in that environment as a child. He honed his skills at Cal Arts and blossomed at Disney under the guidance of many of Walt’s Nine Old Men. Glen’s mentors were the likes of Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and Marc Davis. With their help, Glen came to discover that animation isn’t just about technical prowess with a pen or brush, it’s about emotion, sincerity and finding the heart of a character. In Glen’s world, there is no such thing as starting with a blank piece of paper. The character is already there, always. It’s the artist’s job to find out where the character is hiding.

Glen Keane is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.

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