Ink & Paint Makes History!

Late in the evening of November 27th, 1937, several hundred women artists made history! Three weeks before the film's premiere, the last of the fully painted cels of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made their way from the Ink & Paint Department into Camera. Thus marking a 'first' within hand-rendered animation. The color and artistry of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was groundbreaking, as paint and painting techniques were developed to convey texture and dimension through color. From the rich, velvet quality and weight of curtains, to satins and velvets of the Evil Queens heavy robes, and even the cel over-lay featuring the window's metallic framework. The women of the Studios Paint Labs c

Remembering the great Charles Schulz!

Born 11/26/1922, legendary cartoonist and humorist, Charles Schulz was responsible for one of my earliest introductions to illustration, animation and jazz. The Peanuts characters were a staple with the Sunday comics, but A Charlie Brown Christmas was probably the earliest animation that held an impact on me as a child. Bill Melendez directed many of the early Charlie Brown/Peanuts animated specials, and the eloquent score of Vince Guaraldi set the tone for the plaintive, gentle humor and pathos of this legendary world. Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patti, Franklin, Sherman, Pig Pen, Schroeder, The Red-Headed Girl...it was a diverse troupe of personalities. Schulz, a fellow

LEADING LADIES of ANIMATION 2017

A stellar panel from the 2017 CTN-Expo, celebrating these LEADING LADIES of ANIMATION – JANE BAER, LORNA COOK & KATHY ZIELINSKI! Thanks also to animation legend, TINA PRICE of CTN Expo for sponsoring this terrific line-up. A sold-out signing along with eager Expo attendees elated to meet these remarkable women...sharing this lovely comment from attendee, Sara T... "We are absolutely on Cloud 9 still about that amazing panel. Thank you again for writing this book...and for your dedication to lighting the fire for the new generation. Women are here, and we have always been here! So simple to say...but never before have I known the facts to back it up. The light you are shining on these hidden

Celebrating MINNIE!

November 18th, 1928 — marks a significant debut! Where we celebrate the birth of Mickey on this date, we must also note the beginning of Minnie Mouse! She, along with her male-mouse co-star, are the most recognized mice in the world! The initial origins of Minnie and Mickey go back a bit earlier, to the spring of 1928. Having learned of the loss of his character, "Oswald," to Charles Mintz, Walt Disney began to create an entirely new animated series centered around the exploits of a new character. Thus began Mickey—and Minnie—Mouse. Production on the first short was completed in secret during the spring of 1928. "Everyone helped," recalled Lillian. "Roy was jack-of-all-trades and Edna and I

Fantasia's Female Forces

11/13/1940 – Walt Disney's Musical Masterpiece Fantasia, released in theaters nationwide. This visual and audio tour-de-force was unlike anything experienced before, largely thanks to the feminine forces at work within virtually every aspect of production at The Walt Disney Studios. Bianca Majolie, Sylvia Holland, Ethal Kulsar and several other women of the Story Department vividly conceptualized most of the story sequences, while Shirley Soderstrom and several other lady artists provided three-dimensional sculptures of the various characters. As animator Richard Huemer recalled,"These better artists would give us an idea of what it might look like in color and treatment...you could actually

LEADING LADIES OF ANIMATION Panel Event coming to CTN Expo this Friday, 11/17/17

Join me FRIDAY, 11/17 at the CTN Expo where I'll be hosting the inaugural panel event: LEADING LADIES OF ANIMATION Meet some of today's trailblazing women whose leading talents brought landmark animated stories to life. This year's panel features: Kathy Zielinski – Lead Animator Frozen / Kung Fu Panda / How To Train Your Dragon / The Croods / The Hunchback of Notre Dame Aladdin / The Rescuers Down Under / The Little Mermaid / The Great Mouse Detective Lorna Cook – Director / Animator / Story Artist Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron / Beauty and the Beast / The Lion King / Mulan / The Prince of Egypt Madagascar / The Croods / An American Tail / The Land Before Time / All Dogs Go To Heaven

"Toot..."-ing about Mary Schuster!

November 10th, 1953 marked the release of the first animated work completed in Cinemascope — Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. This Academy Award-winning short was created by the Ward Kimball unit which featured the artistry of an unsung animator on his team — Mary Schuster. Starting at Disney Studios in 1944, Mary was an Inbetweener and Assistant Animator who worked on such classic Kimball characters as Pecos Bill, Lucifer the Cat from Cinderella (1950), Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland (1951), and the Indian Chief from Peter Pan (1953). Mary also animated on the first animated 3D film, Melody (1953) capping a remarkable tenure within Disney animation! (Photo, from left to right: Ward Kim

Celebrating Brains...

Known to most as a Hollywood starlet in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, Hedy Lamarr, (born Nov 9th, 1914) starred alongside tinsel town's top luminaries such as Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable. Rising to the height of fame from her talents and beauty, few realize that it's Hedy's brain that has actually made a bigger impact on the world! Self educated and extremely intelligent, Hedy often tinkered and invented in her spare time. She developed improvements to the modern stoplight, early forms of carbonated beverages, and even was supported by Howard Hughes to tinker and work in his labs. Hughes asked her to submit ideas on how to make aircraft fly faster. After studying

Animated Women of Depth & Color

80 years ago (11/5/37), a short film debuted which forever changed the world of animation – Walt Disney's latest Silly Symphony entitled, The Old Mill. This eloquent tone poem featured two unique developments for animation... Many are familiar with the debut of Disney's Multiplane Camera which provided a more realistic illusion of depth within Disney's animation photography, yet adding a dimension of depth to animated films had been developed and implemented for some time. Legendary animator Lotte Reiniger's 1926 color-tinted feature-length animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed, debuted her overlaying of animated elements on multiple levels. Other studios later experimented with a mu

Remembering Animator Retta Davidson!

Retta Davidson was born November 1st, 1921 in Arcadia, CA. Just after graduating from high school, Retta joined Disney Studios as a Painter in 1939 and worked on Pinocchio, Bambi & Fantasia. One of the first 10 women to transition into Animation prior to WWII, Retta served her country with the Navy, working for four years in Washington DC. Later returning to animation, Retta become a strong presence animating on many of the postwar films. Always in demand as an Assistant Animator, Retta thrived at Disney studios. "She was an upbeat and very funny lady," recalled Disney Legend Floyd Norman of his longtime pal. "Retta always had a joke or funny story to tell, and could keep us kids entertained

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