This article is not a part of The Lion King universe.
February 18, 1967
1990 - present
"The biggest challenge for me on that film was just getting the locomotion right. Four-legged walks, trots, and runs can be tricky, especially in the transition from one to another. Getting something to look natural while still getting the acting across can be difficult."
Aaron Blaise is an animator, whose contributions to animation have included several Disney leading or title characters, such as young Nala from The Lion King.
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Blaise moved to Naples, Florida with his mother and stepfather at the age of eight. Following high school, he attended the Ringling School of Art and Design, where he trained in painting and drawing. From the age of five, he expressed a strong affinity and desire to draw animals. As an illustration major in school, he aspired to create illustrations for natural history magazines such as National Geographic or Smithsonian.
When recruiting season arrived at Ringling, Blaise got leads on two companies that were coming to visit: Hallmark and Disney. Deciding to focus his efforts on painting backgrounds, he prepared his portfolio to show to the team from Disney. The greeting card industry's loss became the animation world's gain, and Blaise won an animation internship at Disney. In 1988, he and five other illustrators relocated to Los Angeles to study with mentor animators as part of an experiment to see if artists with strong drawing backgrounds but no animation experience could adapt to the animation world. Blaise was paired with star animator Glen Keane, and after a frustrating initial two weeks, things suddenly clicked and he was hooked. Following the internship, Blaise was offered a position at Disney's Florida Studios, set to open the following year.
This film was initially difficult for Blaise, who found animating animals to be tricky. He got much inspiration, however, from live animals brought to the studio for the animators' purposes. "I didn’t take any of the Africa trips for that film." explains Blaise. "We did all of our locomotion studies at the studio. Young and adult lions were brought in for us to sketch. It was lots of fun and proved to be a huge asset to both the design and animation processes."
Aaron Blaise is the older brother of Travis Blaise, an animator on the Koda unit, as well as the husband of Karen. Together, the couple have two children, a son and a daughter.
Aaron Blaise and his brother, Travis, both took part in animating The Lion King. While the older supervised animation for young Nala, the younger served as an assistant animator for Zazu.