We’ve said it here before at Starburst Towers, but if there is one thing Disney knows how to do, it’s put together an Art Of book; in recent years putting out a lovely series of books to tie into the films they have coming out. But with such a rich history in animation – and with a few notable exceptions – they’ve not really put out many books before with a focus on their early/golden age.
Fortunately, with Didier Ghez’s “They Drew As They Pleased” series it is something they are rectifying, with each volume bringing together rediscovered images and designs that inspired some of Disney’s shorts and feature films (and some for projects that were never made). This volume – the third in the series – profiles 6 artists from the Story Research and Character Model Departments from the period, taking a look at their work, at the role their designs played in the projects and excerpts of correspondence from the artists, which offer more insight into their inspirations and work.
Where the book really shines though is in the art, which varies hugely from artist and project, but all have that Disney feel of the time. The freedom that the artists were given in their designs really shines through in the pictures that are included in the book, both in the work for projects that came to be (such as Peter Pan and Dumbo) and the projects that didn’t. There is a real feeling for what could have been in the designs for these abandoned projects, with some echoing future projects from both Disney and other animations (Roland the XIIIth bears a striking similarity to 2005’s animation Valiant, both in design and concept).
The text is fascinating, offering a wonderful insight into the work and the period and work well with the images. Any art of book (for most people anyway) stand or fall on the images included, and here the book is a triumph; digging deep into the rich history of a studio like Disney and managing to present us with both work that we haven’t seen before and beautiful and interesting art as well.
THEY DREW AS THEY PLEASED: THE HIDDEN ART OF DISNEY’S LATE GOLDEN AGE (THE 1940’S – PART TWO) / AUTHOR: DIDIER GHEZ, ANDREAS DEJA (FOREWORD) / PUBLISHER: CHRONICLE BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: 10TH OCTOBER