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They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age (The 1930s) is the first book in the "They Drew as They Pleased" series by Didier Ghez. Released on September 8, 2015, it featues a foreword by Pete Docter, an award-winning director and animator at Pixar. It was followed by They Drew As they Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Musical Years (The 1940s - Part One) in August 2016.

The title draws inspiration from the 1948 book titled He Drew as He Pleased: A Sketchbook, which featured the drawings by Albert Hurter.

Content Edit

The book discusses the work of four people at the Walt Disney Studio in the 1930s, employed in one of the few jobs during the Great Depression that provided steady income, as some of the very first "concept artists" in the young animation industry: Albert Hurter, Ferdinand Horvath, Gustaf Tenggren and Bianca Majolie. Material in the book came from Disney's Animation Research Library, the Walt Disney Archives, private collections, and from letters, journals, anecdotes from people that knew them.

The artwork produced by these four was very influential, serving as inspiration and guidance for movies produced decades later like The Little Mermaid (1989) and Up (2009).

Both the Foreword by Docter and the "Inspired!" chapter reveal that while their job may have been to create artwork that may not have been used in any project, the pressures that accompanied them as they helped guide and inspire the other artists showed that many did not stay with the company very long.

There are discussions of Walt Disney's attempt to build inspiration by bringing in a lecturer that effectively told the artists what they already knew, the "gag file" where animated scenes could be designed from a pre-existing description, the studio's library with hundreds of books that could be used for inspiration and the librarians that would daily receive unusual requests such as "Get me a close-up of a knothole!"

Albert Hurter Edit

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Ferdinand Horvath Edit

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Gustaf Tenggren Edit

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Bianca Majolie Edit

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Back cover description Edit

The 1930s saw the dawn of Disney's Golden Age and brought incredible artistry and stroytelling to the nascent world of animation. Exploring the work of some of Disney's first concept artists, much of it newly rediscovered, this volume delves into the lives and art of four key players that shaped the look and feel of beloved early Disney shorts and feature films.

Publisher's description Edit

As the Walt Disney Studio entered its first decade and embarked on some of the most ambitious animated films of the time, Disney hired a group of "concept artists" whose sole mission was to explore ideas and inspire their fellow animators. They Drew as They Pleased showcases four of these early pioneers and features artwork developed by them for the Disney shorts from the 1930s, including many unproduced projects, as well as for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and some early work for later features such as Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Introducing new biographical material about the artists and including largely unpublished artwork from the depths of the Walt Disney Archives and the Disney Animation Research Library, this volume offers a window into the most inspiring work created by the best Disney artists during the studio's early golden age.
They Drew as They Pleased is the first in what promises to be a revealing and fascinating series of books about Disney's largely unexamined concept artists, with six volumes spanning the decades between the 1930s and 1990s.

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