This select array of animation art features classic characters from early animated films by some of the most gifted creators in the field of cartoon art. A brilliant, color presentation drawing of the seven dwarfs in their characteristic poses represents Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, one of Art Wood's favorite films. Other characters—drawn with zip! and a zing! that were meant to induce a whoosh! of action—included are Fleischer Studios' Betty Boop, Popeye in a struggle with a jellyfish, and Hanna-Barbera's Tom and Jerry, the famous cat and mouse duo. Also featured in this section are film clips showing how several of these drawings were used in final production.
Cover Art for Cartoon America
Richard A. Williams
The Library of Congress commissioned this original painting by artist Richard A. Williams (b. 1950) to grace the cover of Cartoon America: Comic Art in the Library of Congress, a comprehensive publication that celebrates 250 years of American cartooning. This 324-page hardcover volume features 275 full-color illustrations of cartoon art treasures from the Library's collections and inspiring essays by Art Wood and a host of other leading writers and artists. In his whimsical rendition of Mount Rushmore, Williams immortalizes cartoon characters Charlie Brown, Ignatz Mouse, Zippy the Pinhead, and Popeye.
Richard A. Williams. Cover art for Cartoon America: Comic Art in the Library of Congress. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., in association with the Library of Congress, 2006. Acrylic on canvas Commissioned by the Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-13217 (103). © 2006 Richard A. Williams. Used with permission
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Jerry of “Tom and Jerry” Cartoons
This model, sheet for the impish, animated mouse Jerry showed artists working for Hanna-Barbera Studio how to be consistent, right down to the “rompers” in the legs. William Hanna (1910–2001) and Joseph Barbera (b. 1911) were early animators who met at the MGM Studios. They won their first Oscar in 1940 for the mouse-and- cat pair in Puss Gets the Boot. They concentrated their efforts on the award-winning duo, relying on sight gags, rather than dialogue, to amuse audiences. In 1957, Hanna and Barbera formed their own studio and produced such popular television shows as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
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The Seven Dwarfs
Each of the seven dwarfs: Bashful, Sleepy, Doc, Happy, Dopey, Grumpy, and Sneezy, is differentiated from the other in form, facial expression, and pose in this captivating presentation drawing attributed to Swedish-born children's book illustrator Gustaf Tenggren (1896–1970). Minor characters in the Grimm brothers' version of Snow White, they took on new life in the popular classic movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs created by Walt Disney (1901–1966). Tenggren worked on the later stages of Snow White, mainly providing inspirational sketches and publicity materials.
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Snow White Holding a Bird
Walt Disney Productions
This entrancing animation cel portrays Snow White, who has captured the hearts of generations of Americans, reaching for a songbird. Snow White was the first American feature-length animated film and the first Technicolor feature. Although produced at the extraordinary cost of $1.5 million during the depths of the Depression, Snow White earned $8 million in its first release, a phenomenal sum in 1937. More than 750 Disney artists worked on the film during the years of production, 1934 -1937. The beauty of the art and the enchanting story have made Snow White a perennial favorite.
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Gertie the Dinosaur
Pioneering animator Winsor McCay (1869–1934) used this line drawing for the scene in which Gertie encounters a woolly mammoth in the first commercially successful animated film, Gertie the Dinosaur. McCay first presented his animated dinosaur as part of a vaudeville act in which he stood on a stage and introduced Gertie, who then “walked out” on a movie screen. He asked her to perform tricks and she complied. Audiences, unaccustomed to film, often thought Gertie was real.
Winsor McCay. Gertie the dinosaur standing on a cliff edge looking at a mastodon, tracing, ca. 1980, from 1914 drawing. Ink on rice paper. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsc-02839, LC-USZC4-9477 (84)
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Tom of “Tom and Jerry” Cartoons
This model sheet for the animated character Tom showed artists working for Hanna-Barbera Studio how to draw the cat consistently, from the tips of his ears to the end of his toes. Early animators Joseph Barbera (b. 1911) and William Hanna (1910–2001) formed the partnership that produced the Tom and Jerry animated cartoons at MGM Studios from around 1940 until 1957. The award-winning series featured the gray cat Tom perpetually pursuing his mischievous co-star Jerry, a brown mouse. More than 150 shorts chronicled the pair chasing and teasing one another, ending up only occasionally as friends.
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Dumbo in a Tub Spouting Water
Walt Disney Productions
The bathing baby elephant Dumbo happily spouts water through his trunk in this drawing that captures his joyful spirit. Disney's animated feature film Dumbo the Elephant, released in 1941, tells the story of the little elephant born with oversized ears, the other elephants' rejection of him, and his triumph as the flying circus star. Bill Tytla (1904–1968), the main animator for the film, reportedly drew inspiration from his infant son in developing his concept of Dumbo. Based on a little-known story by Helen Aberson, Dumbo, the shortest of Disney's features, won popular and critical acclaim as a classic.
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Popeye Fighting His Way Out of a Jellyfish
Popeye, who was always strong to the finish, raises his fist to pummel his way out of a jellyfish in this preparatory drawing for Females is Fickle. Introduced as a comic strip character in 1929, Popeye became the subject of 105 black-and-white short films and 3 full-length Technicolor features produced by Fleischer Studios between 1933 and 1942. Max Fleischer (1883–1972) and his brother Dave Fleischer (1894–1979) produced and directed animated films about enduring characters, including Popeye, Superman, and Betty Boop.
Fleischer Studios. Popeye fighting his way out of a jellyfish, 1940. Preparatory drawing for Females is Fickle, directed by Dave Fleischer, animated by David Tendlar and William Sturm, and released by Fleischer Studios on March 8, 1940. Graphite and colored pencil. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-12917 (97)
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Story Board Drawing of Stag for “Bambi”
This sensuous, pastel drawing by Tyrus Wong (b. 1910) evokes the forest scene when Bambi's father, the Great Prince, appears after the death of Bambi's mother. Based on Felix Salten's book of the same name, Bambi, a timeless classic, has remained a must-see film for generations of American children. Wong emigrated from his native China as a child and began his career as a concept artist and production illustrator for Walt Disney and Warner Brothers studios after he graduated from the Otis Art Institute. Famous for his work on Bambi, Wong also created images for such Warner Brothers non-animated classics as Rebel Without a Cause.
Tyrus Wong. Impressionistic story board drawing with stag on top of rocky tor with sparse trees, ca. 1942. Preparatory drawing for Bambi, directed by David Hand and released by Walt Disney Studio in August 1942. Pastel. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USZC4-13071 (94). © Disney Enterprises, Inc.
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Betty Boop Animation Model Sheet
This Betty Boop model sheet provided detailed instructions to Fleischer Studios artists to “feature her feature.” Betty Boop wiggled her way into the world in 1930 and has remained a cultural icon ever since. Originally a poodle, Betty took on human form in 1932. When she danced to Cab Calloway's Minnie the Moocher, she became a sex symbol. Betty became more modest when the Motion Picture Association of America began enforcing its Production Code in 1934. Her dress fell to her knees and her neckline went up. Fleischer Studios ended production of Betty Boop animated short films in 1939.
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Reproduction of Animation Cel showing Mickey Mouse in Fantasia
Walt Disney Productions
Mickey Mouse is seen here in the “The Sorcerer's Apprentice,” a folktale popularized by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and set to music by the French composer Paul Dukas. Begun as a Silly Symphony and expanded into short suites within a larger film, Fantasia is set to music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Walt Disney developed “Fantasound” to maximize audience potential for hearing the music well. Walt Disney (1901–1966) worked at several animation studios in the Midwest before moving to Hollywood in 1923. His innovative ideas and desire to work with the best artists led to the development of his entertainment empire.
Walt Disney Productions. Animation cel showing Mickey Mouse dressed in a red robe from “The Sorcerer's Apprentice” sequence of the animated film Fantasia, ca. 1940. Copyprint of tempera on nitrate celluloid taped to watercolor on paper. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USZC4-13060, LC-DIG-ppmsca-12837 (95). © Disney Enterprises, Inc.
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