Sunday, March 27, 2011

Walt Kelly Animation Drawing

Click to enlarge.
I haven't bought much original artwork in recent years, but I couldn't resist this drawing that I purchased on eBay recently. It's from the film We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us, made by Walt and Selby Kelly.

Walt Kelly, creator of the Pogo comic strip, was reportedly unhappy with the TV special made of the strip, The Pogo Special Birthday Special, which was directed by Chuck Jones. Following that, Kelly and his wife Selby decided to make an animated film on their own. Both of them had worked at Disney on the pre-war features and Selby had continued to work in animation after Walt left it to work in comic books and strips.

The film was to be a half hour, but it ended up being only 15 minutes or so. It also suffered from poor distribution, never playing TV and rarely screening anywhere. VHS copies were for sale several years ago, though I have no idea if that offer is still good.

The drawing above is of the pig villain in Kelly's film, a polluter who is happy to point out that he is no more guilty than those who think of themselves as innocent. Kelly's environmental view was that we were all responsible, not just the large companies who were known to pollute.

The drawing above is typical of Kelly's work in many ways. It is dimensional and Kelly's line varies its thickness to sculpt the forms of the character. The face is expressive; Kelly was a master of the pose that communicates.

I'm looking forward to having this drawing framed.


Brubaker said...

I don't think the film was ever completed. Somebody put it up on YouTube a while ago (now deleted) and it was in animatic/pencil test stage.

Mark Mayerson said...

The film exists in colour. I have the VHS of it and I first saw it in the 1970's.

Harry said...


Do we know how close the film is to what Kelly envisioned being the final version? My understanding was always that the soundtrack was temporary. (I first saw it at the Museum of Cartoon Art in its original location, and at showings at Boston comic conventions where Selby Kelly made personal appearances.)