They Drew as They Pleased: The Hid­den Art of Dis­ney’s Golden Age

Animation Magazine - - Frame- By- Frame - By Di­dier Ghez [Chron­i­cle Books, $40]

In the first half of the 20th cen­tury, as Walt Dis­ney Stu­dio pre­pared to tackle some of the most am­bi­tious an­i­mated projects of the age, the iconic toon house took a novel tack: hir­ing a group of artists whose sole duty was to ex­plore vis­ual con­cepts and in­spire their col­leagues to reach new heights. This col­lec­tion — the first in a planned sex­tet of vol­umes — brings some of these rel­a­tively un­sung cre­ative he­roes into the light at last.

Ghez, who has pro­filed other lesser-looked-at nooks of Dis­ney history with Dis­ney’s Grand Tour and Dis­ney­land Paris, show­cases four of these pi­o­neer­ing artists with newly un­cov­ered bi­o­graph­i­cal ma­te­rial and largely un­pub­lished art­work from the Dis­ney Ar­chives and An­i­ma­tion Re­search Li­brary. This tour through the build­ing blocks of the stu­dio’s early golden age is sure to in­spire with ex­am­ples culled from short films from the 1930s, un­pro­duced projects, clas­sics Snow White and Pinocchio and early work for later pro­duc­tions like Alice in Won­der­land and Peter Pan.

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