Believe it or not I’m looking back at 1993 in this photograph. These are two of the Mickey Mouse books we produced at Disney Publishing back then. This Mickey Series is significant in that it was the start of something new. The early nineties ushered in a new way of creating Disney art and totally changed the way books would be published in our department.
You see, up to 1993 nothing much had changed in the rather complicated method of publishing books. However, with the introduction of new technology, all these things would begin to change. And, what was that change, you ask? We had finally been given computers, and these marvelous machines along with the amazing software installed would introduce us to a whole new world. Since this was the Walt Disney Company it was only appropriate that Mickey Mouse should lead the way. That’s correct. The first series of books we created on the computer was a series of Mickey Mouse stories, many of them repurposed and recreated from the vintage artwork of Disney’s comic book artists. However, this art would be redesigned and reimagined by the Disney artists and designers. It was truly a meeting of the past and the future. Vintage Mickey drawings suddenly fused with the new digital technology. As we began work on our new Mickey series, our editors typed their manuscript on Macintosh computers. Those digital files were handed off to our book designers and illustrators who were also working on Macintosh towers to create the book pages. For the first time in Disney’s publishing history no paper, pen, ink or pencils would touch the page. The entire process from start to finish would be digital. That meant every page would be created in the computer. We had truly entered a brave new world and Disney publishing would never be the same.
I might add that most of us were initially not that computer savvy and made more than our share of dumb mistakes. Luckily, our art director had found a knowledgeable young woman to come in and help us as we struggled through the creation of our first digital book series. Many of the beautiful illustrations in the books are hers, but more importantly, she guided us through a good deal of the process and proved to be such an asset to the department we begged her to stay. However, it gets better than that. You see, I eventually married her and we still work together today.