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Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes

For the first time, the complete series of animation lectures by Walt Stanchfield have been compiled and published in an 800-page, two-volume set entitled DRAWN TO LIFE: 20 GOLDEN YEARS OF DISNEY MASTER CLASSES (Focal Press, $29.95 each, April 2009).

Stanchfield was the Disney Studios secret weapon: a Chouinard-educated master animator with a passion for teaching, Stanchfield virtually raised a generation of animators like Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, John Musker, Ron Clements and John Lasseter. His handouts have been much sought after and informally passed around the animation industry for years.

"Whether he drew with a ball point pen or painted with a brush dipped in his coffee cup, Walt Stanchfield got to the essence of things and was eager to share what he learned to his eager disciples, myself among them," said Musker, co-director of the upcoming Disney animated film, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.

Regarded in the animation industry as a one-of-a-kind primer on gesture drawing and animation, Stanchfield's writings spare no detail on the craft of animation, but also dig deep into its artistic roots.

"Stanchfield beautifully communicates the essence and joy of expressing ideas through the graphic line and accumulating a visual vocabulary," said John Canemaker, NYU professor and Academy Award-winning animation filmmaker. These lecture notes represent the quintessential refresher for fine artists and film professionals, and they serve as a vital tutorial for students.

"Gathering and compiling the collection has been a labor of love for me, and I'm thrilled that Walt's complete work as a teacher will live on in these two volumes," said Don Hahn, Academy Award-nominated producer and editor of the collection. The text has been largely untouched, because when Hahn was amassing these lectures, he realized that "Walt's conversational style is so completely accessible to the artist, it seemed wrong to formalize or edit his voice out of the material in any way."

The artwork that accompanies the text is a vast collection of sketches from old masters to contemporary animators; all exhibited in an informal presentation very much in keeping with Stanchfield's casual style of teaching. The random nature of topics is also a signature of Stanchfield's personality and approach. "He saw life as a unified experience. Drawings inspired paintings, which inspired poetry, which inspired architecture, which inspired travel -- all connected parts of an artist's existence," added Hahn.

The two volumes are published by Focal Press and are now available for purchase at bookstores, online retailers, and at focalpress.com.

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