Animation &Disney &Models 09 May 2008 07:58 am

Rico LeBrun’s guides

– At the start of Disney’s production of Bambi, Rico LeBrun, an established Italian artist, who was teaching at Chouinard Institute, was employed to help teach the studio’s artists to learn how to draw animals. He created some intense classes where animators concentrated on the anatomy of deer and other animals. The story goes that LeBrun went so far as to cut open a deer’s corpse and slowly peel away parts of the animal for drawing and study. Over days, as the smell grew more putrid, fewer and fewer people attended.

LeBrun prepared a book of some 40 or so pages of the skeletal system of deer for the artists to use as reference in learning to manipulate the animal characters. His art was copied onto animation paper with typed notes added.

I had posted one of these pages which I located on ebay (reposted above right) and am quite pleased with this original piece. Presumably the others are all, also, on animation paper.

Sky-David had contacted me after a recent item I had posted about the Tyrus Wong drawings on Bambi. Sky
told me that he had a copy of all of the pages of LeBrun’s study. Furthermore, he shared it with me and I’m sharing it with you. At least, here are the first 18 pages. I can post more at a future time.


(Click any image to enlarge.)______________


Rico LeBrun (standing), in his class, advising Eric Larsen.


Animators in LeBrun’s drawing class. (Left to Right) Louie Schmitt, Ollie Johnston,
Milt Kahl, Bill Shull, and Jack Bradbury.

For futher information on Rico LeBrun’s biography, go here.

17 Responses to “Rico LeBrun’s guides”

  1. on 09 May 2008 at 9:40 am 1.Andy J Latham said …

    I discovered your blog a few days ago and it is one of my favourites on the subject of animation. You really put some amazing things on here. Wonderful for someone like myself. I can’t wait to see more of these Rico LeBrun pages!

  2. on 09 May 2008 at 12:27 pm 2.Robert Cowan said …

    Excellent! I had never seen this art before.
    -Bob

  3. on 09 May 2008 at 5:11 pm 3.David said …

    Absolutely beautiful studies!

    It always amazes me the lengths the Disney Studio went back in the so-called “Golden Age.”

    Thanks so much for sharing these!

  4. on 09 May 2008 at 5:15 pm 4.Sky said …

    Michael,
    How wonderful that this high point in animation art done 70 years ago is restored for all to share.
    Sky

  5. on 09 May 2008 at 6:04 pm 5.Jim said …

    I had hoped to post these some day – but these are definitely higher quality copies compared to what I have. Thanks!

  6. on 10 May 2008 at 3:54 am 6.Cesare Asaro said …

    This is exactly the material I’ve been looking for! For a long time I might add. It’s going to help immensely, for work and especially for my zoo excursions. Thanks for sharing.

  7. on 10 May 2008 at 5:03 pm 7.Tom Minton said …

    Jack Bradbury could draw like a fiend. Of course he had to, in such company.

  8. on 19 May 2008 at 11:48 am 8.J. Chad said …

    Thanks for posting these. These are great. I look forward to the rest

  9. on 01 Jul 2008 at 5:30 pm 9.Mark Sonntag said …

    I remember seeing this stuff when I was working on Bambi 2, I wasn’t an animator so I didn’t rush to get a copy. This material is awesome, thank you for posting it. This is the kind of analysis that should be drummed into young 3D animators and not just how to push a button. At least there is no such training on this side of the world.

  10. on 21 Aug 2008 at 1:24 pm 10.Jenny Lerew said …

    How did I miss THESE posts the first time? Wonderful, Michael–thanks so much for putting them up(and scanning!).

    Since LeBrun taught animal anatomy/drawing at Chouinard he must have prepared similar(though perhaps not as extensive)handouts for those students on other animals, wouldn’t you think? Come to that-I wonder what happened to all the handouts/notes from all those decades of students of LeBrun, Graham, Davis, Moore(Bill), etc etc? What I’d give…you know somewhere an heir has these things in a trunk or flat file–I hope.

  11. on 05 Sep 2008 at 11:36 pm 11.Rohit said …

    They are absolutely lovely…..thanks for the effort

  12. on 20 Apr 2009 at 11:42 am 12.Bill Shull said …

    Thank you very much for posting this photograph of my father. I do not think I have one this young of him.

  13. on 01 Aug 2009 at 6:18 am 13.Nakami said …

    This helping me to draw some animals…good things…

    Arigato Gozaimasu…

  14. on 27 Apr 2010 at 8:43 pm 14.Ed Masler said …

    I was a student of Howard Warshaw at UCSB, 1971-76 and he was a student of LaBrun. We saw the Bambi Book which someone had xeroxed at Disney. The story was that the studio had suppressed the drawings because they did not want to suggest that the animators did not know how to draw. Lovely to see them again. Thanks. E.M.

  15. on 14 Jun 2010 at 9:45 pm 15.Renee Brown said …

    Thank’s . Lebrun is one of my favorite draft’s men
    of the 20th century.

  16. on 03 May 2011 at 7:19 pm 16.Ed Masler said …

    Please post the other pages. As an artist in hiatus, living in the country in NE Pa I see many deer daily (My wife calls them our deer friends). Someday I’ll get back to the study of these graceful, gentle creatures. Thanks for the post. Will check back again. Ed Masler (humble artistic grandson of Rico LaBrun)

  17. on 04 May 2011 at 7:46 am 17.Michael said …

    Click here for Part 2
    Click here for Part 3

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