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Drawing #DisneyPlanes With Dan Abraham and Art Hernandez! #DisneyPlanesBloggers @WaltDisneyAnim


How exciting that we got to draw Dusty from Planes with Dan Abraham, Head of Story and Art Hernandez, Story Artist! If you recall I also had this opportunity with last year’s animation artists for Wreck-It Ralph. How cool is this? These are some of the stars of this movie, just as much as the celebrities who voice the characters! And they are teaching us to draw, I feel very honored that this is part of my Planes education!

Art walked us all through the process of drawing Dusty! My second opportunity at learning to draw an animated Disney figure from a real Disney artist!


We also enjoyed a casual interview with the guys, and you know we kept asking a lot of questions to try to find out how exactly the Disney genius works!

“For Planes, we did have a script, and the script gets broken down into chapters, and each storyboard artist will get three different chapters from this script.
And a sequence from the movie. And what we do, then, is we take the written word and we transform it into a visual. We, kind of make a comic book version of the movie to set up the staging, where the characters are, what the locations look like, where is the camera in this world? Is it low, is it high, is it a two shot with two characters speaking? Is it a close-up of just one character’s reaction to something? We set all of that stuff up.” Fascinating.

“The other unique part of this as well is, that it’s not just about staging and about where we place the camera or the composition of the shots, also not reacting to these characters. Which is not the easiest thing to do because we’re limited to three things to get emotion, expression, personality. It’s the eyes and the mouth, and the body movement. Out of those three things we have to get all of our acting. Planes don’t throw their arms up when they’re afraid, they can’t go pick something up.” It is limiting and an extra challenge when animating vehicles!

They also shared that John Lasseter is always very into the truth of materials. “If something is made of metal in the real world, it’s metal in this. If it’s rubber in the real world, it’s rubber in Planes. So metal doesn’t bend, we’ve got all these characters that have to carry on conversations and have relationships and stuff like that, and, nine times out of ten, in order to turn, they can’t just, shimmy off to the side. It’s not how the suspension works.  It’s very, very challenging. They can never say, hey, would you hand me that thing? They can’t. No one can hand anybody anything except the little guys with the forklift, so we use them all the time…”

And then after all that hard work, they send their finished products to editorial, who shoot it all down, and they begin again! Although now everyone has an idea of the direction of the story, and a familiarity of how the characters are “Acting.”

This was our last “class” of the day, I cannot believe how much we learned. And then I get to see the movie with my son and share with him all the nuances I have learned, he is fascinated by the process. He loves the animation classes he has at school, so he has a little extra interest in all that his blogging daddy has to explain!

And here is how you can draw Dusty, if I can do it , anyone can!!

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Bloggers just want to have fun. Do you see what Art wrote coming from Dusty’s mouth? “Hi Bloggers!”


Disclosure: Disney invited me on a press trip and paid all of my expenses. No other compensation was received. All  opinions are always 100% my own and honest. Most pictures courtesy of the on-site Disney photographer.

And the movie is out! The kids will love it!


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  1. 1
    Kathy Lane says:

    I have not had the pleasure to see the movie Planes yet,but I’m looking forward to it.It looks like you all had a great time in learning to draw Dusty.

  2. 2

    My son loves this movie. He has the DVD now too for xmas. 😉 Wish they didn’t use a Duster style plain…but that’s life, lol!

  3. 3

    Oh, I love this movie so much – lucky for you that you got to see the behind the scenes

  4. 4

    I can barely draw a circle. I wonder if they could teach me to draw Dusty!

  5. 5

    We love this movie! Looks like you had an amazing time! I hope I will one day be there too!

  6. 6

    Mitch!! Your Dusty turned out awesome! Great job 🙂

  7. 7

    My boys will be getting this for Christmas and I can’t wait to give it to them.

  8. 8

    Sounds like you had an awesome time! I love the movie “Planes” probably as much as my kids do!

  9. 9

    I love it! That is so cool that you got to sit down with the animators. I also love that you included the video. We homeschool so little educational bits like that are always welcome for us 🙂

  10. 10

    You did a darn good job on that drawing. You must have had a really great teacher!

  11. 11

    so cool! did you take any pictures of rochelle?

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