Walt Disney’s thoughts on animation

Disney memo

Before Walt Disney became synonymous with a multi-billion dollar company that had become a clearing house for seemingly every single creative property in the world, Walt Disney was a young artist trying to make it in the world.  He launched his first animation company at the age of 21, went bankrupt and then launched another studio with his brother Roy a couple years later.  By 1935, he was a 34-year-old keen to push the boundaries of animation.  Just before Christmas, he wrote a memo to Don Graham, the art teacher from the Chounaird Art Institute responsible for training Disney animators who at this time were tackling “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”.  Letters of Note found a copy of that memo and posted it online.

Depending on where your interest lies in the creative process, you will take different things from this memo.  In my case, I took away this message: “A good animator combines all these qualities:

Good draughtsmanship
Knowledge of caricature, of action as well as features.
Knowledge and appreciation of acting
Ability to think up gags and put over gags
Knowledge of story construction and audience values
Knowledge and understanding of all the mechanical and detailed routine involved in his work, in order that he may be able to apply his other abilities without becoming tied up in a knot by lack of technique along these lines.”

You can read the full transcript here 4678382977_ab5cf1f3d3_b Disney Memo 24679015356_94a33039bc_b Disney Memo 34678384433_2bf92acef4_b Disney Memo 44678385203_3a8e4c03d7_b Disney Memo 54679017464_a09b40f0ba_b Disney Memo 64679018422_79f8662017_b Disney Memo 74678387277_2e40a92029_b Disney Memo 8