Before the Animation Begins: The Art and Lives of Disney's Inspirational SketchArtists

Before the Animation Begins: The Art and Lives of Disney's Inspirational SketchArtists

by John Canemaker
     
 

Born from daydreams, meditations on color, character and form, and sheer inventiveness, Disney's pioneering animated films begin in the imagination of the "inspirational sketch" artist. Allowed to work with an unprecedented degree of creative freedom, these talented painters, designers, and illustrators attempt to conjure the "look" of a film - the appearance of…  See more details below

Overview

Born from daydreams, meditations on color, character and form, and sheer inventiveness, Disney's pioneering animated films begin in the imagination of the "inspirational sketch" artist. Allowed to work with an unprecedented degree of creative freedom, these talented painters, designers, and illustrators attempt to conjure the "look" of a film - the appearance of characters, the action's locale, the mood, and the use of color; in short, the film's aura and feel. The result is some of the most beautiful and intriguing art to come out of the Disney studios. For the first time ever, noted animation historian John Canemaker chronicles the lives and work of the "inspirational sketch" artists from the thirties to the present, situating them in the history of modern art and analyzing their lives and interactions with the studio (and Walt Disney himself).

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Both of these heavily illustrated books look at two less celebrated sections of the Disney empire, and the rare artwork that both contain is their strongest asset. Canemaker's book is on the people who created preliminary sketches "that explore the visual possibilities in a literary property." These possibilities for any proposed cartoon include the visual style of the film, how the characters will look, the way a major scene could be portrayed, and so on. Specific sketch artists have put their individual stamp on the entire look of the finished film in such cases as Sleeping Beauty, Bambi, and Night on Bald Mountain. In addition, they have created memorable minor characters, such as Pocahontas's raccoon pal and Beauty and the Beast's Mrs. Potts. Canemaker primarily concentrates on the feature-length cartoons, and he gives special attention to Fantasia. By chronologically examining the life and work of the significant sketch artists, he ably demonstrates their contributions. An interesting look at a neglected aspect of the Disney films. With a combination of imagination and engineering skill, the Imagineers create all elements of the Disney theme parks, from the rides, attractions, shops, and restaurants to the signs, light fixtures, trash cans, and landscaping. Starting with Disneyland and continuing up to the present day, this book attempts to show how "imagineering" created so many memorable experiences. Even with the aid of copious illustrations-never-before-seen artwork from the Imagineering Division's own files-the act of imaginative creation is difficult to re-create, and this work doesn't completely succeed in showing how the Imagineers brought their creations into being. It is further hampered by a once-over-lightly writing style. But that is a minor quibble in what for the most part is a fascinating before-the-curtain-rises look at the Disney theme parks. Both books are highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786861521
Publisher:
Disney Editions
Publication date:
11/15/1996
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
11.87(w) x 12.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

John Canemaker is a tenured professor and director of the film animation program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In 2006, his film The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation won the Academy Award for best animated short. He has written numerous books on animation, including The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, Paper Dreams: The Art and Artists of Disney Storyboards, Before the Animation Begins: The Art and Lives of Disney Inspirational Sketch Artists, and Walt Disney's Nine Old men and the Art of Animation.

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