Sunday, October 30, 2011

By Walter Disney

For anyone wanting to accomplish something in life and who only sees the difficulty ahead should really look at the life of one Walter E. Disney who in 1917 and 1918 found himself listed last in the art staff credits of the McKinley High School magazine "The Voice."

In these pages we see the very genesis of the artist and genius who would change the shape of entertainment forever, but at that time Walt Disney's dream was simple, he wanted to draw and become a cartoonist like some of his heros, Carey Orr and George McManus, possibly even George Herriman.


World War I rages on in Europe and his brother Roy is in the navy, patriotic themes occupy much of his work at the time, like this piece which depicts two loafers talking with a soldier, in the background police can be seen waiting to nab them. The drawing seems to attempt to emulate McManus right down to the shapes of the characters. Of course Walt is only 16 at this point and hasn't found his own style and voice, you can see him searching though.

This drawing of McKinley High seniors heading to a "Hard Time" prom dressed as hoboes get in trouble with a cop who thinks they are real hoboes, shows very subtle differences to the above drawing like the eyes being inked in and a simpler composition. There is certainly a love of drawing in these early Disney pieces, you can see a kid who has taken his first steps forward in a field of his interest and is totally immersed in it.

Not too long after this last drawing, Walt must have left school and enlisted with the Red Cross. Within two years of these drawings he would discover animation and literally ten years in the future a mouse would be born.