Show 014 – Glen Keane, Part One

Glen Keane, Part One

Ariel, The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, John Silver. The list should say it all. Animation hero to many, Glen Keane has created many of the most memorable characters in modern animation with performances that rival those of any flesh and blood actor. In part one, Glen talks about being an artist, discovering animation, and his first years at the Disney studio.

Get the MP3 here: Show 14: Glen Keane, Part One
Animation Podcast Show 14 MP3

(15.1MB, 32:47 minutes)

Or get the enhanced version playable only with Quicktime, iTunes, or iPods. (Includes pictures in addition to the audio.)
Get the AAC here: Show 14: Glen Keane, Part One
Animation Podcast Show 14 AAC

(16.2MB, 32:47 minutes)

Continue for Show Notes…

  • 0:00:00: The Intro Voice
  • 0:00:04: Theme Song by DJ Sweettooth (Joe Moshier) [LINK]
  • 0:00:49: Intro
  • 0:01:34: Growing up in The Family Circus [LINK]
  • 0:05:13: Thinking of your audience
  • 0:06:34: Wanting to be an excellent artist
  • 0:10:03: Animation: the most demanding artform
  • 0:10:58: Introduction to animation – CalArts [LINK]
  • 0:15:21: Realizing animation was possible
  • 0:16:54: Working on the portfolio to get in to Disney
  • 0:19:44: Training at the studio with Eric Larson [BIO LINK]
  • 0:21:21: Training with Ollie Johnston [BIO LINK]
  • 0:22:26: The studio was a school
  • 0:23:46: Passing on the treasure
  • 0:24:54: Voicemail [LINK]
  • 0:31:35: Please take the survey [LINK]
  • 0:32:00: Feedback info
  • 0:32:19: Thanks for spreading the word
  • 0:32:32: Conclusion

53 Comments on “Show 014 – Glen Keane, Part One

  1. Hi Clay,

    Wow! This Podcast has shot into my top 3. Since the creation of the ‘Podcast,’ it has been a dream to listen to Mr Keane’s thoughts on art, animation, as well as his influences.
    It’s true as you said in the beginning about his characters inspiring many. The Beast was what really caught my eye. I began to ramp up my interest in animation upon Bob Thomas’ revision of ‘The Art of Animation,’ which included a piece on ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ That was how I first found out about the people who worked to make Disney Animation come to life.
    Glen to me is one of the ‘Masters’ of the new gen. His sculptural feelings made so much of the Beast’s Transformation feel so dimensional, you could get the power out of it that brings chills to me almost 15 years later.
    Of course, I kind of see Silver as his most underrated character. Silver has a size about him reminiscent of Ratigan and the Beast. Plus, there’s that scene where Silver’s face becomes amazingly elastic when Jim mentions Billy Bones, and he says: ‘Bones? Booooones?’
    Sorry if I’m prattling on, but Glen has been one of those guys that, even if he animated a tin can, I’d be there to watch it.
    On a final note, Glen’s characters seem to have a ‘cheeky smile’ that appears on almost every one of his characters. Here are a few examples:
    Little Mermaid-after becoming human, when Ariel removes a strand of seaweed from her hair.
    Beauty & the Beast- As the Beast prepares a monster snowball to hit Belle.
    Well, I’ve prattled on enough.

  2. This is the greatest day on earth!!! Clay you are the man, and thank you Glenn Keane. This is the interview I have been waiting for! I have not even listened to it but i know it will be awesome!

  3. wow,

    thanks so much Clay~ couldn’t believe you were able to get Glenn Keane~
    was it hard to get him to interview?
    listened it twice already ~ I hope there are lots more to come~!!

    thanks again Clay~ your the man!


  4. Clay, I’m so glad that you were able to get Glen Keane to do an interview with you. Part 1 was great to listen to while doodling some concept sketches at work. Looking forward to the rest of the interview!

  5. I have just finished listening to the Glen Keane interview, it is truly inspiring to hear a great animation artist speak out about his life and art. Thank You Clay for making this possible!

  6. Too short!!

    Seriously – thanks for all the hard work putting this together – great for a Monday morning boost.

  7. Yo Clay! I’m loving your show down here in Barbados. I’ve sent you some mail, which I would like you to read. I know how busy you are. Anyway, just one gripe. Make your shows longer, thanks.

  8. I’m about 12 minutes into it and i am interested in this book he is talk about. I made me think…you should maybe have a list of good how to draw books or something for aspiring animators

  9. Hey all, thanks for leaving your encouragement and comments!

    Peter – Gasp! Did you listen yet?

    Nader – You’re ablsolutely welcome!

    Mark – As a comlpete devotee to your blog, I’m honored by your praise.

    Michael – I’m glad you shared all that. Check back for Part Two (somehow I have a feeling you will) and Glen talks a bit about the inspiration of the Beast’s transformation.

    Victor – Greatest day on Earth? And that’s even before you listened.

    Young – No you the man! Glen is a very busy man, and getting him to sit down took some planning on both our parts. We were limited in time, so the tone is a little different than the other shows, but I’m very happy with the results.

    Danny – I’m glad too. So far in the survey, he’s definitely at the top of most people’s lists. Listening made me want to draw too.

    Victor – I hope it came close to your expectations.

    Jim – For all you’ve done for promoting animation (and I sure you’ll continue to do, RIGHT?) I’m glad I made something you enjoy too.

    Paul – Got the email. Wrote a quick response. Will write again later. No griping allowed.

    Breana – If you listen to the enhanced show through iTunes, there are image and links that go along with the audio. Some of them, like the book he mentions, have links that go their amazon page where you can buy them. Another reason to listen to (and watch) the enhanced version.

  10. Fantastic! Glen Keane!!

    This interview sounds much better than the others. Was the room sound-proofed?

    This is the best podcast there is. Thanks for keeping it up.

  11. Clay…it’s like you read my mind!!

    Well, you covered one of my choices for interviews I put on your survey faster then i ever thought! 🙂 I’m downloading Glen’s interview right now and seriously can’t wait! I got a chance to talk, even if only a few minutes, with Mr. Keane at SIGGRAPH last year. I hope one day to get the chance to learn from him!

    Thanks again for the great sight! keep it up! Hope all at American Dog is going awesome! Can’t wait to hear more about what’s happening with that one!

    Until laterz!

  12. Yeah, Glen Kean!

    Clay, I was hoping you¬¥d interview him one day. I¬¥m saving this interview for a cozy sunday afternoon with coffee and cookies. 🙂

    Thanks for doing this and keep it up foreeeever!

    Also, I´m glad to have you as one of our mentors, got me pretty excited to read your name on the list. Make sure to check my place every now and then. Cookies and Glass of Milk are waiting…


  13. Oh, Clay, please do us Kingdom Hearts fans a favour. Please:

    Ask him on his opinion on the Kingdom Hearts game series.

    Ask him whether he’ll collaborate on the franchise.

  14. Fantastic! He sure was on the top of my list.

    As someone just starting out, it’s great to hear him almost doubting his artistic ability so much. It reminds me of the interview posted at the Splinedoctors blog a while ago. I’ve been studying 2D animation at AnimationMentor for 6 months now, but due to the lack of drawing training there, my drawing skills still aren’t anywhere good enough to be able to really pull something off. I’ve got no formal drawing training or guidance whatsoever, and you have no idea what it’s like to hear Glen Keane say that 1 okay drawing out of 10 is a really good average. Cause really with drawing it’s fear holding me back everyday. You want every drawing to look at least okay, and it kills me to make a bad drawing. That’s been holding me back a LOT, and hearing the artist I admire most say something like that is really inspiring. It’ll help me to move at least a little bit in the right direction.

    And I agree with Michael on Silver. I’ve put him as my favorit animated character in my survey. What a performance! So much diversity in that character… a fatherly type, a humoristic uncle, an annoyed boss, a vicious pirate,… all the emotions he goes through, from being in his pirate state, to trying to inspire Jim, to having his dream come true, to crying about having to leave, and giving up Morph. And it all works! Everything fits. Especially the scenes with only Jim and Silver were just awe inspiring. The way that relationship transformed throughout the film, and was perfectly shown through the acting, was just amazing.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the Beast transformation scene. That’s still one of my favorite scenes of all time. What’s amazing about it to me, is that it almost isn’t a performance. There isn’t any regular pose in there. No intentional gesture of the character or whatever. Just a creature/man floating and spinning. Yet through the gracious movement, the way everything is shown, the way the wind blows through the cloth and hair, the way he drops down again, you can FEEL it. You get the chills watching it, even without sound. Now THAT’s art!
    And what’s also nice about it, is how the most difficult part of the transformation (50% man 50% beast) is nicely hidden behind a beam of light for only one frame, haha. Nice cheat, and it totally works.

    Anywho, enough talk, thank you Clay and Glen for this interview! Superinspiring.

  15. Great work Clay.. All your hard work putting these together is really appreiciated out here..

    It’s great hearing Keane tell some of the stories I’ve only just read in interviews before.. His grade 4 Burne Hogarth story is a classic.. Grade 4?? Man….

    Glen has been one of my animation Idols for a while.. and I thinks it’s because i can see his artistic influences in his drawings soo much.. For instance.. I’m a huge John Singer Sagent fan.. the guy was amazing.. his life drawings.. man.. that’s how I wanna draw.. and then to learn that Keane also admired the same qualities in John’s work.. It made everything kinda click for me.. I like Keane.. Because I love the guys that he loves.. the old masters… and I can really see them shinning through in his drawings. The way he takes what he likes about these masters and melds them into his own style..I recomend to everyone that loves Keane as much as I do to go and study the people that influenced him.. It’ll blow you away.. and only make Keane’s artistic prowess more amazing..

    thanks Clay… Can’t wait for more!!!.

  16. Great podcast!

    Can anyone point me to the illustrators he talks about in this podcast? Liondecker?

  17. @Dan

    Probably J.C. Leyendecker, american illustrator of the golden age (1874-1951)? Google’s my friend 😉


    Somehow this podcast made spending my break squeezed into in a small car, stared at by the inhabitants of a little village, a lot more enjoyable. Thank you!

  18. This is a great site! I enjoy all of the interviews. For a future podcast Dan Haskett would be cool. Dan is without a doubt one of the greatest Disney artist. Great person as well. FYI… I believe he originally created the character Ariel in the Little Mermaid. Thanks for all of your efforts.

  19. Awesome. His path to animation is very interesting, not what I would have expected. Thanks Clay. When’s the next one? I’m eagerly awaiting. Thank you for taking the time to do these.

  20. Great show! Glen Keane is one of the first names that I learned when I was starting to get interested in the behind the scenes aspects of Disney animation. I really appreciate hearing about his back ground and his father’s information. That gave me some ideas for my family because my daughter wantsme to give her formal drawing lessons and I’m a little unsure about where to start.

    Anyway, great show. I’m really looking forward to the next one!


  21. Ok, so. This will be on loop all day. Thank you SO much. You guys are amazing!

    Oh, and the beginning theme song? That had me cracking up, nice beat too! It was like a trip down memory lane 😀

  22. Sorry for commenting again, but I just finished listening to it and honestly this podcast couldn’t have come at a better time. I was feeling so crummy about a lotta things, animation included, and this totally lifted my spirits! Your interviews are always inspirational 🙂 Thanks again!

  23. Ali – Either you’re very perceptive, or it was a good guess. Yes, it was a soundproof room. My employer was kind enough to let us use what used to be the music room at work. I think, however, that the sound of the show is more likely a result of me learning a little more about recording and mastering the sound as I create each show.
    I’ll have to use your comment when I need to promote the show. Imagine a giant font that says: “This is the best podcast there is.” 😉

    Lamont – We aim to please. Now I bet the people who took the survey and put Glen Keane 3 times as the person the would like me to interview are kicking themselves for not listing any other choices.

    Micha – Ah, coffee and cookies: an animator’s best friends. I’ll keep an eye on your Animation Mentor progress.

    Zaki – I’m pretty sure that Glen isn’t involved in the Kingdom Hearts series. He’s too busy directing Rapunzel.

    Benjamin – Great to hear your thoughts on Glen’s work. Thanks for commenting. I’ve been getting a lot of response to that part of the interview where Glen talks about struggling. It’s something we can all relate to. I hope everyone is really takes to heart the part about doing 700 drawings in one week. I think many people can’t say they’ve come close to doing that much drawing at once (including myself). It shows one way of breaking through an artistic barrier – full-steam ahead. I think Glen’s success is a result of this approach in all things he attempts.

    Jason – Thanks for the encouragement. I know, he’s criticizing drawings he did in 4th grade – what an amazing drive for achieving the best.

  24. Hey Clay,just me again. This is just a reminder for any one who is reading this. Clay is doing his part by devoting his time to get the shows out, so we should do our part and go over to podcast alley, and show him how much we care. When we vote for his show, trust me, more people will find out about it, therby increasing the audience.

    Clay, keep up the excellent work! I’m actually getting more people to listen to your show too.

  25. I can’t wait to hear parts 2 thru 10. 🙂


  26. Clay,
    Thanks for another great listen. I’m chewing my finger into nub with anticipation. Thanks again for a killer show.
    thanks man,

  27. My heart skipped a beat when I scrolled down the page to reveal the mystery guest of episode 14. Too bad I’m stuck in India with a lame-o internet connection and have to wait till I get back to Canada to listen to it. Maybe…just maybe I can give it a listen earlier than that!!

  28. OMG… this is now my must see site…. so cool…. thanks for this great interview….

  29. what glen said about it never occuring to him that The Jungle Book is actually drawings is similar to me….

    it never occured to me untill i was older that The Little Mermaid was drawings….of course when i was younger i knew they were drawings, but i didnt realise the amount of work or the amount of drawings that went into a scene….it all seemed a bit automated to me… like it just happened…. magic even!

    I remember rewatching The Little Mermaid in 2001 and being absolutely stunned at the beauty of the characters… it re-hooked me again to animation (after I kinda stopped watching it in the late 90’s)… that morning i watched every single VHS tape of Disney that i own, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King… then the DVDs came that year and I again saw each movie in a new light…. and knew that animation is my destiny… even if I am the coffee girl or sweeping the floors, I will work at disney…. eventually…

  30. Once again, Clay comes through in time for an airplane ride. :0) Listening to Glen Keane while winging to Albuquerque… life can be surreal sometimes.

    Good stuff, as always.

  31. Great stuff Clay. I meant to comment earlier but got tied up. Can’t wait for part 2.

  32. Thanks for the reply.

    We understand that Glen Keane’s busy with Rapunzel. All we ask for at least a few minutes of his time to reply yes or no, & a small elaboration of either response. Can you ask him just that one question for us fans?

    I’m gunning that, if the Kingdom Hearts franchise truly continues, and once Glen Keane finishes Rapunzel, here’s hoping that Glen Keane or any other famous Disney talent really collaborate with Square to truly bridge the gap between East & West in making more Kingdom Hearts games. Maybe even a movie….

  33. and also…. can’t Rupunzel be made in 2d like the rest of the disny princesses….. or at least in the 2d style (like how they did the wilderbeasts on The lion king, and they still looked hand drawn….)

    …. i think that it will look quite odd to have Rupunzel as a CGI character next to 2d characters on the “Disney Princess” merchandise range…..

  34. Clay,
    Thanks so much for this great interview with Glen Keane. I’m looking fwd to part 2! Also, thanks for all the other interviews and vault episodes. I’ve been subscribed and listening for a few months now and find the insights absolutely invaluable. Keep it up!!!


  35. Thanks a lot, Clay. I have really enjoyed listening to all the interviews that you have put on the site, especially the one with Andreras Deja really inspired me. I was wondering when the interview with Glen Keane would come up. Because he is really a hero most of the animation fans throughout the world. I am really looking forward to the next part of the interview. Congrats and please keep up the good work. Thank you

  36. Hi Clay,

    Just wanted to say that I’ve been following your podcast series since the very first one with Andres Dejas. This one with Glen Keane is truly golden, and is an amazing gift for any animator/afficianado alike. I was silently hoping you’d do one on him, and I figured it was just a matter of time. Thanks so much for this and just the work you do in general to make this podcast happen. You’re a true hero to animation geeks & professionals all over the world!! Keep up the amazing work…Sincerely, Noah

  37. Awesome !!!

    This interview is just the best you ever had.

    It`s so inspiring and motivating!!

    Thank you very much 🙂

  38. Everyone – Like I commented on Show 15, even though I don’t have the time right now to respond to all of you, I DO appreciate your participation here on the site. And a huge thanks to those who took the time to answer anyone else’s questions. Way to keep the conversation rolling!

  39. I was hoping that I could find Part One somewhere – whether it be the audio or a script of some kind. I’m doing a paper on Glen Keane and this would be an awesome resource. Thank you very much.

  40. My name is Sara Garcia and i was interested in audtioning
    for singing for a Disney movie. I’m really interested
    in knowing where to go and what are the right contacts, can you please let me know where to go and ask.

    Sara Garcia

  41. Clay,

    I just wanted to drop a line and thank you for this truly incredible website.I am an illustrator finally spreading my wings into the art form that I have always adored. Last week I completed my first ever pencil test and saw my drawings move for the first time. Magic. I am self-teaching at the moment and want to extend some sincere gratitude to you for this site.

    I discovered your site in my eager search for information and it is pure gold! I was shocked and immensely grateful that the site is free. The information contained in the interviews is priceless.
    Also, your personal interviewing style is professional and insightful. Overall I am just sincerely knocked out by the wonderful job you are doing. Thank you very much for this contribution to animation history and education!

    Very Best Regards,
    Nathanael Lark

  42. Hi Clay,
    thnx alot for this wonderful audio clip.i was little curious to know what glen keane has been doing,now that disney doesnt work on 2d.Is he involved in 3d now or does he teaches??

    again thnx
    Amrinder S

  43. Hi Sarah, I really don’t know much about singing on soundtracks, but from what I’ve seen, most talent that auditions for our films has representation like an agent or manager. So I’d recommend taking the steps to find a talent rep who would then be able to put you in touch with studios when they need voices.

    Nathaniel – What an exciting experience you’re creating for yourself! It actually never gets old to see your work come to life. I can see why people have done nothing but animate their whole lives. Thanks for the feedback on the site and podcast. I appreciate hearing from all my listeners. Good luck with your journey!

    Amrinder – Glen is directing Disney’s upcoming CG animated film Rapunzel.