Ava Thursday: Plussing Faces

Walt Disney coined the term plussing as a way of making an idea even better. By telling his workers to plus it, even when they think they nailed it, gave Disney that extra edge when it came to quality animation back in the day. Pixar is a staunch believer in plussing their work. And it shows.

So, in the case of my dear Ava, back in October she had already added her touch to these eyes that I have taped up on my desk at work which were copied from the animation tome, The Illusion of Life. Just the other day I looked up and saw that she's since plussed them, adding noses, lips and hair.

I sense a future Pixar employee, folks.


  1. Diva fabulous AND the artistic skillz to pay the bills? She's the total package.

    One of my boys' favorite books is Bill Peet's illustrated autobiography for kids. Maybe Ava would be interested in having you guys read it to her. I love the non-condescending, matter-of-fact way he describes his career in animation and his relationship with Disney, etc.

  2. I was lured here by a BoingBoing blurb mentioning the Disney "plussing."

    That took me back to the late 70s when I worked for Ben Sharpsteen, then retired Disney director, helping him create a museum in Calistoga, California. Every display we made had to be Plussed, because that's what Walt would have done. He worshipped Walt.

    I read a few of your posts and decided you might like to know this little tidbit of information. You have a great blog, career, and family. You're a lucky guy!


  3. HA! Fantastic! I've been chuckling a lot over this post.

  4. Weaker Vessel, I have that book and I love it. I bought it not only for the unique take on working at Disney, but also for my kids to be able to read and enjoy.

    Steve, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the nice comments! Hope you visit again.

    I did notice my stats yesterday -- It's strange to see that I've been Boingboinged about this, with Ava's drawing on the site. Pretty cool, though!

  5. Seeing all of those expressions reminds me of a book I've recently found on the web (although it's hardly new) - The expression of the emotions in man and animals, by Charles Darwin. With illustrations:


    Recognition of facial emotions is almost certainly instinctive.

  6. I encountered "plussing" reviewing the Disney books published by Hyperion in the 1990s, such as "Walt Disney's Imagineering" and "Hercules." That's one of those simple notions that, once it's stuck in your head, can act like a can opener for ideas.

  7. There is a whole set of arcane animation terms that would cause puzzled looks from ordinary folks: "plussing" , "music room" , "sweatbox" , "breakdown", etc.

    "I got a note from the Music Room that in the sweatbox session this afternoon they decided that my breakdowns needed to be plussed".

  8. hey there, I'm a Art Director out of Chicago, work for a company that does package design for OTC drugs, happened to discover this site through BOINGBOING, very cool. Now, im using 'PLUSSING' all day. LoL. anyways, nice work, cool site! anyone have any advice for breaking into the 'ANIMATION' side of the industry? supplement box ingredients are, oh so boring!