Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The "Freddy Moore Girl"!

In my last post I referred to the "Freddy Moore Girl" in describing the type of very cute and curvy cartoon girls that you would see in some of the Disney films of the 40's and 50's. Fred Moore was an animator who has become somewhat legendary to Disney animation aficionados over the years. He was largely self-taught, but with an innate ability to draw everything assigned to him with great visual appeal. Those who worked with him claim that he couldn't have done a bad drawing if he'd tried, so natural was his talent. I'm not going to give a whole history of Fred, suffice to say that he was the animator who really determined the final designs of the Seven Dwarfs, as well as having helped Mickey's design to constantly evolve into ever more appealing and animatable forms. In his off time, Fred was most renowned for his numerous sketches of cute, innocently sexy young girls, which were in high demand from his many fans within Disney's animation department. Fortunately for we Disney collectors, some of these sketches have made it onto the open market through various animation art auctions. I was lucky enough to have gotten the two that you see here:

This was my first acquisition, and it is somewhat unique in that he actually signed this one. Many times it appears that he did not, as I suppose he was tossing them off so fast that he probably didn't consider them particularly noteworthy himself. I love the "baby fat" on these girls - it's a shame that nowadays that look is not as fashionable as it was back then. I think they look very cute and cuddly, myself!

This was my second purchase several years later. What I find really interesting about this one is the fact that it's so unfinished. It's as if Fred got bored and left it before he finished up the ink outline. From my standpoint, it's neat just to be able to see how he worked: starting out with soft coloured pencil sketch, adding a few splashes of watercolour for substance, then finishing it with a somewhat more refined ink line. I always like to think the older sister resembles the young Natalie Wood!

Here is some more art that I have in my collection that relates to Fred Moore, whether or not any of these are actually his work. All three of these are clean-up pencil drawings from the "Pastoral" animation in "Fantasia". Yes, that's right, I said CLEAN-UP drawings, in a way that you'll never see them done now, sadly, due to the requirements of scanning them into the digital colouring system for the films being done these days. I just adore these drawings for the "sculpted" thick and thin linework. Just look at that first one particularly, of the centaurette shaking off the water droplets. That had to be done with a nice soft pencil, not too sharp, where the variation in line weight is achieved through the angle of the pencil and the pressure applied. You sure can't do that today with those silly, needle-thin mechanical pencils all the studios are using. Yep, we've lost a lot of the glorious craftsmanship from the past in this computer age we live in now. That's why my Disney animation art collection is limited to mostly the Walt era.

By the way, if you want to see a ton more of great Fred Moore drawings, check out Jenny Lerew's "The Blackwing Diaries" blog. She's far more knowledgable on his life history too, and her writings are really quite interesting. The bulk of her Fred Moore artwork seems to be in her archives, roughly from April 2006 through July 2006, with a smattering of stuff before and after as well. Definitely worth studying for all you animation students too!