Andreas Deja – Giving Characters Personality

“I use antlers in all of my decorating!”

– A really conceited guy

What makes a character interesting? Personality. Whether they’re good, bad, funny, serious, a good character has to have a strong personality or else people will not care about them. One animator who excels at putting a personality to animated characters is Andreas Deja.

This guy has animated A LOT of characters for the Disney films

He was also one of the four supervising animators on this movie:


And he’s dabbled with animating big-time characters he didn’t create:

Nowadays, Deja is working on his own independent animated film called Mushka:

There’s not much about the movie outside of concept art

A lifelong fan of Disney movies, he was hired by the company in 1980 and was mentored in how to animate by some of Disney’s most prolific and genius animators, the Nine Old Men.

These guys were masters of this craft, and they taught much of the future Disney animators their techniques

His first big break in animation was the live-action animation hybrid blockbuster, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where he got to animate the crazy rabbit himself.


After that, he went to become the supervising animator of Ariel’s harsh but loving father, King Triton.

He based the character partly off of his own father, as his dad was also very strict when Deja and his sister were teens, but you could see it was because he cared and that he felt sort of bad about it.

After that, Deja went to do another buff guy, the misogynistic antagonist that wanted Belle all for himself in Beauty and the Beast.
Eat your heart out Luke Evans.

Then, he went on to animate two villains back to back who both were flamboyant, conniving backstabbers who want to become the ruler of the land.

They also seem to go to the same mascara store

Yeah, three times in a row Deja animated iconic Disney villains, but that was because he was so good at his job. He made sure to give attitude and character to what would otherwise be rather one-dimensional villains (Gaston’s a little more complex though).

Deja has a habit of taking characters and giving them so much personality in their movements and facial expressions that you end up being charmed by them, even if some of them are evil.

Probably one of his best works of animation is the little Hawaiian girl, Lilo. Unlike most of his other characters which have rather over-the-top movements and expressions, Lilo’s animation was much more subtle and nuanced and yet still conveyed so much of her character.

Andreas Deja is one of the best modern Disney animators because of how he is able to convey so much personality and so much emotion with some drawings. You don’t really need dialogue or captions to understand what they are like or what they are thinking. You just look at the character, and you know.


I look forward to whatever Deja has in store next, and I’m sure he will be able to give it so much life like he’s done before.

Cuz my what a guy that Deja.



2 thoughts on “Andreas Deja – Giving Characters Personality

  1. I love drawing, and I totally agree with you “a good character has to have a strong personality or else people will not care about them”. A strong personality is what make people remember.

    Liked by 1 person

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