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"Walt Disney's Cinderella" is a picture-perfect picture book

Jim Hill

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"Walt Disney's Cinderella" is a picture-perfect picture book

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This is probably going to seem like a very weird request. But -- if you could -- I'd really like it if you guys could buy up a bunch of copies of "Walt Disney's Cinderella" (Disney Press, August 2007)

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

"And why should we do that?," you ask. Well, for starters, because "Walt Disney's Cinderella" is a pretty spectacular picture book. One that Disney animation fans are sure to treasure. Given that all of the artwork that appears in this 64-page hardcover was actually done by Disney Legend Mary Blair.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Oh, sure. The book's text (Which was written by Newbury Medalist Cynthia Rylant) has its charms. But the real draw here (no pun intended) is the illustrations.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

You see, these are the really-for-real concept paintings that Blair created back in the 1940s for "Cinderella." Which then helped nail the look of this 1950 Walt Disney Productions release.

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And what's startling about so many of these images (Which -- FYI -- were culled out of WDAS's Animation Research Library collection) ...

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... is how closely the artists and animators who worked on this feature length cartoon were then able to replicate Mary's unique take on this tale.

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Not just Blair's one-of-a-kind color palate. But also her elegant sense of staging. Which really helped Disney's animated "Cinderella" seem that much more romantic and magical.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises,Inc. All Rights Reserved

Looking at all of these colorful, beautifully composed but (let's be honest here, folks) flat images, you get a sense of how truly talented the folks who worked at the Mouse Factory really were back then.

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

That they could take this very stylized material and then create a fully dimensional film that has been delighting moviegoers for almost six decades now.

 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

"But you still haven't answered my original question," you say. "Why should JHM readers buy up a bunch of copies of 'Walt Disney's Cinderella' ?"

Well, if this picture book sells well, Disney Press has plans to produce some follow-up titles. In fact, they've already signed Jon Scieszka to provide the text for a picture book that DP hopes to release in the Fall of 2008. One that would then be illustrated with a lot of the concept art that Mary Blair created for Disney's 1953 release, "Peter Pan."

And then -- in 2009 -- Disney Press already has tentative plans to release a third book in this series. One that would feature Blair's concept art for the studio's 1951 release, "Alice in Wonderland."

But -- again -- that's only gonna happen if "Walt Disney's Cinderella" sells really well ...

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

So if you're a Disney animation fan and would like to see those two other Mary Blair picture books actually make it out onto store shelves, you really should pick up a copy (or two, or three) of this picture-perfect picture book.

Your thoughts ?

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  • Yes, I think this book will go great with John Canemaker's "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair."

    She was certainly a very gifted artist -- one widely admired by many people working in animation today and one remembered with great fondness by Alice Davis, Rolly Crump, Marty Sklar and others.

    Speaking of Mary Blair, San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum will be opening "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair" exhibit Oct. 27.

    This retrospective features Blair's concept art from such

    Disney classics as Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella and Peter Pan, as

    well as a selection of BlairÂ’'s illustration work from advertising and

    childrenÂ’s books.

    The Cartoon Art Museum is at 655 Mission St., San Francisco, CA  94105



    Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm

    Admission: $6 General, $4 Students and Seniors, $2 Children (6-12 years old), Free for members and Children under 6

    The Cartoon Art Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit institution dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of original cartoon art in all of its forms.

  • (YAWN) That's the best article you could come up with for today. How about the celebration of EPCOT's 25th. They are however, stylish pics, but just not a hot topic. Better luck tomorrow. Every post can't be a winner.  Did I mention they were nice renderings though?

  • Imagine what it was like to actually touch the original artwork created by these Disney Masters. Indeed, more books are on the way.

    Disney art lives! At least at Disney Publishing anyway.

    Pardon me, but I actually liked the article.

  • Floyd

    I liked it, too! I guess some people tend to forget that without a great pool of talented and dedicated artists working on the films and at Imagineering ... there'd be no Disneyland, no Walt Disney World, no EPCOT to celebrate.

    No arguing that Walt Disney was a visionary ... but it took (and continues to take) thousands of people on the front lines and in the trenches to bring the magic to life.

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