Sunday, November 26, 2006

THE AMAZING GLEN KEANE


On the comments page Anonymous is always asking me what I think about Glen Keane. I don't have much to say about the man that's original. Like everybody else I think He's a wonderful draughtsman and animator and I'd kill to take a class with him. I just regret that Disney chose to do so many feature films about realistic human beings that required Glen's level of talent to pull off. It must be hard to make fun and imaginative films when so much attention has to be devoted to the technically grueling task of moving anatomically correct figures around the screen. Glen sometimes lectures to art schools and a friend told me that his latest lectures are full of references to a book called "Blink." I'm listening to a library copy of that book in the car now. According to the book we should trust our first impression of things. Our brains are very good at sizing up people and situations and finding a single criterian for judging them accurately. Glen applies this to drawing. On the first glance a person might strike you as boxy or wolf-like and that's the way you should sketch them, no matter how much other analysis you do. John K used to say that. It sounds right to me.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks Eddie! His brother draws the family circus for a living lol. Thatd be like John K having a brother thats an animator for family guy

Anonymous said...

But doesn't the notion that 'the first impression is the lasting impression' lead to mere stereotyping? God knows it does with employers.

NARTHAX said...

Actually, anonymous #1, it's Glen's dad, Bil Keane, who originated and drew the Family Circus strip since its inception. He may or may hot have a sibling doing it now but comics have blown for so long I don't look at them anymore.

Anonymous said...

Stereotyping helps humans through 99.99% of their daily lives. It's a survival tactic.

However, it has to be based on MOUNTAINLOADS OF ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, not paranoia.

Anonymous said...

I know his dad started the strip but hes like 80 now and his son Jeffrey does most of the work on it now. Its a depressing tradition for comics to be handed down from father to son like theyre freaking factories.

This is the same with Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, Blondie, Born Loser etc. And theres still hacks writing strips like Nancy and Bringing up father.

Those strips were funny and relevant when they were started but some of them are almost 40 years old. It would be as if instead of having Seinfeld it never existed because its timeslot was being used for new episodes of I love Lucy.

I feel almost as much contempt for them as the artists and writers who make new episodes of Looney Tunes

Anonymous said...

john k actually trashed some of Glen Keanes aladdin drawings in his blog haha

Anonymous said...

what do you think of Glen keanes "acting" skills aside from his technical ability? Do you know if he has a "cartoonish" side to him?

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

And his acting skills in the comment section too. Well, not trashed, but basically saying Ken Duncan was the only good one in the last 10 Disney 2D years. Doesn't matter, though... John might be an amazing animator, director and animation critic, with tons of interesting points of view and knowledge, all art is still subjective.

I for one admire Glen Keane more than any other artist today. Both his draftsmanship and animation/acting skills have been guidelines and inspiration for what I one day want to achieve. I learn from his work (and artists he mentions in interviews) all the time.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

And anonymous: for a cartoonier Glen, check out Ratigan in the Great Mouse Detective and the giant in Mickey's Christmas Carol. It's no Ren & Stimpy, but it's very different from his later work. I personally prefer his later, more realistic work, but like I said above, it's all a matter of taste (and what your own goals are).

Anonymous said...

how would you rank him next to the nine old men?

Anonymous said...

stereotyping does help, If I read a cartoonists bio and is says Joe Joebadoo doesnt remember when he didnt have a pen in his hand.... I know not to check out the strip since it aint going to be funny

Anonymous said...

thats for comic strips not animation though

Jorge Garrido said...

>But doesn't the notion that 'the first impression is the lasting impression' lead to mere stereotyping? God knows it does with employers.

Which helps in caricature.

I never thought Eddie would like Glen Keane, because he's not that cartoony. I'm no fan, anyway, since I can hardly sit through Disney movies. I do, however, like those drawings (but not the design).

Anonymous said...

I changed my mind and I hate family guy and the simpsons, btw

Anonymous said...

Unlike anonymous #2I think Family guys great. I think the Simpsons was the best animated show ever for its first nine years.Its been unwatchable since then

Phil Walton said...

Eddie,
I, too, am listening to Malcom Gladwell's Blink in my car. It's a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested. It's amazing to think that our brains are always calculating, apprasing, and forming opinions that guide our actions, without us even being aware of it. Fascinating stuff.

Anonymous said...

I like Glen Keane's animation in Beauty and the Beast the best. He gets the same charisma and emotion into the beast as he does in any of his humans, but because the beast is a humanized animal (as most cartoon characters are of course) it all comes across that much better. I've heard females say that the Beast is more attractive as a beast than he is when turned back into a human. That, of course is Glen Keane's doing.
I hope these talents of his translate into directing as well as they did to animation. We'll have to wait and see what Rapunzel: Unbraided is like.

Anonymous said...

itll probably be exquisitely drawn romanticized garbage

Shitbitch said...

"Unlike anonymous #2I think Family guys great. I think the Simpsons was the best animated show ever for its first nine years.Its been unwatchable since then"

"The Simpsons" has been "unwatchable" since the sixth season. "Family Guy", on the other hand, has ALWAYS been unwatchable.

Anonymous said...

For a while, Keane also trained under Ollie Johnston. If anybody is interested, you can listen to a 2-part interview with Glen Keane at the Animation Podcast. It's from April of this year. Even if you're not a Disney feature fanatic, it still has lots of good points and insight.

Anonymous said...

the frank grimes episode was in season eight shitbitch, and family guys better than anything you could write

Shitbitch said...

"the frank grimes episode was in season eight shitbitch, and family guys better than anything you could write"

Well, at least we agree that the Simpsons isn't what it used to be. But how do YOU know I couldn't write better than Family Guy? That doesn't seem like a very arduous task to complete, really.

Anonymous said...

I think Family Guy has gone downhill lately and is started to rely completely on pop culture references but at its best the show was hilarious

"cigarettes killed my father... and raped my mother"

at a life drawing class "am.. am I supposed to draw the penis?" sculpting "am I .. am I supposed to sculpt the penis?" music "Am am I supposed to conduct with my penis?"

"So my son Chris comes in and starts up with all this yo-yo homey crap and I dont know what the hell hes talking about, so I started beating him with a hose.. then my arm got tired and I came here"



Because of the poor animation the humor from these shows came completely from the writing, making the term "animated sitcom" accurate.

If you compare these shows at their best to sitcoms like Seinfeld, Cheers, All in the Family I think they stack up favorably.

Home Movies is crudely drawn and is still hilarious.

The problem is that they are animated and because of that people tend to draw comparisons to the classic warner brothers shorts.

In those shows the "writing" is all in the characters and the animation and if you compare family guy to Tex Avery of course Family Guy is going to look like crap.


Its like how in the sixties the beatles complimented andres segovia in an interview and when he heard about this he said "surely theyre nice boys but their music is terrible!"

Normally saying "the beatles suck" means youre an idiot, but if you are the greatest classical musician alive and have never listened to rock music before of course its going to sound horrible to you.

This is why I completely understand John K's aversion to these shows. He spent his entire life studying great animators and their craft and then Family Guy and the simpsons throws all that out the window.

Of course he is going to look at those shows and not be able to get past the poor composition, stiff poses, lacklustre animation, and by the standards he judges animation by they ARE going to be crap.

If you use shows like The Office (british version) Monty Python, Seinfeld, Sctv, and standups like Steven Wright and Norm Macdonald as your barometers for comedy then Family Guy and The Simpsons are funny as hell.


I think if John thinks he can do better he should put all of his energy into creating a 5 minute animated short thats the funniest thing ever put it on the internet and after it gets 5 million downloads on youtube and becomes a sensation he will be in a better position to get his own shows made.

That isnt a shot at John, I think he is capable of making something brilliant that will put him back in the game

Jorge Garrido said...

>Normally saying "the beatles suck" means youre an idiot, but if you are the greatest classical musician alive and have never listened to rock music before of course its going to sound horrible to you.

They are terrible. Rock & Roll died before its tenth birthday. It was way better in the 50s.

>"So my son Chris comes in and starts up with all this yo-yo homey crap and I dont know what the hell hes talking about, so I started beating him with a hose.. then my arm got tired and I came here"<

That's not, funny, there was no joke there. That's stupid. Family Guy has TERRIBLE writing, even when compared to a great show like The Office or any rgular sitcom. Even as its prime it was terrible, and the Simpsons hasn't been funny since the 8th season.

junior said...

They are terrible. Rock & Roll died before its tenth birthday. It was way better in the 50s.

Yeah, and rap is cool, right?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I love Glen Keane's sketches. There so loose and full of life!

Andreas said...

I like the sketches. Did Glen perhaps study under Burne Hogarth? I see what looks like Hogarth influence, especially in the last sketch. They are great to look at.

As far as Family Circus, I met Jeff Keane at Comic-Con several years ago. Interesting person, can't say I particularly like the strip.

Family Guy is visual torture. I haven't been able to watch more than 1 minute of it in a single session. I can't imagine someone compared it to All in the Family. The acting was great in that show.

Andreas said...

Just found a Glen Keane lecture from CalArts on YouTube...

Glen Keane CalArts Lecture Part 1

Anonymous said...

Since I love throwing my hat into some good, old-fashioned, all-American-family arguing, I guess I'll have a go at this.

First off, I love Glen Keane's work: I love him in Tarzan, I love him in Beauty and the Beast, I even love him in Treasure Planet. On the same note, no, I don't like everything Disney's churned out in the last few years, but some of these movies have some beautiful animation that I admire. Glen's a very good artist and I can't wait to see how he does as director for "Rapunzel".

Second: I haven't read that book "Blink", but I plan to soon.

Third: How the hell did we start bitching about Family Guy and Simpsons. It went from talking about a Disney animator to the latest crapload from the Fox Network. I don't see the connection. But, if I have to be opinionated: Family Guy was great when it first started, but now it's crap. It's relying more than ever on pop-culture references. The animation is...let's just say flatter. On the same note, the Simpsons' current animation ain't what it used to be (yeah, I said ain't. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?), but, in my opinion, it's still pretty good. Family Guy's been churning out the same crap for 4-6 seasons.

Anyways, I love this post. I'm surprised, too. But as for the thing about John, that's his opinion. I like some more recent
90's animation, but that's my thing. I do agree though that a lot of the stuff out there is well...crap. There's a lot of stuff I agree about and some stuff I disagree, but that's my thing. I don't respect EVERYTHING he says.

Well, that's my 2 cents. Now I suppose someone else is gonna go on another long winded speech.

Take it as you will.

-645.3