I recently stumbled across Andreas Deja's blog - Deja Vu - which is crammed with excellent posts, especially on Disney's Nine Old Men and their enduring legacy and contribution to the craft of animation. Twenty years ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Andreas on "Scar", the character he designed and supervised on the "Lion King". Andreas was kind enough to let me join his team one summer at Disney in 1993 when I was still a student, eager to spend a summer working in LA to try to get better at animation and to earn some spare cash. Looking back now I can't believe how lucky I was - or how little I really knew. Despite my stumbling inexperience, Andreas was a generous mentor and under his careful guidance I managed to complete a number of shots on the film, work which I am still proud of 20 years later.
I learned a great deal from Andreas, but the most important thing that he taught me was that no matter how good you are as an animator - and he is very very good indeed - we all stand on the shoulders of giants. Andreas's fascination with the work of Disney's 9 Old Men shows how much we can still learn from the Golden Age of Animation - if we will just take the trouble to study it.