Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes : Volume 1: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures book cover
2nd Edition

Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes
Volume 1: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures

  • Available for pre-order on June 1, 2023. Item will ship after June 22, 2023
ISBN 9781032104416
June 22, 2023 Forthcoming by CRC Press
376 Pages 252 Color & 413 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Discover the lessons that helped bring about a new golden age of Disney animation!

Drawn to Life is a two volume collection of the legendary lectures from long-time Disney animator Walt Stanchfield. For over twenty years, Walt helped breathe life into the new golden age of animation with these teachings at the Walt Disney Animation Studios and influenced such talented artists as Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Glen Keane, and John Lasseter. These writings represent the quintessential refresher for fine artists and film professionals, and it is a vital tutorial for students who are now poised to be part of another new generation in the art form.

Written by Walt Stanchfield (1919-2000), who began work for the Walt Disney Studios in the 1950s. His work can be seen in films like Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, and Peter Pan.

Edited by Academy Award®-nominated producer Don Hahn, who has prduced such classic Disney films as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Table of Contents




1. Enthusiasm

2. 2 Principles of Animation

3. Consider Anatomy Alone

4. Anatomy Continued

5. Consider Weight

6. Squash and Stretch — I

7. Squash and Stretch — II

8. Stretch and Squash — III

9. Line and Silhouette

10. Basic Shapes versus Details

11. Using Basic Shapes as Aid in Diffi cult Drawings

12. Simplify Where Possible

13. Straights and Curves

14. Overlap, Follow-through, and Drag

15. Eyes

16. Avoiding Tangent Lines

17. Some Simple Rules of Perspective

18. Some Ways to Create Space and Depth

19. Some Principles of Drawing

20. Great Performance or Just a Drawing?

21. Drawing Calories

22. Sketching

23. Animation and Sketching

24. Simplicity for the Sake of Clarity

25. Construction Observations Useful in Animation

26. The Opposing Force


27. Anatomy vs. Gesture

28. Mental and Physical Preparation

29. Dividing the Body into Units

30. Dimensional Drawing

31. The Value of an Action/Gesture Analysis Study

32. Using a Simple (But Logical) Approach to Drapery

33. Drapery — Its Role in Drawing

34. The Seriousness of Head Sketching/A New Phrase: " Body Syntax "

35. The Head in Gesture

36. From the Living Model to the Living Gesture

37. A Little More on Heads

38. Feeling the Pose

39. The Pose Is an Extreme

40. Pose and Mood

41. Pose and Mood Plus Timing and Phrasing and Texture

42. Symbols for Poses

43. Positive and Negative

44. Silhouette

45. P.S. The Metaphysical Side

46. Draw Verbs Not Nouns

47. Osmosis

48. Drawing and Caricature


49. What Not to See

50. A Bit of Introspection

51. It Ain’t Easy

52. A Good First Impression

53. Stick to the Theme

54. Sometimes I Wonder Why I Spend the Lonely Hours …

55. Cleanup — General

56. Cleanup

57. Inbetweening

58. Problems with Drawing in Line

59. Superficial Appearance vs. Creative Portrayal

60. Creative Energy

61. More Meanderings

62. Those Who Cannot Begin Do Not Finish

63. Body Language

64. Note Taking and Sketching

65. Using the Rules of Perspective

66. Applying the Rules of Perspective

67. Copy the Model … Who Me?

68. Talk to Your Audience — Through Drawing

69. Getting at the Root of the Problem

70. Doodling vs. Drawing

71. Purpose in Drawing

72. When Acting (Drawing) is an Art


73. Action Analysis Class I

74. Action Analysis Class II

75. Using Cylinders

76. Action Analysis — Hands and Feet

77. Angles, Angles, Angles

78. Using Angles

79. Angles and Tension

80. Applying Angles and Tension in Our Drawings

81. Tennis, Angles, and Essences

82. More on the Same

83. More on "Essence" Drawing

84. Driving Force Behind the Action

85. A Drawing Style Appropriate for Animation

86. A Drawing Style for Animation, Part II

87. Learn to Cheat

88. One Picture Worth A Thousand Words?

89. Double Vision

90. Lazy Lines

91. Spot It for Yourself

92. Do You Promise to Draw the Action, The Whole Action,

and Nothing But the Action?

93. The Pose — A One-Drawing Story

94. My Eye Is in Love

95. Become the Director

96. Hone Up or Bone Up

97. The Illustrated Handout


98. Drawing on the Artist Within

99. Fine Tuning the Gesture

100. For a Better Gesture, Adverbs

101. Omni — on Creativity

102. Metamorphosis

103. Mime

104. True Gesture Drawing

105. A Second Chance to Make a First Impression

106. A Good Sketch Is Like a Good Joke

107. Opposition

108. Elastic Band Tension

109. Get Out of the Way

110. Play-Acting

111. A Storytelling Drawing

112. Drawing Techniques

113. Step Into It

114. It Could Be That …

115. A First Impression — Your Intended Goal

116. Gallery of Class Drawings

117. Think First …

118. Piles of Nuts

119. A Meaningful Assembly

120. The Time has Come, The Walrus Said …

121. Clarity

122. Action or Reaction?


123. Be Transformed

124. Be Relentless

125. Adjust Your Crystal

126. A Love for Drawing

127. A New Slant on Drawing

128. Think Gesture

129. Precious Instruments

130. Gesture Drawing, Enthusiasm, and Stuff Like That

131. Shape — A Multi-Form Drawing Tool

132. Deciphering and Defi ning Gestures

133. The Decisive Moment

134. Relationship of Character to Prop

135. Drawing

136. Words That Help in Drawing

137. A Simple Approach to Drawing

138. Vocalizing

139. Abstracting the Essence

140. Common vs. Uncommon Gestures

141. A Thinking Person’s Art

142. Lines, Lines, Lines

143. Feel, as Well as See, the Gesture

144. Savvy Sayin’s

145. The Inner Force

146. The Power of " mmm "

147. Gestural Symbolism

148. Some Left Over Thoughts

149. The Right Way?

Afterword/Bonus Material



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Don Hahn produced some of the most successful animated films of all time, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar®. Three of his films, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. are now on the Library of Congress collection as culturally, historically and esthetically significant.

Don’s films include Disney’s Maleficent, Frankenweenie, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis, and Emperor’s New Groove. He was a founder and executive producer of the acclaimed Disneynature Films, executive produced the PBS American Masters documentary Tyrus about Disney Legend Tyrus Wong, and has directed the acclaimed documentaries Waking Sleeping Beauty, and Howard featured on Disney+.

He has authored many books on animation, guest lectures at Microsoft, Deloitte, Apple, and is on the advisory board of the Walt Disney Family Museum and a former trustee of PBS SoCal. He holds two Academy Award nominations, two Emmy nominations, two Golden Globes for Best Picture, two Honorary Doctorate degrees, and in 2022 he was named a Disney Legend for his extraordinary contributions to The Walt Disney Company.


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 with 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