Classic Animators Doing Reference Poses for Iconic Cartoon Characters

Ever wondered what kind of reference poses classic animators did when they drew iconic cartoon characters? It’s actually common for animators to make similar facial expressions when they are perfecting a cartoon character they wish to create. It’s amazing to think that all these expressions for popular cartoon characters were based off classic animators. Here’s a look at the real faces behind the toons with animators doing reference poses for iconic cartoon characters.




Ollie Johnston

Johnston was an American motion picture animator. Working in the capacity of an animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935 to 1978, he was recoginzed as Disney’s Nine Old Men. His first success as a directing animator came early with Pinocchio in 1940. Moreover, he contributed animated features to Bambi, Fantasia and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Animators doing reference poses for iconic cartoon characters.

Ward Kimball

Another one of Disney’s Nine Old Men was Kimball who happened to be an animator for Walt Disney Studios and a jazz trombonist. His passion to try different things with his animations led to classic Disney characters such as Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, Dumbo, Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Mice and Bruno the Bloodhound.

Classic animators doing reference poses for iconic cartoon characters.

Carlo Vinci

Vinci is renowned for his famous work at the Hanna-Barbera and Terrytoons cartoon studios. Among his animations, the ones that stand out most are Yogi bear, Flinstones and the Mighty Mouse.

Old animators doing reference poses for iconic cartoon characters.

Wolfgang Reitherman

Yet another one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, Woolie worked at Disney alongside Milt Kahl and Ward Kimball. He worked on several animated feature films including The Fox and the Hound, Robin Hood, the Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone and One Hundred and One Dalmations.

Great animators doing reference poses for iconic classic cartoon characters.

Norm Ferguson

Ferguson is best known for his contribution of the Disney character, Pluto. He was also credited for the development of characters such as the Big Bad Wolf and Leg Pete. In addition, he was the chief animator of the witch featured in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Inspirational animators doing reference poses for classical cartoon characters.

Ken Harris

Harris is well known for his work at Warner Bros. Cartoons where Director Chuck Jones supervised his work and was mighty impressed. Moreover, he worked on titles such as The Pink Panther, The Return of Pink Panther, A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Thief and the Cobbler.

Classical animators doing reference poses for classic cartoon characters.

Irven Spence

Spence is popular for his association with Tom and Jerry animated shorts. He also provided animations for Frankenstein, Johnny Quest and the animated version of The Lord of the Rings.

Classic animators doing reference poses for old cartoon characters.

Fred Moore




While working for Walt Disney Productions, Moore played a key role in the animation of he Mickey Mouse. He was also responsible for the animation of the dwarfs in the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as the White Rabbit in Alice in the Wonderland. In addition, he worked on animations of mermaids in Peter Pan, Timothy the mouse in Dumbo as well as Lampwick in Pinocchio.

Exceptional animators doing reference poses for awesome cartoon characters.

Just imagine the kind of hard work these iconic animators put into creating animated cartoon characters that we have come to love over the years.

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