Sunday, March 8, 2009

Walt Stanchfield Books coming March 27!

I am pleased to announce that Don Hahn (producer of LION KING, BEAUTY & THE BEAST and other good stuff) has put together a two volume set of books called DRAWN TO LIFE compiling notes and observations of Disney Animation Legend WALT STANCHFIELD. Walt was a key assistant and later an animator during the reign of the the "9 Old Men" at Disney Features, and he postponed his retirement (somewhat indefinitely) to stick around and pass on his wisdom to a bunch of us whippersnappers back in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Tall, high-spirited and as energetic as any kid, Walt organized a series of lectures, handouts and drawing classes on a weekly basis that we were grateful and lucky to take advantage of.

When management bivouacked the animation crew over in Glendale across from Imagineering, Walt would reserve one of Imagineering's huge sculpting studios to hold gesture drawing jam sessions featuring a costumed model. Many times Walt himself would be our subject, posing in improvised cowboy gear or with his trusty tennis racket. These are exactly the kind of drawing classes I always loved: quick studies only seconds long, and geared to capturing the spirit and flow of the pose in the fewest of strokes. Walt would always impart carefully selected wisdom between poses and his lesson plans were distributed internally thru the studio over time as he continued to teach. Now for the first time, these will be available to the general public and animation enthusiast. I highly recommend checking them out!


Austin "oppo" Papageorge said...

Thaanks Will, for letting me know about such a neet guy!

Strange thathe didn't get an on-screen credit until he was 47 for "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree".

Is that his drawing on the cover? Because I swear I saw the same thing in another Don Hahn book written around 1996. Is it possible that Walt did some developemental work on The Lion King?

Will Finn said...

Austin--I don't know for sure if Walt Stanchfield drew those lions or not -- he often used artwork done by people in his sessions to illustrate points in handouts he did on a regular basis. They look like Andreas Deja's work, but I don't know for sure.
Historically, screen credit at Disney was sometimes a contentious affair. Assistants rarely got screen credit and after the strike, animators only got credit if they met a certain footage quota. Even top animators were denied credit on various projects if they fell even a few frames short.

I don't think Walt S. spent his entire career at Disney. I have a recollection of Walt telling me he actually began as an inbetweener at Van Beuren.

Maggie said...

Will is correct - the lion drawings are from Andreas Deja. Walt started his career in animation in 1937 at the Charles Mintz Studio and worked at the Walter Lantz Studio before joining Disney.

David Nethery said...

I think Walt also worked for Charles Mintz studios for a while.

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