47. John Pomeroy


   Drawing is a skill that many animators struggle at and take a long time to master. Eventually though many of them get to the point where they just “kiss the paper” and have complete control of their pencil (in the case of Grim Natwick, Norman Ferguson, and Cliff Nordberg this never happened.) However some just naturally have perfect pencil control. Perhaps no one in Disney history has ever been more naturally talented in this area than John Pomeroy.


     John Pomeroy was hired in 1973 as a background artist but soon became an animator under the great Ollie Johnston. Pomeroy displayed great talent but his career halted when he left in 1979 with the Bluth group, a group of some of the first animators to speak up for quality animation after Walt’s death. After having a phenomenal career with Don Bluth he returned to Disney to supervise Captain John Smith in Pocahontas. He would also be a supervisor on Fantasia 2000 and Atlantis before ending his second stint at Disney.


     Pomeroy’s biggest assets as an animator are his control of the pencil and his brilliant draftsmanship. At times he has been said to have animated well over 50 feet a week. John’s characters have many refinements and secondary actions, somewhat resembling the structure of Milt Kahl’s animation. Of the second generation he is one of the masters at drawing the human figure. Pomeroy also has great ability in visualizing a scene in his head and “tracing” it on paper.


     John Pomeroy’s impact comes in that he not only was one of the first promising talents of the second generation but also was one of the first animators who felt inclined for Disney to make better films. Whether or not you think the Bluth group betrayed Disney it is important to remember that their leaving was crucial in the turning point to the studio realizing the animation department had to make better movies. Something needed to happen and the Bluth movement was important in making something happen. Also Pomeroy was one of the talents that encouraged the studio to expand its training program. Those two reasons alone amount to something.


     What I learned from John Pomeroy’s work was to visualize the scene in your head and to analyze how things move, entertain, and communicate. Everything in your scene has to have meaning and be there for a reason. Visualizing the scene in your mind is the best way you can figure out what needs to be there and see how it works put together. If you just work straight on paper you don’t always know what is important in your scene and what elements need to be there. Also you have to understand as an animator how something should move and the meaning of that movement. Studying the work of animators like Pomeroy is a great way to get a feel for how this should be done. Last is his work reminds me that you need to have control over your pencil and of what you are trying to do.

Pomeroy’s Work

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too- Animator(Tigger’s reaction to Rabbit telling him he can’t bounce anymore)

Rescuers- Animator on Scoops among other things

Small One- Animator

Fox and the Hound- Animator(uncredited)

Pochantas- Supervising Animator on John Smith

Fantasia 2000- supervising animator on Firebird

Atlantis- Supervising Animator on Milo


One Response to “47. John Pomeroy”

  1. Russell Stoll Says:

    I was lucky enough to assist John and for a short time also animate with him…just to watch him draw was an honor, with his pencil lightly perched in his hand and realizing a very sculptural 3-d quality of drawing on a 2-d surface…he seemed to me to be the “Fred Astaire” to Glenn Keane’s “Gene Kelly” in their approach to animation, although John could provide “dynamic power” to his scenes, and Glen “subtle beauty” when needed….only wish you had posted John’s “rough” drawings instead, as the above don’t even look like his “keys”….nice blog all the same…
    -Rusty Stoll

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