Posting will be brief this morning. I’m headed over to the Walt Disney Studios and the Ink&Paint Building in particular where we’ll be doing some filming. This amazing facility holds many wonderful memories for me. I still remember my first visit back in 1956 when the ladies gave us a first hand look at the process of creating a beautiful inked and painted cel. Remember, this was back when the animation process was totally analog and everything was done by hand. Naturally, that included the transfer of the animator’s drawings to the sheets of acetate.
Our little group was taken upstairs and we watched as a young woman delicately inked a cel with what appeared to be a crow quill pen. Excercising perfect control, the young inker made the meticulous task look easy. Adding to the complexity, the animated cels were inked in several colors. Short cartoon drawings usually had a single black ink outline. However, these cels were for the animated feature film “Sleeping Beauty.” That meant each inked and painted sheet of acetate had what was then called, self color lines. As you can imagine, each inked and painted cel could easily be called a masterpiece. What was more amazing was that there were thousands of the cels being created for the classic Walt Disney motion picture.
Of course, painting the animated cels was no easy task either. It required a good deal of skill to maintain consistency and apply the paint smoothly to the acetate. If one had any doubt about the “Ink&Paint Girls” being artists that notion was quickly displaced. The amazing women in Walt Disney’s Ink&Paint Department were no less talented than their male counterparts across the street in the Animation Building. We wrapped up our tour with a visit to the Tea Room located on the second floor of the building. Here, an employee could take a break and enjoy a hot cup of tea along with a delicious tea cake. As a nod to the Disney legacy, I still deliver fresh tea cakes to our Disney facility every Thursday morning. With our tour concluded, we made our way back to the Animation Building. It was wise not to linger in the Ink&Paint hallways. Walt Disney’s Ink&Paint Department was a special “Woman’s World” back then, and lord help the young male artist should the boss, Grace Bailey find you roaming the hallways unescorted.
These are some of my memories of a Disney Studio long past. Now, I’ve got to be on my way because I’m due at the Ink&Paint Building this morning. What’s going to happen this morning, you ask? We’ll talk about that next time.