Snow White meets Giovanni Morelli – Page 3

15. When her eyes are open, some artists drew them all the way across the lid, while others drew them only on the outer part of the lid, as here.


16. Still others drew them only on the inner part of the lid. Actually, it was only in close shots like this one that the animators who drew her in different sequences were able to achieve a fair degree of uniformity throughout the film. This is partly because the close shots were those most influenced by the use of rotoscope drawings.


17. For instance, live-action footage of young Marjorie Belcher registering shock was projected frame-by-frame on the rotoscope, and tracings made of selected frames. In this case frames 1, 19 and 26 of her recoil have been traced, with the artist concerned supplying his own stylization of the eyes and mouth.


18. When these rotoscope drawings had served as a basis for an animation layout a quite different, simplified, stylization of the eyes emerged. None of the drawing of Snow White is very close to the real girl in live action, and some is quite far removed.


19. Although the lesser creatures in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were designed with rounded and simplified forms, characteristic distinctions could still emerge. Ordinarily the boundary between the white area and the darker area on the heads of the squirrels was drawn with a sharp cusp behind their eyes.


20. But when the squirrels turn their backs to the camera, one of the animators, but not the others, changes this line into a smooth flowing curve without the point. (Yes, Giovanni, he also draws their ears differently as well.) So a squirrel in a Walt Disney film is not simply a standard Walt Disney squirrel.


21. Looking beyond the static design of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I also detect idiosyncratic differences in the way our heroine moves in different sequences. The way her shoulders give little jerks upward with excitement when she discovers the dwarfs’ cottage does not occur anywhere else in the film, and the swooping trajectories separated by poised holds as she runs through the forest led by the animals is likewise unique. But that is another story, for access to an actual print of the film is required to demonstrate it.


All illustrations ©MCMLXXX VII The Walt Disney Company.

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Printed in Animator Issue 21 (Winter 1987)