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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Country Cousin" (1936) [Series] - Don Graham Stat Model Sheet

Note: read my previous posting for information on the "stat" process

Here is an Abner first-generation stat model sheet with "Graham file" written in pencil on the lower right. While original model sheets are a great fine, first-generation sheets are very special as well.

Don Graham Stat Model Sheet [click to enlarge]

Don Graham holds a unique position in the refinement of Disney animation. Here is a segment from "The Birth of Animation Training," Animation World (3/24/2009):
Walt decided to hire Don Graham, an instructor at Chouinard and former engineering student from Stanford University, to supervise this new training in addition to his teaching responsibilities at Chouinard. Graham is remembered today as an inspirational instructor who was patient and articulate. Graham had an incredible knowledge of drawing and art history in addition to being an outstanding draftsman himself. Walt invited diverse guest speakers to lecture at Hyperion, including friend and collaborator Salvador Dali, seen above vacationing with Disney in the 1950s.

One Disney animator commented on the value of this training when he said, “Before I started there I animated well and badly both. But I couldn’t reproduce the former at will and I couldn’t fix up the later. What the classes did for me was to give me consistency.”

Certainly the superiority of the Disney animated product during the 1930s and 1940s can be credited to this training. No other animation studio invested the time and money for training. Many of the principles of animation from squash and stretch to secondary action to more came from these Disney training studies.

The very first class at the Hyperion Studio was on Nov. 15, 1932, with 25 artists in attendance. Older Disney animators smile when they recount that the attendance grew swiftly when it was discovered that Graham was demonstrating motion with the use of cute nude female models.
----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Country Cousin” (1936). "U.S. 37" model sheet. "Abner" Pencil: "Graham file." Seller: "This is also something quite special! Original first generation model sheets from 1936 Academy Award cartoon along with great drawings from the film" [15"W x 11”H] Acquired 2000. SeqID-0467

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