In the age of digital animation and CGI, hand-drawn animation can seem like a technique as old as time. Many of us take the beautiful illustrations that go into films like Snow White and Beauty and the Beast for granted, but it’s a subtle and fascinating technique. It’s delightful, then, to see the curtain pulled back in a series of videos from longtime animator Aaron Blaise, who worked with Disney for more than 20 years on several movies including Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. Blaise’s YouTube channel provides tutorials and advice for aspiring artists and animators, but its most recent addition is a particularly special one, as Blaise exhumes some old hand-drawn animations for Beauty and the Beast to explain the painstaking work that went into what amounts to just a few seconds of screen time.
Remember that scene when the Beast is showing Belle around the palace, and warns her not to go into the West Wing? Probably not very vividly, but even those couple of seconds contain a mountain of technique—from making Beast move realistically up and down as he walks, to the gestures of his arm, to how he forms his words. After watching Blaise flip through his drawings and passionately explain each tiny shift, it’s hard to imagine ever seeing those couple seconds—or the rest of the movie—quite the same way again.