Lines and Colors art blog

Unfinished classic Disney pencil test

Disney's unfinished Mickey Mouse cartoon Plight of the Bumble Bee
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).

Great Idea.

[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.]

Plight of the Bumble Bee (YouTube)

Dear Mr Lasseter,… (post of cartoon and open letter on AICN)


3 responses to “Unfinished classic Disney pencil test”

  1. Sorry to have missed the YouTube posting. It sounds wonderful. It has been removed at the request of Disney for copyright infringement.

  2. I just love looking at the old work, and when its in pencil form all the better!