For the next forty years, Kahl was Disney graphic style, a fact he proudly touted:
I felt a little bit like the chess champion of the world at one time was a Franco-Russian by the name of Alexander Alekhine. Someone --- an onlooker --- mentioned to him, "Mr. Alekhine, that isn't a book move you made there." He said, "I am the book."
---- from John Canemaker's, Disney's Nine Old Men
He has been called the Michelangelo of animation and is usually seen as the greatest animator of all time.
Many people credit Fred Moore (who basically designed Mickey Mouse as we see him today) with the "appeal" ever present in Disney animation, but Milt Kahl, as far back as Pinocchio, has been regarded as the architect of refining graphically what is known as the "Disney style" in character animation.
There are many animation blogs that often pay tribute to him with a 'Milt Kahl Day", posting his pencil tests or drawings. Andreas Deja, Sandro Cluezo, and Jamaal Bradley's blogs are some of the most popular.
A couple of years ago I stumbled up an audio recording of what sounds like a CalArts lecture with Milt circa early 1970's when Disney's "The Rescuers" was in production. (I think this recording was available on sewardstreet.com, but it seems that it's down)
I found the recording greatly inspiring, insightful and loaded with helpful comments on staging, caricature, production and an artist's mindset towards his work. This recording is nothing new, but I noticed there wasn't anyone presently interested in sharing these valuable words online....so I figured I'd share it.
On that note, Clay Kaytis on his Animation Podcast website has a great post with another recording of Milt Kahl at CalArts also speaking about The Rescuers. Definitely worth listening to.
In addition to the eighteen sound clips I am re-posting, I am posting the pencil test of Madame Medusa which Milt references in the recording. Apologies for not being able to combine all the clips into one track.
If you listen carefully you'll hear who I believe to be Eric Larson sitting on on the lecture. If anyone out there has anything they would like to add about this recording, please feel free to comment below.
Hope you find this as inspiring and informative as I did. Enjoy.
Credit and thanks to Jaamal Bradley for posting the clip below.