The Dream of the Animator

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.

The rest of the day was a slow coast back to reality, but I had a wonderful time, sharing with my family.

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!

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Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm  Comments (22)  

22 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post Jose. That place is truly fun.

    • Thanks Jon! It was a really a trip! That attraction was they kind I would repeat, over and over. And no motion sickness involved… just giddy child behavior on my part. I want a real ACME desk now!

  2. Hey Jose. That sounds like so much fun! I hope I get to try this out sometime. DisneyWorld is a truly inspiring place. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Denver! It sure was a special “ride” for artists. I don’t think this would exist anywhere else.

  3. Jose I totally empathize with you. I feel that magic and it lights the innermost part of me with an incredible fire. It’s the thing we are meant to do. CREATE! Thanks for sharing, I got goosebumps.

    • Thanks so much, David! It was something I had to share. You know how one already gets this feeling of being a kid again in a place like that… I think that had to do a lot with it. But mix it with an art perspective, and it was THE place to be if you want to be an artist, and want to just have fun with it. Goosebumps, I did get, not only there… but also, if you can believe this, at the “It’s a Small World” attraction! I know its silly, and I’ve seen it before, but when I realized that this art from the 60-70s was still as vibrant and alive as it was back then (it did get “re-done” recently, I hear)… it was like time-travelling, but with a foot in the present. Images of history flying around, and beautiful art all around. And … of course, that little song that drills it into your head… luckily, my wife and my sister were there to enjoy and comment through the ride, and I shared my reaction, just like I write this here. Thanks from visiting, commenting, and bringing back that memory. Glad you got the message!

  4. Wow. So glad you got to do this. You are an inspiration, Jose!

    • Honored you dropped by, my friend. Thanks for the comment. I knew you’d like it. Your “goal” (to inspire) is evident as well. I have to fill in the blogroll here, starting with your links, and podcast info, which are main sources of inspiration.

  5. Te quedo fenomeno, todos estabamos igual que tu, me parecio estar con tu papa, igualito a el. Con el mismo entusiasmo.

    Besito, mami

    • Gracias! Tu sabes que lo que estoy haciendo con el arte me comunica con papi en un nivel especial. Esto corre por las venas.
      Por cierto, lo de “besito” en este foro me hace sentir como el nino que su mama lo lleva a la escuela y lo abochorna arreglandole el pelo, su ropa, y llamandole nombres carinosos, mientras la el grupito de los “cool” se burlan de el. Inevitable. Pero claro que me gusta.
      besote!
      (Folks… please excuse this exchange, but one can’t disapprove, nor edit one’s mother’s comment on one’s own blog, no matter how old one is, especially so close to Mother’s Day! – I thought I’d never feel like that kid that gets fussed over by his mom in front of the cool kids in school again.) Love you, mom!

  6. Sorry, sir, you and your sisters will always be my kids.

    Congratulation, son.

  7. Se me saltaron las lagrimas… no lo pude evitar! Me siento super contenta con los comentarios de tus amigos, pero sobre todo de Marypain y tu reaccion al mismo. En todos nosotros vive un nino escondido y es por eso que podemos disfrutar Disney como lo hacemos. Te felicito y te bendigo! Les quiero mucho a todos. love ya kid, CIRO

    • Gracias Ciro…. la verdad que fue un momento unico, que me pude gozar a totalidad. Gracias por tu comentario, y gracias mil por visitar. Habra mas actividad aqui, a medida que pueda producir, o me pasen cosas como este episodio en Disney.

  8. Oh man, this got me. En el Corazon. Bro’, I was there. You are right, there’s nothing like that place. Call it magic pixie dust or childhood sentimentality.
    It changed me profoundly and was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Let me say with all honesty you would fit right in. Never let go of that kid inside of you. He is the one that drives you to keep drawing.

    I’m getting all choked up…..I wanna draw now.

    Great post.

    • Great post.

      WOw… I take that as one of the best compliments anyone’s given me, Raul. Thanks! The kid is always there, and now he’s drawing a lot more. Everyone’s got it. Like Jerzy mentioned, there are those “couch jumping” moments, when that’s all you can do because you’re so excited about something. This was one of those moments. Let the kids play!
      Thanks for visiting… I’m glad the message and the feeling got through!

  9. Finally got a chance to sit down & read this! OOooo what a feeling! Love this post Jose! Makes me wana go SO BAD! maybe soon. I could spend an entire day at the one out here in California Adventure. On second thought, I could move in and camp out for the rest of my life and be happy!
    So glad you had this experience! Oh, and so glad you shred it with us!

    • I knew you’d like this one. I could do it again anytime. It was the kind of activity that really goes with the spirit of Disney (the old, original spirit of Disney, that is).
      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. That’s great you had such a wonderful time! Disney really is a special place and there is nothing wrong with feeling like a kid again. We should all hope to achieve that, the world would be a lot more fun and happy!

    2 years ago I went to DisneyWorld for a work conference and got to spend one day in the park all by myself and it was so amazing! I truly did feel like a kid and reveled in it!

    Here’s to more fun, more art, and more child-like adventures!!!

    • THanks Chris! This was one of the highlights of the year… come to think of it. These days, I get that kid’s feeling sharing with my daughter creating art… like last Saturday… we turned a hopscotch game into an art session. Drawing really big! We really enjoyed it. and took some photos… sidewalk-art-4
      Thanks for visiting!

  11. Wow! That’s great!! I’ll have to try that with my daughter. You’re right, playing with the kids does bring out my inner child…I don’t know what Ill do when she starts middle school and high school, guess I’ll be playing dolls and watching cartoons by myself..:)

  12. This is awesome- was this in Disney land- california- or was it in Florida?- im going to have to take a trip there.

    • This was in Orlando. I knew you’d like this post. Just to show you, you’re not alone in your dream.
      Thanks so much for dropping by. Always a pleasure. And best of luck. I know you’ll make it!


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