Breaking Down Art Babbitt's 'Best Piece of Animation'
UPA, Art Babbitt and the secrets of limited animation.
Happy Thursday! This issue of Animation Obsessive is about the art of animating — as revealed in a scene drawn by Art Babbitt for UPA.
Babbitt was one of the 20th century’s most important animators. Before his time with UPA, he was a Disney ace. He animated on Snow White and Pinocchio, and developed Goofy into the character we know. Later, he worked on The Thief and the Cobbler. From a technical standpoint, he was almost unmatched.
Yet Babbitt felt that his single greatest work wasn’t for Disney, or even for Richard Williams. It was for UPA — a studio often ignored in discussions around animation technique. In 2006, researcher Stephen Worth wrote:
I once asked Art what he thought his best piece of animation was, expecting him to cite Goofy in Moving Day … or Geppetto in Pinocchio. But Art surprised me. He stated without equivocation that his animation of the bear chasing the dandelion in UPA’s Grizzly Golfer was his best.1
Today, we’re breaking down this sequence — and seeing what it reveals about UPA’s so-called “limited animation” along the way. Enjoy!