Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Walt Disney

Everybody knows Walt Disney. He was raised around the Chicago area, where in high school, he began taking night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. He became a cartoonist for the school newspaper, and his subjects were very patriotic, focusing on WWI. After graduation, he wanted to become an artist and sought a job as a cartoonist for a newspaper. When he could not find one, his brother got him a temporary one at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio, and he began to design ads. There, he met cartoonist, Ubbe Iwerks and decided to start their own company, called "Iwerks-Disney Commerical Artists." Disney temporarily left to work for the Kansas City Film Ad Company to earn money, where he made commercials based on cut-out animation. Thus, he decided to become an animator. After borrowing a camera from the company and learning about animation, he decided that cel animation was a lot more promising than cut-out animation. He then decided to open up his own animation business.

He started out animation "Laugh-O-Grams," where we hugely successful around the Kansas City area. This enabled him to acquire a studio and hire many more animators. However, he was unable to pay the salaries and went bankrupt, causing him to venture to Hollywood, California. There, his partner, Iwerks, began animating "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" for Universal Studios, working under Disney Studios. This also became a huge success. However, Disney lost the rights to Oswald when he decided to negotiate for a higher fee and was denied. Disney now had to come up with a new idea, and Mickey Mouse was born. The rest, as we all know, is history.

Disney's style was obviously very cartoonish, without employment of nuanced shading or blending. His was mostly line work, which outlined the shapes and features of his characters. Nevertheless, he was able to incorporate a clear sense of emotion and direction in his figures, however much exaggerated, and gave his drawings life and imagination. Using just lines, he created something that fitted together incredibly well and composed a story. His revolutionary use of color in his animations also won him great acclaim. Thus, he is undoubtedly the most important figure that ushered in the Golden Age of American Animation.

In this drawing, it can be seen the incredible emotions that the lines convey. Minnie is unabashedly laying kisses on Mickey. It is evident that she is very into it, as her eyes are closed and her body conveys a leftwards direction towards Mickey. Mickey's face conveys obvious elation. His feet are crossed awkwardly and his hand is twisted into a shape, giving a sense of powerlessness.

In this drawing below, Donald is displaying obvious frustration with the ticking clock. His eyes are focused on the clock, his mouth is in a frown, and his head is twitching as conveyed by the little lines around his head. Even these simple lines can convey such information. It is not a complex drawing. There is the necessary shading, but all the relevant information is given by the lines only.

Finally, this drawing presents a very funny mood. Mickey's body is unmoving and his finger is raised to his lips to hush. Fish imitate his body language; ironic, since he is trying to fish, and obviously, the fish are quite aware of this. Everything comes together, again, to convey the story.


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