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Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures - Volume 1 Paperback – 23 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (23 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240810961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240810966
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 21.6 x 27.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

For nearly thirty years, the artists that passed through the gates of Disney Animation, and even non-artists like myself, were influenced by the craft, skill, wisdom, writings and sketches of Walt Stanchfield.

Roy Disney

Walt was a kind of Mark Twain for us at Disney. He always taught with humor and skill. You learned to see the world through his eyes. I remember him one day encouraging us to leap into our drawings with boldness and confidence, "Don't be afraid to make a mistake. We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us so the sooner you get them out the better!" Sitting in Walt's class was as much a psychology course as it was a drawing class. One couldn't help walk away with your mind and soul a little more open than when you entered.

Glen Keane, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Walt Stanchfield's classes and writings were little distillations of the man: quirky, strongly stated in a genial voice, and brimming with a lifetime of sharp observations about story telling and graphic communication. Whether he drew with a ball point pen or painted with a brush dipped in his coffee cup, he got to the essence of things and was eager to share what he learned to his eager disciples, myself among them. He was grizzled and he was great and proof that there was more than one Walt at the Disney Studio that could inspire a legion of artists.  

John Musker, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Walt Stanchfield was one of Disney Animation's national treasures. His classes and notes have inspired countless animation artists, and his approach to drawing of caricature over reality, feeling over rote accuracy, and communication over photographic reproduction gets to the heart of what great animation is all about. Huzzah to Don Hahn for putting it all together for us!

Eric Goldberg, Walt Disney Animation Studios

During the Animation Renaissance of the 1990s, one of the Walt Disney Studio's best kept secrets was Walt Stanchfield. Once a week after work, this aged but agile figure jumped from drawing board to drawing board, patiently teaching us the principles behind the high baroque style of Walt Disney Animation drawing. Being in a room with Walt made you feel what it must have been like to have been taught by Don Graham. Having one of your life drawings be good enough to be reproduced in one of his little homemade weekly bulletins was akin to getting a Distinguished Service medal! Senior animators vied with trainees for that distinction.

Tom Sito, Animator/Filmmaker/Author of Drawing The Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson

This exciting collection of master classes by the great teacher Walt Stanchfield is destined to become a classic on the order of Kimon Nicolaides' exploration of the drawing process. Stanchfield (1919-2000) inspired several generations of Disney animators and those of us outside the studio fortunate enough to happen upon dog-eared copies of his conversational notes, which we passed around like Leonardo's Codex Leicester. Stanchfield beautifully communicates the essence and joy of expressing ideas through the graphic line and accumulating a visual vocabulary. DRAWN TO LIFE is a treasure trove of cogent, valuable information for students, teachers and anyone who loves to draw.

John Canemaker, NYU professor and Academy Award-winning animation filmmaker

Walt Stanchfield, in his own unique way, taught so many of us about drawing, caricature, motion, acting and animation. Most important to me, was how Walt made you apply what you had observed in his life drawing class to your animation. Disney Animation is based on real life, and in that regard Walt Stanchfield's philosophy echoed Walt Disney's:

'We cannot caricature and animate anything convincingly until we study the real thing first.'

Andreas Deja, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Walt Stanchfield's renewed emphasis on draftsmanship at the Disney Studios transformed the seemingly moribund art of animation. His students were part of a renaissance with The Little Mermaid and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a renaissance that continues with films ranging from The Iron Giant to Lilo and Stitch to Wall-E.

Charles Solomon, Animation Historian

I'm so grateful to Focal Press for publishing these fabulous Walt Stanchfield books. They are veritable 'gold dust' for the serious (and aspiring) animator! So 'hurrah' to Focal and 'hurrah' to Don Hahn to committing himself to compiling them. I ordered my copies the minute I saw them and will of course hope my students are smart enough to do so too! 

Tony White, DigiPen, Author of 'Animation: From Pencil to Pixels' and 'How to Make Animated Films'


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Drawn to Life is a collection of lectures from long-time Disney animator Walt Stanchfield. He has worked for Disney since the 1950s.

There are two volumes, each with over 400 pages. The reason for two volumes is probably to make the books easier to handle. Both are on gesture and life drawing, even though the cover art might suggest otherwise, especially the one with the lion. You can start reading from any book and any lecture. The order isn't important.

There are plenty of essays in the books. Each is a lesson relating to drawing and animation. It can be tangent drawings, creating believable characters, learning to observe, understanding gestures, etc. There are tips on almost anything relating to drawing. Loose and sketchy sketches serves as examples to the lessons.

These books are more thinking than drawing technique books. For example, the lessons are not about how to draw perspective, the lessons are about how to use perspective. You can view sample pages for volume one and volume two on amazon.com to get an idea.

The books represent a tremendous wealth of information and insight into drawing, animation and observation. After all, Walt Stanchfield has more than 50 years of experience in animation.

This book is recommended to those who are into animation and drawing.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy D on 5 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I bought this book based on the reviews and wow, I was not disappointed.

It is a treasure trove of hints, tips and study for animators... but it touches on so many other things as well. The best compliment I can pay it is that after reading 15 of the chapters (and this is a hefty book, great value for money) I went back to my sketchbook and saw an immediate improvement in my work (I am a graphic designer/illustrator).

Some of the tips are basic but will almost certainly improve the way you look at, appreciate and understand animation, movement, character design and the creative process that lies within all of them. It is written in a delightful manner and features plenty of fine examples from some of the greatest animators in Disney's rich history.

As another reviewer commented, it is not a 'how to draw' book. But it has already opened my eyes to a variety of techniques I wasn't aware of that have made a big difference to the way I work and I am not even half way through. It was good enough for me to go straight back on Amazon and order the second volume without a seconds hesitation.

If you are interested at all in drawing or animation, and particularly if you find your drawing style to be a little flat and lacking the wonderful energy that Disney characters invariably have, then this book is a must buy. For £13, you are bound to pick up tips that will last you a lifetime and an entertaining read to boot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Burrows on 24 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful book by a wonderful man, more passionate about animation than I've ever known anyone to be for a long time. His love for the art really rubs off on you and makes you want to get out there and draw, no matter how bad the final result is - remember, you've got to draw the bad ones before they will give way to the good!

However, don't be fooled. This is not a "how to" drawing book. Stanchfield doesn't tell you when and where to put down a certain line. This book teaches you how to approach drawing mentally, rather than physically.

For anyone who wants to add some life to there characters and really make them sing, I'd highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tulio Massini on 12 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
There's nothing like having a real pro from in the bussiness share his priceless experience and advice with you. Walt Stanchfield does exactly that in this wonderful scripture of lessons held by him in the Disney studios. A great help for anyone real interested in learning the secrets of good drawing and animation.
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Just got this book a few weeks ago and i absolutely love it! I’ve looked at lots of art books/animation books before and i have to admit that i usually lose interest half way through and never finish them, i have never felt like I’ve learnt anything from them and all the information just seems to usually go over my head,but for some reason this book is different.

There is something about the way Walt's lectures are written that keeps you interested and makes the information sink in, i have never learnt as much from a book as I have from this book. Often books like this contain plenty of well drawn pictures, but very little information on the creative process behind the actual sketch, its the opposite here! There is lots of information and you truly feel like he's addressing you directly and the sketches are very tastefully used to illustrate his point. Most of the drawings are very loose sketches but i feel that they stick more so don’t dismiss them. After looking carefully at his examples and subconsciously taking his techniques on board i feel like i have gained an awful lot from studying such master’s suggestions and now everytime i draw i can hear his little tips repeating themselves in my head. I was wrong this isnt a how to guide, it isnt a book, but it is a record of Walt Stanchfields ideas, lessons and learnings.

Unfortunately if you are looking for a cheesy self help/ leran how to draw this isnt the book for you, its an insight into the teachings of an incredible animator who taught all the disney legends, Great book!
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