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The first thing to do when beginning any animated scene is to thumbnail. Thumbnailing is to do little drawings exploring the posing and acting of a character in a scene. Here are some from early in my career.

In the movie Beauty and the Beast one of the sequences I animated was Beast in front of the fireplace having been wounded by the wolves. Belle is trying to clean his wounds and they get into a fight. I spent three weeks figuring out the sequence before doing any animation. I did piles and piles of thumbnails working closely with Glen Keane.

The next few are from Aladdin. Although I supervised Rajah, I also did some animation of Jasmine and Aladdin as well.

These next few of Aladdin aka Prince Ali are from the balcony scene. Here he’s being forced back by Rajah. These are also the scenes where people supposedly heard Aladdin saying “Good girls take off your clothes.” I animated it. Those words weren’t there when I had it.

These last couple of pages are from Mulan. This one is where Yao has been selected to try and retrieve the arrow.
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When Beauty and the Beast was re-released a song had been added that had been cut from the original version. I was asked to animate Beast in the song. It’s a scene where Belle is reading to Beast. When he asks her to read it again she suggests that he read to her…not knowing he doesn’t know how to read.

About Aaron Blaise

For 21 years Aaron worked with Disney helping to create some of the greatest animated films ever made. During that time he worked as an animator or supervising animator on "The Rescuers Down Under", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", "The Lion King", "Pocahontas", "Mulan" and more. In 2003 he was co-director of "Brother Bear" for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. After "Brother Bear" he helped to develop several projects but ultimately left Disney to pursue an opportunity back home in Florida. Aaron recently served as 2D Animation Supervisor and Character Designer for the "The Bear and the Hare" an advertisement loved by millions around the world. He is currently also working on a new animated short film, once again involving bears called "Snow Bear".

3 thoughts on “The first thing to do when beginning any animated scene is to thumbnail. Thumbnailing is to do little drawings exploring the posing and acting of a character in a scene. Here are some from early in my career.

  1. These are amazing Aaron, thanks for sharing your process!

  2. these are awesome, whats the was your time limit on producing an animated scene? how much time do they allow for planning?

  3. Brilliant all the way!

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