Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Animator Profiles: Walter Elias Disney

The name Walt Disney is known by virtually the entirety of humankind. He is the master of animation. Disney created visual wonders that took children as well as adults into a world of fantasy, imagination and magic.

"He started out in Hollywood with $40 and a sketch book and built a multi-billion dollar empire which came to symbolise family entertainment. From Mickey Mouse to world domination." (c 2001). TheBiographyChannel.co.uk. 

Fig 1: Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse
 Walt Disney was a lover of history. He believed in the connection of the past, present and the future. As a result, he created masterpieces that could be considered to be timeless and everlasting.
Born on December 5th, 1901, Walter Elias Disney was one of five children.
The Disney family moved to Missouri during the early days of Walt Disney's childhood. There, he expressed a keen interest in drawing. This interest superceded that which he had for his school work.

Disney had a summer job at a rail station where he sold newspapers and soda to travelers. He tried to recreate the motion that he saw at the rail stations in his drawings.

In Chicago, Walt Disney attended McKinley High School where he spent most of his time discovering his talents for photography and drawing. During this time, he attended The Academy of Fine Arts during the night to better his drawing skills.

Fig 2: A Still From Steamboat Willie

When his family moved to Kansas, Walt Disney began to take up the art of performance. He would sneak out at night to take part in comical skits. At school, he would narrate stories of characters that he drew on the chalk board to his friends.
At the age of sixteen, Disney enlisted in the military. He was rejected due to being underage, however, he did manage to secure a position with The Red Cross where he drove an ambulance in France which was covered in full with Disney characters. This was the beginning of the motion picture.

After returning from France, Disney began to create short animated films for commercial companies. On the side, he worked on his animated featurette Alice in Cartoonland or The Alice Comedies. Sadly, this failed initially and Walt's company Laugh-O-Grams went bankrupt.
Soon after that, he set sail for Hollywood where he met his brother. Together, they pooled in their resources (most of which were financial). Walt married one of his first employees, Lillian Bounds. Three years after they were married, Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse made his on screen debut in Hollywood's first sound synchronized animation 'Steamboat Willie'. The Disney studios gave a vital importance to the art of storytelling. The story was just as critical a factor in the production as the visual graphics. Due to that, As reviewer Mark Langer states, "The studio developed an unrivaled degree of expressive virtuosity." Langer, Mark. (c 2000). American National Biography Online. Walt Disney.

Fig 3: A Still From Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
 On the 21st of December 1937, Disney created Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, which was the first to use the technique of rotoscoping in animation. A woman was filmed doing the same moves as snow white and those were drawn onto the cels.
Disney would later create Bambi, Dumbo, Fantasia and many other animated features in the years to come.All of the Disney films taught the audience about the importance of the conservation of nature. As stated on www.JustDisney.com, "Disney brought fascinating insights into the world of wild animals and taught the importance of conserving our nation's outdoor heritage."

Walt Disney provided the world with his magic and imagination that inspires artists even today.
He is the master of animation and a pioneer in imagineering.


Author Unknown. (c. unknown). JustDisney.com. Walter Disney Long Biography. At: http://www.justdisney.com/walt_disney/biography/long_bio.html

Author Unknown. (c 2001). TheBiographyChannel.co.uk. Walter Disney. At:  http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/walt-disney.html

Langer, Mark. (c 2000). American National Biography Online. Walt Disney. At: http://www.anb.org/articles/18/18-00309.html

Illustration List:

Fig 1:Disney, Walt. (c. Unknown). At: http://creativethinking.net/articles/2011/08/29/walt-disney%E2%80%99s-creative-thinking-technique/

Fig 2:Disney, Walt. (1928). Steamboat Willie. At: http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-features/60404-in-celebration-of-walt-disney

Fig 3:Disney, Walt. (1937). Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. At: http://www.postershop.co.uk/Disney-Walt/Disney-Walt-Snow-White-2803008.html

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