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Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 2: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures Paperback – March 23, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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'

About the Author

Don Hahn's name is synonymous with some of the most critically acclaimed animated motion pictures of this generation, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast (the first animated film ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture--before the Best Animated Film category was established). He was also the associate producer for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the groundbreaking 1988 film that pioneered new techniques for combining animation and live-action. His other film credits include Fantasia/2000 and Atlantis. He is currently at work on his next Disney animated film and writing several other books including The Art of Disney Animation: The Storytellers.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures
  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (March 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240811079
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 0:18 Mins
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.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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Format: Paperback
I had the privilege of studying with Mr. Stanchfield at the Walt Disney Animation Studio. His classes were electrifying and incredibly helpful to animators. Stanchfield's lectures have been collected in two wonderful books (so far I have just the one, but I'm sure the other will be equally outstanding.) If you are interested in learning about the portrayal of humans and animals in motion, even if you are not an animator-- this is the best book you could get on the subject. There is simply nothing else like this book out there. It is beautifully written, very funny, and very informative. Run, don't walk, and get both books today. I can't wait to get the other half of the set.
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I acquired Drawn to Life thinking it would be nice background material on typical Disney animation characters - sort of an insider's look at their production and development. Perhaps even a way to acquire some unusual character drawings. Wrong entirely!

What this book is, is a very specialized art instruction book aimed at animation artists and Disney animation artists specifically. Still, it does teach focus on, and simplification of gesture in a way that can be effectively used in any medium. Had I to reduce Drawn to Life to its barest topic, it would be just that - capturing and communicating gesture. Animation requires special techniques adapted to 2D line drawing. Those are the heart of the book, along with Walt Stanchfield's philosophy, optimism, and personification of Disney post-WWII history.

The book is a collection of Walt Stanchfield's weekly lectures to the Disney animators, consisting of drawing handouts and notes. The lecture topics were, and are, essentially random (his own term) as this wasn't intended as a course of study, but as professional development and continuing ed for an existing, highly-accomplished staff of artists. There are 149 lectures in the first volume alone, under such titles as "Using Cylinders", "Think First ...", "Get Out Of Your Way", "Action Analysis", "Silhouette", and so on.

Having dabbled in art classes and books over the years, I often find such material highly-technical ... and deadly dull. Drawn to Life is neither. Though the volume is large (nearly 400 pages), each lecture chapter is short and to the point. Stanchfield's teaching style is literate and personable, often humorous and riddled with stories.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Almost all of the content in volume 2 can be found in volume 1. The handouts contained herein are really more about inspirational speaking than they are about practical or theoretical information... for example chapter 48 is all inspirational quotations "Love the inner you and keep moving ahead because you can't stand still and improve at the same time." Most of the drawing examples in here are student drawings, whereas volume 1 has more pro examples. The student drawings aren't really worth studying, because they lack the kind of orchestration found in pro drawings. A drawing is essentially made up of marks and graphics, and student drawings don't have the profundity and cohesion found in top quality work. This is all to say that good drawings teach you how to draw good. Romanelli's "Draw the Looney Tunes" is a superior book by far, fewer words, bigger pictures... you'll still have to deduce for yourself what is really making the pictures work though.
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I went to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. The teacher that recommended this book learned directly and worked with Walt Stanchfiled. She even took over the Quick Studies class he taught at Disney. All that said she recommended this book and would always site it for reference and teaching. All the "rules" and help in here are proven methods for animation that are still in use today at Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, etc. Such as "Squash and Stretch", "Opposing Shapes", etc. I am a storyboard artist myself and have leaned so much from the 2 volumes and I haven't even ready all the way through them.

So in short if you are getting to animation, storyboards, Graphic Novels, or just want to draw better save your money and get volume 1 and 2.

Finally these books are not "How to draw a horse" or "how to draw (insert whatever)" they are about rules and pronciples for making dynamic and energetic characters, drawings, and scenes.

***Update 12/29/2014***
Still have these books in my library and constantly refer to them. I am getting into storyboards professionally and these books are always helpful. Again they are INDUSTRY STANDARD PRINICPLES that all animation and art studios use and that are taught in major schools such as Academy of Art University, Cal Arts (in so cal). If you are trying to make your drawing better and more appealing get these books, read them, and put the principles into practice. Volumes 1 and 2 cost about 80-90 dollars and a class at AAU in SF costs about $2500, and they will teach you these principles. Save money and get ahead of the curve. These "rules" are so important that they are mentioned in all animation classes and are the foundation for any good illustration.
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