Art Books, Disney, Reviews

[ART BOOK REVIEW] They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age

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They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age is the first part in an upcoming six-part book series that will dive into the forgotten artists of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Each part will discuss several Disney artists in different decades, starting with the 1930s in this book, who never got the fame other artists like Mary Blair or Joe Grant received. This volume delves into the lives and art of Albert Hurter, Ferdinand Horvath, Gustaf Tenggren, and Bianca Majolie, four artist who were key players and shaped the visual look and feel of Disney classics from the 1930s.

The book features tons of newly discovered and never-before-published art and photographs from the Disney Archives as well as from private collections. The book dives not only into the Walt Disney Animation Studios during the 1930s and the work of these artists from that era, but also into their personal lives and Disney projects that were never to be.

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Each artist has approximately 54 pages dedicated to themselves. In these pages, we get to learn about these artists and see a ton of the work they made for Disney as well as their personal work. Their sections in the book start with a mini biography that discusses their early life, how and where they grew up, how they got to Disney, and all the work they did at Disney Animation. I loved that I really got to learn about these artists from the moment they were born until their deaths. The book really dives into each aspect of these people’s lives in detail which I loved since it will be hard to find this information anywhere else. For the book, family members, former colleagues, and Disney legends were interviewed to talk about these artists, and the book features a ton of fascinating, hilarious, and overall really great anecdotes that really make you like and appreciate these people even more.

After the mini biographies, there are quite a lot of pages filled with art from each artist. Sketches, paintings, simple story ideas put on paper—all the art in the book is really fascinating and as a Disney fan, it’s just a treat to go through these pages to discover all this newly discovered art from films and shorts you know and love alongside films and shorts that never made it to the big screen, or didn’t make it to the big screen until decades later. Each artist has their own style and interests which is reflected in both their professional and personal work showcased in this book.

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They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age is definitely my favorite art book that has been released this year and certainly one of the better Disney art/history books released in recent memory. As both a Disney and history fan, it was fascinating to discover these amazing artists that were so reminiscent for the Walt Disney Animation Studios at that time as well as learning about their personal lives. It was simply a treat to see all their work highlighted in this beautiful book. This book has made me very excited for the other volumes that are yet to come.

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Purchase: They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age

Amazon: US | UK
Book Depository: US / UK

A special thanks to Chronicle Books, who provided a review copy of the book.

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Max

Max is an animation addict from The Netherlands. His favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, and he is a big fan of everything Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks related. He loves reading and collecting art books and one day he hopes to work for a major animation studio. Follow his art blog: http://maxdenhartog.tumblr.com