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

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  3,489 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Discover the lessons that helped bring about a new golden age of Disney animation!Published for the first time ever, 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 ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Routledge
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 ·  3,489 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I’ve look at a lot of art books before and have never felt I’ve really learnt something like I have from these two volumes. So often publications contain plenty of pretty pictures, but little substance in terms of tutorial material and these are the complete opposite. Much of the drawings are extremely loose sketches rather than honed final pieces, but don’t dismiss them in a quick glance! Look closely and you will gain an awful lot from studying a master’s suggestions. It is very useful seeing ...more
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing

This is the artist's way for animators and would be an invaluable resource for anyone on that path but there is such a wealth of wisdom within the pages of Drawn To Life, it's easy to get a lot out of Walt's observations and practices of being a good artist and committing yourself fully to that process that being an animator is not a prerequisite for enjoying his book. Walt's earnest enthusiasm and whole- hearted practicing the artist way is refreshing and motivating and I'm am excited to read
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best guide to drawing philosophy I've ever read. ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I call this book "Chicken Soup for the Artists Soul" because it isn't merely instructional, but one that offers a lot of abstract and soulful insight on the art of drawing itself. The book is aimed at animators and covers the 12 basic principles of animation, but any artist who works in storytelling would benefit.

This book completely changed my mindset as an artist, and was the first stepping stone to me approaching art more academically and thoughtfully. It introduced to me the concept of "ges
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is simply amazing.
It's full of lecture notes from 20 years of the amazing Walt Stanchfield, who worked for Disney on many of their films, and even taught animators such as Glen Keane.
His use of humour in his notes is refreshing from an art book, and his rough drawings are amazing. He explains things in ways you've never considered before.. but they make so much sense!
This isn't a 'how to draw book', it won't explain how to draw specific characters or whatever, instead it explains how g
Dec 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: art-books
The following is a review for Drawn to Life Volumes One and Two

Come for the solid drawing advice, and stay for the New Age nonsense!

Drawn to Life is a two volume set compiled from notes by the instructor, Walt Stanchfield for a figure drawing class held at the Walt Disney Animation Studios from the 80s to the 1990s. Given that these books are compiled from class notes, the structure is sporadic, and sometimes feels repetitive.

Each chapter is short, consisting of a handout note for Walt Stanchfie
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can add this to my collection of good animation books that I own.

You don't learn this stuff in school.
I wish people talked about these sorts of things more instead of just how to use software for animation and barely touching on the basic 12 principles of animation, let alone go into depth about drawing for animation.

What's interesting is how much good artists and especially animators draw from life references. Walt Disney downplayed it, but really they basically shot every scene in live acti
Stephanie Brennan
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Walt Stanchfield possessed a wealth of knowledge regarding animation, gesture and drawing. This book has shifted my perspective on how to sketch and draw gestures. I found "Drawn to Life" immensely helpful and, beyond that, I also felt like it allowed me to get to know Walt as a person. Walt seems like someone who was endlessly curious, eager to learn and who enjoyed every moment of life. I feel inspired after reading this book and if anyone has an interest in animation or drawing, particularly ...more
Alec Longstreth
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animation
It took me two years to read this book, a lesson every day or two. In that time Stanchffield’s teachings have definitely reshaped my process for drawing the figure. I wish I could send this book back in time to myself before I went to art school. I would have gotten so much more out of figure drawing. I’m looking forward to diving in to volume 2!
Mary Huyett
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing reference book! I learned so much. I feel like his tips for improvement are attainable for even amateur artists like myself. I appreciated the simple advice that extended even beyond art.
-draw, don’t copy.
-draw verbs, not nouns.
-don’t draw, gesture.
Matt Diamond
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just wow, I'm so happy that these notes were kept, collected and put into a sexy book format. Highly recommended (a must have) for Animators and illustrators ...more
Roberto Aramburu
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very little amount of books out there cover the “behind the scenes” of drawing to make your characters look alive. This is THE book for it.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a great book. Effective writing skills. Just love it
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drawing
I really learned a lot from this book. I will keep it around and continue to skim through it whenever I need a reminder about drawing techniques and an inspirational boost.
Maria Fernanda
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This is great and essencial to every 2D animator. Other types of animators might enjoy it also. Towards to end it gets repetitive and boring.
Cyrus Daruwala
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Delightful, inspiring, instructive- everything you'd want from a master animator. I consider it valuable for more than just animation tips; it's a philosophy of nurturing creativity in your life. ...more
Chris Drysdale
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book by artists, for artists. So why did I, a non-artist, love it? Because we are all doodlers at heart. Everybody scribbled until they grew up and stopped. Only age takes the artist out of the child. To read and see the tricks of early cell animation explained by a master, to a class of would-be masters, is a rare treat. You'll learn about motion, line, humor, expression, and life. And if you aren't dying to pick up a pencil halfway through, there's something wrong with you. I file th ...more
First Second Books
Many of the lectures are scribbled on notebook paper, revealing some of the real magic behind Disney magic. These lectures are from the early days when Ollie Johnston and Walt Stanchfield were exploring motion and theater, and essentially inventing modern animation. This one is a gem, with many basic tips that are vital for all graphic storytellers. The huge ILLUSION OF LIFE is another must-have in the studio, of course. This one is less of a coffee book, and more into nuts and bolts. Delicious ...more
Fill Marc
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A wealth of information for artists especially in animation. Each chapter teaches or reiterates some valuable tidbit on adding more clarity and "life" into your drawings, how to be a better storyteller, and even how you should be thinking as an artist. I was only reading a chapter or two a day to soak in the information and apply it to my work. The smallest gestures, the angles that are formed by limbs, the way a line is put down on paper etc. all change the way a drawing can be perceived. Defin ...more
Laurianne Uy
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
There's really so much to learn from this book, even for people who don't find themselves walking the animator's path.

From philosophy, mindsets and attitudes to technical details and specific suggestions to tackle problems, you'll find this extremely detailed set of handouts to be both wonderful insight into the minds of the best storytellers in the film industry as well as a great instruction manual for aspiring artists such as myself.
Steve Atkinson
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you look through my book reviews you'll see I don't give away 5 star book reviews often. When I do there needs to be a darn good reason for it. I have to learn something profound or see things in a different way than I did before I opened it. If you are an illustrator or an animator, this two volume set needs to be not on your shelf, but on your drawing table... falling apart from use. You're welcome. ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This is NOT a book intended to teach one how to draw in the classic Disney style, but rather a series of short reflections on aspects of the art that an intermediate draftsperson may consider. As such, it shouldn't be read in one sitting, but instead read in bits, probably before practice sessions, to focus on these aspects. ...more
Biff  Nightingale
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am NOT an animator by any stretch but this is more than an animation book. Rather, this is a treatise on life, creativity and the nature of the artist. I am still unpacking the ideas contained within. a must read.
Zelly B.
May 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-books, reference
Very thorough, helpful tips for getting those figure-drawing techniques down. I'm definitely going to order Walt's second volume. ...more
Greg Tatum
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books
Tim Decker
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing look at Walt Stanchfield's outlook on life and drawing! ...more
Norman Felchle
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great stuff. Now, on to vol. 2
A wealth of knowledge, a bit hard to swallow all at once. Truly empowering and fascinating.
Nov 19, 2014 is currently reading it
i want to read books and make my monograph

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Walt Stanchfield (1919–2000) was an American animator, writer and teacher. Stanchfield is known for work on a series of classic animated feature films at Walt Disney Studios and his mentoring of Disney animators.

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