Sherri Vandoli, the last of the premium painters who worked on hand-painted productions at the Walt Disney Studios, has passed.
When I began working on my Ink & Paint book a number of years ago, this talented lady was the last painter within Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department. I'd known Sherri for several years, having worked with her on several press events for various title-release campaigns. I'd asked her to 'educate' 60 journalists on the advent and processes of the Disney Xerox camera and its application to Disney animation. Sherri was unflappable. In one of the last masterclasses she held, Sherri transformed a raft of jaded journalists into animation fanatics! The magic of her dry humor and patient approach to these complicated processes were key to a record-breaking campaign — one that has been repeated regularly over the years, ever since!
Telling the story of this unique department and the remarkable women who worked within Disney Animation, was a very different experience. While working to meet her various deadlines, Sherri sat and answered so many questions for me over time so I could get their complicated work properly chronicled. She patiently demonstrated techniques, sought out many of her previous colleagues and was key to bringing the story of this unsung department up to date. Her experiences, details and insights were invaluable — from the 1980s onward. With her gentle sense of humor and vast experiences, Sherri was a valued part of shaping the Ink & Paint book and you can clearly see her impact within her featured section within the book.
"It hasn't been a job; it's an incredible heritage," she declared! Knowing the impact of this rich heritage, Sherri reflected on her work painting the collectable studio cels: "My passion is creating this legendary artwork and I see the passion everyone has for these pieces. It truly means a lot to me to see the 'kid inside' come out when people receive these pieces of art." For Sherri, every day she worked in Ink & Paint was pure magic, noting: "Being a part of this incredible legacy has been a dream come true for me."
Indeed, dear Sherri — your truest dreams live on and we are grateful!
Sherri with her Ink & Paint co-workers - Premium Inker Antonio Pelayo and Lab Technician Jim Lusby