by Suzanne Harper (retyped from Disney Adventures Magazine by Aimee Major and she takes credit only for the typos and spelling mistakes)
When Andreas Deja was 10 years old, he saw his first Disney movie, The Jungle Book --- and was totally blown away. "I wanted to see it again and again," he says. "My mom got a little worried; she said, 'Now, dear, you just saw it yesterday.' I didn't know why I wanted to keep seeing it; I just thought it was the most wonderful thing."
But he did more than go back to the theater. He wrote to Walt Disney Studios, asking how he could become a Disney artist. He got a letter back, telling him that he should study art seriously.
"I found out that you don't send drawings of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck," Andreas says. "The Disney style can be taught, but people need to know anatomy, have flair for movement and do life drawings for quite a few years. Once you know how to draw the real thing, you can caricature it."
It sounded like alot of work -- but Andreas really wanted to become an animator. So he started taking art classes when he was a teenage, then went to a college to study art and design. When he had some good drawings, the sent them to Disney Studios. When he heard that they liked them, he just about fell over!
Soon he was working on films like The Black Cauldron and Beauty and the Beast. On Aladdin he was given the job of developing the villain Jafar.
Here's his step-by-step story of how he created the look of this evil character --- plus his inside tips on how you can become an animator, too.
(The following are quotes from Andreas Deja that accompanied several small sketches of Jafar. I may scan them at a later date,..but if you would like to see them, please email me.)
"Here's an early sketch of Jafar's costume, which was a littls complicated. With all the bags and jewelry, your eye keeps bouncing around from one thing to another. When he comes on the screen, I want him to be a vision in black and red. And that means I have to make it very simple."
I wanted to find an interesting face that I could have fun with and that was very expressive. So I gave him this high upper lip and placed the mouth way low. His face almost looks like a mask, but I can do a lot of stuff with it. Sinister expression, real evil ones and surprised ones."
With this turban, I try to have the lines lead your eye toward Jafar's face; even the pattern goes right to the face, becuase that's the most important thing.
"I also gave a certain rhythm to the black hair on his face. You can see how those heavy eyebrows come straight down, pick up on the upper lip, go around the mouth and end with the twirl to his beard as sort of an accent."