A. Disney villainess "Madame Medusa" (RESCUERS 1977), ten years after the movie? Maybe she's out of prison and married to someone high up in the Reagan administration...?
B. Paris Hilton in 25 to 40 years?
So scrapping the color in a fresh file, I decided to drop the other shoe and make it a sketch of "Medusa" which was the great Milt Kahl's 'swan song' character. Here (above) is the character as I could basically draw her myself. In other words: not "on model."
Pushing on, I decided to try drawing the character "on model", but without the aid of looking at any reference (i didn't have any at hand). I have tried to draw this character in the past but as with many of Milt's designs, it is virtually impossible to replicate as Milt drew it himself. This particular character was a very distinctly arch tour de force of drawing from him.
He is playing many contrasting forces against each other, and though the character never looks the same from one pose to the next, it is still completely consistent. Milt Kahl drew this character in an almost abstract expressionistic way, somehow pulling all these apparently competing ideas together perfectly: straight bony limbs, blobby sagging body, a face that is at once bony, smooth and pulpy at the same time and an unruly hair do, all moving in space fluidly, but in constant state of revision, as action and emotion demands.
The brilliant animator Sandro Cleuzo writes often on his blog about Kahl, and his observations and posts are always great to read. I have not studied Kahl anywhere near as closely as Sandro, and I don't think I was able to actually pull off a true "on model" sketch here, but the difficulty of the character was an interesting challenge to give myself. It is almost as if Milt may have been able to harmonize various drawing ideas which normally compete or cancel each other out. There's a very strange tension going on in the design between realism and caricature that is hard to describe, but as I was drawing I definitely felt the delicate mix of the two pulling each other back and forth. I never met the man but from all evidence whatever he was doing he was probably more conscious of the pure sweat and fun involved than in any theoretical analysis.
Really an amazingly sophisticated piece of work in an unfortunately mediocre movie.
One footnote i have to add is that while getting the drawing right is important, the color design (self inked lines especially crucial) is a major part of the character.
Oh yeah: This is 100% original fan art. No financial profit taken and the copyright for the character belongs to The Walt Disney Company.