I was a Disney animator. Not really! But I’m sharing this little fantasy trip brought on during my recent vacation at Disney World. It’s long, so I don’t mind if you just look at the “eye candy”. The images can tell the story. Here’s the set on flickr, along with descriptions.
During this vacation, in spite of the surrounding consumerism, I really enjoyed soaking up all things Disney through my newly acquired artistic-sight. The vacation was full of all the expected and awesome family moments, as well as moments when art simply shot through me, making me want to see more. My attention pulled in multiple directions at once.
On the last day of park visits, I was already satisfied with all the sights, and then we visited the animation exhibit. A good friend suggested this. I am truly thankful to Shawn Robare, of the Branded in the 80‘s blog, and his various great podcasts. He is a great amusement park aficionado on his own right, and a big Disney fan.
It started with a great sit-down presentation illustrating the general concept to production process for Disney animation masterpieces. Mushu the dragon (Mulan) kept it lively. Afterwards, there was a short gallery walk where one could see roughs, sketches, pencil tests, cells, and framed animation pieces from a number of Disney productions. I thoroughly enjoyed the sights. We even peeked at live animators at work. Walking further, there where Disney characters posing with the guests. We chose Mickey Mouse as the wizards apprentice.
Then I noticed the softly hyped Animation Academy entrance. I barely managed to contain my excitement, and convinced the rest of the crew to follow. Among the art in the waiting area, there were two signs. One listed requirements to be an animator, and the other what should be in your portfolio. You can see them in the flickr set the words you see here. Fate sending us a message? My older nice made me take pictures. That girl shows passion for the craft.
The doors opened, and we walked into this classroom-theater setting, where the rows of seats were animation desks, with ACME style light-boxed surfaces. Of course, they were mock-ups, but they served well. I felt like a kid who was given his most cherished toy in the world.
The “instructor” announced, with his light comedic remarks, that we would be drawing Dale (of Chip and Dale fame). It wouldn’t have mattered if it was Cinderella’s slipper, I was elated by then.
Of course, 25 minutes is not enough to animate anything significant, and I had accepted we were just making believe. A character face shot was more than enough. The instructor went through the usual construction shapes, explaining the why’s and how’s, adding Disney history facts to his directions. It was like one of those how-to books turned into an enjoyable show.
In true Disney park fashion, the “cast member” really took you into the artist’s world with his comments and jokes. The guests were mostly silent, I imagined amazed, or really into their drawings. I could sense art brotherhood in the air. Can you tell I was tripping?.
During the session, I kept feeling I was being tested for a job (tripping). I glanced at my family’s faces. Those that were drawing were going about it normally, having quiet fun in concentration. Others looked worried, trying to catch up with the action. It was quiet happiness for me. My wife, and my mother were busy taking our photos, smiling at the little kids that surfaced in all of us.
When our time was up, I went over to the instructor, like a little school boy, to show my work. I asked how I could get a job here! It just came out without thinking about it. He kindly answered: “Central casting”. That softly landed me back on earth, but with the biggest smile on my face. I didn’t care we were playing make believe, I had an artist’s fantasy, and it was one of the happiest moments of this vacation for me.
I hope you enjoyed this long post. If you got to this point, I’m willing to bet you love animation as much as I do. I hope you got a kick out of this.
Today, I count myself really lucky to have real animator friends, and I thank them so much for sharing with me, fueling one of my passions in art. They really rock!
Thanks so much for reading. Remember to open your eyes during your everyday routine. Art is everywhere, and it is usually taken for granted. It can make you happy if you let it. I am!
Have a great art time!