A “pencil test”, as I mentioned in my recent post about Pencil Test Depot, is a hand-drawn animation sequence (or entire cartoon) in pencil, prior to the steps to final inking and painting.
A rare Disney animated short that was never finished, a classic style 7 minute Mickey Mouse cartoon called Plight of the Bumble Bee, directed by Jack Kinney in 1951, has surfaced on YouTube., giving us a rare glimpse of the classic animation process.
In much the same way that hand drawn animation has a visual charm distinct from any kind of computer animation, the even more raw and immediate look of animated pencil drawings has a wonderful look all its own.
The cartoon has a full soundtrack, and can be enjoyed as a if it were a finished work, but with the x-ray view of penciled-in characters against more fully (and wonderfully) drawn backgrounds.
Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News has posted the cartoon to his site along with a plea to John Lassiter to consider applying the contemporary Disney (Pixar) studio crew to finishing the unfinished work, and distributing it as an opener for a new Disney theatrical release (which was the role of the original classic cartoons in the early to mid 20th Century).
[Suggestion courtesy of Gregory Frost]
[Addendum 9/2/10: This has been removed from YouTube by the Disney Copyright Hawks, but as of this writing is still viewable on Ain't It Cool News.]