By Don Hahn and Tracey Miller-Zarneke.
This hefty volume is rare glimpse into the infancy of animation and a view behind the artistry that launched Walt Disney to the pinnacle of the genre.
Walt build a cartoon studio and an empire on the shoulders of Mickey Mouse, but to make the leap from shorts to feature film, he knew the artists had to develop further. Walt himself drove his artists to classes at the nearby Chouinard Art Institute on entertainment, drawing, and acting. Then he expanded that educational effort by building his own in-house art school like none other.
Before Ever After is a compilation of never-before-seen lecture notes from that school, documenting classes that instructor Don Graham organized in preparation for the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Guest lecturers included Frank Lloyd Wright, who spoke about art philosophy, and Alexander Woollcott, who lectured on humor and entertainment.
These talks were carefully transcribed and distributed to the animation crew in the 1930s, but with the onset of World War II and a labor strike, the lectures were filed away. Now some eighty years later, these lost lectures are presented with text and context, richly illustrated to show the brilliance of Walt's plan to raise the level of his artists to invent the modern animated feature.
Hardcover; 448 pages