For those of us who aren’t animators (so, most of us), it can be impossible to fathom just how much work goes into making a feature-length film. Artist Aaron Blaise helps shed a little light on the process with a series of YouTube tutorials. Recently, he took a look back at his hand-drawn work on 1991’s Beauty and the Beast. As Slate writes, Blaise worked with Disney for over two decades, and also had a hand in Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994).
In the video above, Blaise focuses in on a single shot from the film when Beast is leading Belle down a hall after she first arrives at the castle. Here’s the bit of dialogue that goes with it:
Beast: “The castle is your home now so you can go anywhere you like, except the West Wing.” Belle: “What’s in the West W-” Beast: “It’s forbidden!”
It’s pretty short, but as you’ll see, it takes pages and pages of sketches to bring the scene to life. Disney allowed animators to keep the shot drawings when production was over, so the ones featured here are the actual pages Blaise used to create the moment. They include little tricks of the trade like a chart he scribbled on the sides of the pages to help incorporate the up and down motion of the Beast’s walking. Blaise talks through everything from details to big picture planning; it’s a fascinating look at the process behind the art, as well as a welcome look back at a form that’s falling away in the digital era.
Blaise says, “Paper is still a viable medium for us to animate on—I still love to do it every once in a while. Don’t get me wrong: the digital world, the moving end of the digital world, that's progress and we’re moving ahead, and I think there’s some beautiful digital animated films that are being done, but there's no reason why we still can't come back every once in a while and enjoy these little bits of nostalgia.”
Banner image via Aaron Blaise // YouTube.