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From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets. With calligraphic precision and Rembrandtesque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets. With calligraphic precision and Rembrandtesque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they created on, the contributions and history of these animation artists have remained virtually invisible and largely undocumented, until now. Walt Disney's pioneering efforts in animation transformed novelty cartoons into visual masterpieces, establishing many "firsts" for women within the entertainment industry along the way. Focusing on talent, Disney sought female story specialists and concept artists to expand the scope and sensibility of his storytelling. Upon establishing the first animation-training program for women, ink pens were traded for pencils as ladies made their way into the male-laden halls of animation. World War II further opened roles traditionally held by men, and women quickly progressed into virtually every discipline within animation production. Disney's later development of the Xerox process and eventual digital evolution once again placed women at the forefront of technological advancements applied to animated storytelling. In her landmark book, Ink & Paint, author Mindy Johnson pulls back the celluloid curtain on the nearly vanished world of ink pens, paintbrushes, pigments, and tea. From the earliest black-and-white Alice Comedies to the advent of CAPS and digital animation, meet the pioneering women who brought hand-rendered animated stories to vibrant, multicolored life at Walt Disney Studios and beyond. Extensively researched with the full support of the entire Walt Disney Studios archival resources, plus a multitude of private collections, firsthand accounts, newly discovered materials, and production documentation, as well as never-before-seen photography and artwork, this essential volume redefines the collective history of animation. Searching for that perfect gift for the animation fan in your life? Explore more behind-the-scenes stories from Disney Editions: The Art of Mulan: A Disney Editions Classic Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks One Day at Disney: Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe The Walt Disney Studios: A Lot to Remember From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, Revised Special Edition Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil - The Creation, The Inspiration, The Fascination The Art and Flair of Mary Blair: An Appreciation, Updated Edition Illusion of Life: Disney Animation (By Disney Legends Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston)


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From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets. With calligraphic precision and Rembrandtesque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they From the earliest origins of animated imagery, the colorful link between paper and screen was created by legions of female artists working on the slick surface of celluloid sheets. With calligraphic precision and Rembrandtesque mastery, these women painstakingly brought pencil drawings to vibrant, dimensional life. Yet perhaps as a reflection of the transparent canvas they created on, the contributions and history of these animation artists have remained virtually invisible and largely undocumented, until now. Walt Disney's pioneering efforts in animation transformed novelty cartoons into visual masterpieces, establishing many "firsts" for women within the entertainment industry along the way. Focusing on talent, Disney sought female story specialists and concept artists to expand the scope and sensibility of his storytelling. Upon establishing the first animation-training program for women, ink pens were traded for pencils as ladies made their way into the male-laden halls of animation. World War II further opened roles traditionally held by men, and women quickly progressed into virtually every discipline within animation production. Disney's later development of the Xerox process and eventual digital evolution once again placed women at the forefront of technological advancements applied to animated storytelling. In her landmark book, Ink & Paint, author Mindy Johnson pulls back the celluloid curtain on the nearly vanished world of ink pens, paintbrushes, pigments, and tea. From the earliest black-and-white Alice Comedies to the advent of CAPS and digital animation, meet the pioneering women who brought hand-rendered animated stories to vibrant, multicolored life at Walt Disney Studios and beyond. Extensively researched with the full support of the entire Walt Disney Studios archival resources, plus a multitude of private collections, firsthand accounts, newly discovered materials, and production documentation, as well as never-before-seen photography and artwork, this essential volume redefines the collective history of animation. Searching for that perfect gift for the animation fan in your life? Explore more behind-the-scenes stories from Disney Editions: The Art of Mulan: A Disney Editions Classic Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks One Day at Disney: Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe The Walt Disney Studios: A Lot to Remember From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, Revised Special Edition Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil - The Creation, The Inspiration, The Fascination The Art and Flair of Mary Blair: An Appreciation, Updated Edition Illusion of Life: Disney Animation (By Disney Legends Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston)

30 review for Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    First off, be warned, this is a coffee table book in size and weight. Don't think you'll be able to easily tote it on mass transit like I did. People will look, and your back will hate you. Putting that minor gripe aside, though, this book is fantastic from cover to cover. It dives into the history of females who began and ran large parts of the WDS animation team, from the 1920s up to just about modern day. The size of the book is necessary, as there were and are a lot of women who helped make t First off, be warned, this is a coffee table book in size and weight. Don't think you'll be able to easily tote it on mass transit like I did. People will look, and your back will hate you. Putting that minor gripe aside, though, this book is fantastic from cover to cover. It dives into the history of females who began and ran large parts of the WDS animation team, from the 1920s up to just about modern day. The size of the book is necessary, as there were and are a lot of women who helped make this company what it is today. The details and little stories will suck you in, and I found myself wishing I could meet some of these creative souls. I feel the book is fairly well balanced between the good and the bad - there is praise for WD being innovative with his hiring of women for positions often claimed by men, but criticism when women were met with glass ceilings in their careers. If you pick this book up thinking it's going to be a love fest for everything Walt did, you will be disappointed. However, for all of his shortcomings as a human, this book does illuminate how much WDS needed women from the very beginning to survive and thrive. I recommend this book to any Disney lover, feminist, mid-century Americana history nerd, or a combination of any of those. The details is ridiculous, but you'll be glad the time was invested to tell the story - the ENTIRE story - of a much overlooked part of Disney's past.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Creolecat

    Outstanding.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Loved all the artwork and the flip side of the film views. If you love Old Animation and the backstory of the animation studios...this is the book for you. °o°

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This was so interesting! I loved learning about all the women who were involved in the department over the years, all the different roles that they had in the department and, eventually, in animation in general. It was also a great look at the animation process in general. There were so many things I didn't know and it made me appreciate the process and films even more. The "Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale" scene from Cinderella is even more impressive now! And yes, this is a book from Disney publish This was so interesting! I loved learning about all the women who were involved in the department over the years, all the different roles that they had in the department and, eventually, in animation in general. It was also a great look at the animation process in general. There were so many things I didn't know and it made me appreciate the process and films even more. The "Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale" scene from Cinderella is even more impressive now! And yes, this is a book from Disney publishing, but it truly did a good job of balancing the good and the bad; recognizing the standards of different eras and how the company did (or didn't) meet them. Honestly, the biggest issue was that this book is so physically big that reading it meant knowing I had to be seated somewhere comfy where I could easily prop it up.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    I was wondering why this book is so big into walt disney as benevolent patriarch, and portrayed workers striking for better conditions as immature and short-sighted, and treated the sexism of the company and its male workers towards female workers as not much more than some good-natured hazing, and then it turned out this book was printed by disney's publishing arm. largely good research, but 1) the above and 2) needed better copyediting, typos and awkward phrasing and plenty of [sic]s where ther I was wondering why this book is so big into walt disney as benevolent patriarch, and portrayed workers striking for better conditions as immature and short-sighted, and treated the sexism of the company and its male workers towards female workers as not much more than some good-natured hazing, and then it turned out this book was printed by disney's publishing arm. largely good research, but 1) the above and 2) needed better copyediting, typos and awkward phrasing and plenty of [sic]s where there shouldn't have been in quoted text. the stories of the early women who worked in inking and painting department in animation are killer, though, and I'd love to read a novel about them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    Absolutely gorgeous volume celebrating the women that made Disney animation possible from its earliest days. As a little girl, I so wanted to be an animator. I figured out pretty early on I am lacking any kind of artistic talent but the women on these pages meant I could dream about it! Meticulous research, in-depth explanation of the techniques and painstaking work the women of Ink & Paint, and across the company, did to help create the movies we all grew up with. Must-read for any Disney fan b Absolutely gorgeous volume celebrating the women that made Disney animation possible from its earliest days. As a little girl, I so wanted to be an animator. I figured out pretty early on I am lacking any kind of artistic talent but the women on these pages meant I could dream about it! Meticulous research, in-depth explanation of the techniques and painstaking work the women of Ink & Paint, and across the company, did to help create the movies we all grew up with. Must-read for any Disney fan but also for any animation fan - this book so clearly appreciates and loves the process of animation as much as the women who were working on it that it was a joy to read and also very inspiring.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book was a bible (so, so long) but it was good. There was a lot of new information in this book that I wasn’t aware of before. I really enjoyed the details of how Ink and Paint worked all those years ago. I kind of wish in another life I was a painter there. Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of Disney and how animation worked and changed over the years.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    An extremely detailed journey of Walt Disney studios and the women who helped shape the world of animation, amazing read! But as another reviewer mentioned, this book is huge! Plan to sit at home or sprawl on your bed, certainly not a beach read or commuter book!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Great book for anyone interested in animation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Howell

    This research is extensive, but delightfully so. It is well-organized and visually appealing, playing upon the artistic and colorful aspects of its subjects. Anecdotes and archival photos will change the way you watch any Disney animated film. The women were resourceful, hardworking, and artists, despite being marginalized or unrecognized for so many decades. Rather than giving a laundry list of women's names and achievements, the text unravels the entire history of Disney Animation and uncoveri This research is extensive, but delightfully so. It is well-organized and visually appealing, playing upon the artistic and colorful aspects of its subjects. Anecdotes and archival photos will change the way you watch any Disney animated film. The women were resourceful, hardworking, and artists, despite being marginalized or unrecognized for so many decades. Rather than giving a laundry list of women's names and achievements, the text unravels the entire history of Disney Animation and uncovering each woman's contribution within, surprisingly teaching one more about animation history in a palatable and exciting way. Mindy plans to continually update her study, with the final line in the text, "Thousands of women contributed creatively to the first century of animation beyond the women noted within this book. If you, or someone you knew, are among the female artists who worked within early animation, and would like to share your story, please contact the author via the Walt Disney Archives." I was blessed to be introduced to this wonderful research in such a personal way - an event hosted by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. Mindy Johnson spoke and interviewed amazing special guests for nearly three hours. Later that month, I attended a book signing where I was able to interact with Mindy and several of the Ink and Paint ladies whose interviews and stories grace the pages of this wonderful book. I could not recommend it more. Reading this bulky book was worth every sore muscle of holding it up. The full sized photographs and well-organized text do not disappoint. I even got pulled over at the airport for extra examination because the book was so unusually large. I told the TSA Agent he should read it, too.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Despite its physically awkward and bulky size this book is an excellent resource not only for learning about the Ink and Paint (and a few other connected departments) women in Disney animation history but for the detail of animation history in general. Beyond the women aspect there was a lot of technical information that was really useful so that the reader can grasp the mountains these women moved. It was a nice perspective change because often you only hear about lead people/department heads/t Despite its physically awkward and bulky size this book is an excellent resource not only for learning about the Ink and Paint (and a few other connected departments) women in Disney animation history but for the detail of animation history in general. Beyond the women aspect there was a lot of technical information that was really useful so that the reader can grasp the mountains these women moved. It was a nice perspective change because often you only hear about lead people/department heads/top animators instead of the driving force of worker bees that got the movies done. The book is done chronologically but don't expect a lot out of the 1980s+ information. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary "[sic]"s in the quotes that really detracted from the personal memories/interviews with the women in this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alex Lawless

    I truly enjoyed reading through this. What a comprehensive history of animation in general, but specifically animation from Disney, this is book. It starts from the very beginning of Disney animation and ends with The Rescuers Down Under, with some brief mentions of other early 90's films. The biggest focus is on the early years and the start of the Hyperion and then Burbank studios. It also chronicles the animation studio's transition from hand ink and paint to xerograph, and from xerograph to I truly enjoyed reading through this. What a comprehensive history of animation in general, but specifically animation from Disney, this is book. It starts from the very beginning of Disney animation and ends with The Rescuers Down Under, with some brief mentions of other early 90's films. The biggest focus is on the early years and the start of the Hyperion and then Burbank studios. It also chronicles the animation studio's transition from hand ink and paint to xerograph, and from xerograph to digital animation. The very main focus is on all of the above, but in the context of the women employees of Disney throughout this time. It even goes so far as to predominantly focus on the women members of the Disney brother's family as well. The author does a very good job trying to be comprehensive and inclusive of the women of the past, or as much as possible with the giving archives. There are beautiful, full color images on every single page of the book, illustrating the world of animation and the women's lives who worked there. The author does a very good job trying to be include a comprehensive narrative of both the history of the animation studio as well as the women's contributions and details of their personal lives. You begin to become attached to the women mentioned in the pages. As much as I liked this book, I do have some critiques. It can be quite difficult to read as it is coffee table format. Don't get me wrong, it's gorgeous, but it is very unwieldy. I'm not a big fan of how the author chose to organize the timelines throughout the book. The book is broken down into decades, with various chapters in the decades correlating to actual events. The author provides a global timeline of author events throughout each year to provide context to the rest of the world. Rather than moving forward strictly chronologically, the author tends to pick a subject and follow it through till a logical end, then start anew. This tends to mean that the timeline gets a little skewed at times, and it makes it easy to get lost or forget where we are exactly. It's not a deal breaker, but it can be annoying. And lastly, I don't think this book would be good for children who are interested in Disney. The pictures would be great to look together as a family, but the actual content can be quite technical and dry at times. I enjoyed it and learned a lot, but I can't say I've retained all the technical processes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was obviously extensively researched, and it shows. The breadth of people that Mindy Johnson was able to either speak with, or (in the case of those who are deceased) pull quotes from made this feel less like a book and more like hundreds of women were telling me what Disney Studios was like back in the day. At times it could be confusing keeping all the names straight, but I appreciated that the author would normally include something to remind you who someone was if it was their first men This was obviously extensively researched, and it shows. The breadth of people that Mindy Johnson was able to either speak with, or (in the case of those who are deceased) pull quotes from made this feel less like a book and more like hundreds of women were telling me what Disney Studios was like back in the day. At times it could be confusing keeping all the names straight, but I appreciated that the author would normally include something to remind you who someone was if it was their first mention in a while. Considering the number of people who worked there for decades, or worked for a while in the 40s and then came back in the 70s, if she hadn't I would have been lost the whole time. I thought it kept up a good balance of technical details regarding the progression of the animation process, and personal details involving what studio life was like at that time, what people did in their free time, and what company culture was like through the years. I would recommend reading this in chunks rather than all at once, like I did. It's neatly divided into sections based on the decade, so it might be less overwhelming to read one section, then take a break and come back a week later. By the time I was done I felt a little like I had finished a reading marathon. (I needed to give the book back to my sister so I was reading it for a few hours everyday for a week lol.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Johnson, Mindy Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, 363 pages. Disney Enterprises, 2017. $60. Content: G Johnson has gone overboard and created an exhausting look at the detailed history of Walt Disney’s life and business intertwined with glimpses at the women – I think EVERY SINGLE WOMAN – who has ever had anything to do with Disney on a corporate level in every single incarnation. Unfortunately the book is unwieldy instead of being enlightening. It dwells more on the minutiae of D Johnson, Mindy Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, 363 pages. Disney Enterprises, 2017. $60. Content: G Johnson has gone overboard and created an exhausting look at the detailed history of Walt Disney’s life and business intertwined with glimpses at the women – I think EVERY SINGLE WOMAN – who has ever had anything to do with Disney on a corporate level in every single incarnation. Unfortunately the book is unwieldy instead of being enlightening. It dwells more on the minutiae of Disney corporate with such dense text that the stories of the women get lost. The text could easily be cut by a third or half to create a much more readable book. The only people who are going to like this are the biggest Disney fanatics. Anyone who is trying to understand about the non-family women who were important to the shape of Disney needs to wait for a completely different book. ADULTS, GIFT – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2017...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I cannot even the imagine the amount of work that went into making this piece. My few and far between complaints were really about organization and consistency, but gosh what a read! It was a feat in length and in attempting to hurdle the technical jargon in particular, but the stories told and obstacles surmounted by these women surpass any hiccups in style or writing that I could see. It’s a commitment read for sure, but if you have time or read a bit here and there, it’s definitely worth it! I cannot even the imagine the amount of work that went into making this piece. My few and far between complaints were really about organization and consistency, but gosh what a read! It was a feat in length and in attempting to hurdle the technical jargon in particular, but the stories told and obstacles surmounted by these women surpass any hiccups in style or writing that I could see. It’s a commitment read for sure, but if you have time or read a bit here and there, it’s definitely worth it! It was also refreshing to read the words of an author who clearly respects the work, the women, and the company. I truly believe Walt Disney was a pioneer for women’s rights in his company and did the best he knew how at the time with the upmost respect for these women and their talents. It was nice to see that reflected in this work. Thanks for all the information!! Hopefully one day, I will meet (and is it too presumptuous to say join?!?!) the team responsible for preserving the masterful works of art these women helped to create.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pixie

    I liked the parts about the art (the artistry and the technological advances). Let's face it, if you like Disney or animation at all, you are going to like this book. The historical sexism was kind of hard to take, as were some of the disjointed, transition-less jumps between topics. Plus the book was very big and heavy; some folks might literally have a hard time picking it up. But probably worth the effort. I liked the parts about the art (the artistry and the technological advances). Let's face it, if you like Disney or animation at all, you are going to like this book. The historical sexism was kind of hard to take, as were some of the disjointed, transition-less jumps between topics. Plus the book was very big and heavy; some folks might literally have a hard time picking it up. But probably worth the effort.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Megan Deppe

    It was really interesting to read about the history of Disney with this context - we still got a great view of how the company became what we know and love today, but there was an emphasis on the women who were a part of it, and in some cases it was such a large part it's hard to think that we haven't talked about it before. It's a very good historic walk-through. It was really interesting to read about the history of Disney with this context - we still got a great view of how the company became what we know and love today, but there was an emphasis on the women who were a part of it, and in some cases it was such a large part it's hard to think that we haven't talked about it before. It's a very good historic walk-through.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Well packaged and presented, but unfortunately a whitewashing look at the benevolent patriarchy of a studio where women were confined to supposedly lesser work. Add in a weirdly anti-union coverage of the strike of 1941 that brought in worker protections and it’s obvious how this is a Disney publication. Would love to see a version of this book written from an objective perspective.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Read this book! Not only is it an amazing recounting of Disney history told through a female lens, it also covers 70 years of animation history beautifully. It has deepened my appreciation for animation even more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    This is an exhaustive history of the inkers and painters of the Disney enterprise. Packed with detail and lots of interesting information. True Disney fans will totally dig it. I'm a fan, but not the biggest. After a couple of months, I made it 200 pages in and ended up not finishing. This is an exhaustive history of the inkers and painters of the Disney enterprise. Packed with detail and lots of interesting information. True Disney fans will totally dig it. I'm a fan, but not the biggest. After a couple of months, I made it 200 pages in and ended up not finishing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Wennerlund

    Absolutely incredible look into the women of the Walt Disney Studios. A lot of the facts and stories in Ink & Paint were brand new to me (even as someone who voraciously reads about Disney history). A must-add to any female history or Disney fan's collection. Absolutely incredible look into the women of the Walt Disney Studios. A lot of the facts and stories in Ink & Paint were brand new to me (even as someone who voraciously reads about Disney history). A must-add to any female history or Disney fan's collection.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    Wow, it not only explained about women in animation, but the changes in animation throughout the 20th century. The book was large and heavy, though, so rather unwieldy to read, but it made sense with the amount of pictures.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    If you're at all interested in Disney history, this book is excellent! A very detailed look at the history of ink and paint, including the way that techniques evolved over the years. It's all set within the framework of women's history, giving it a lot broader meaning. If you're at all interested in Disney history, this book is excellent! A very detailed look at the history of ink and paint, including the way that techniques evolved over the years. It's all set within the framework of women's history, giving it a lot broader meaning.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A beautiful and interesting book but it was literally too big to read comfortably. I had to sit at a table.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy DeRosa

    This book is amazing though quite large. It goes in detail about the process of Walt Disney's Animation and the women who worked there. This book is amazing though quite large. It goes in detail about the process of Walt Disney's Animation and the women who worked there.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gaëlle Desigual

    Beautiful book, I learnt so much, really interesting! A bit hard for someone not from a field and English is not my first languague but read it cover to cover!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen Pritchard

    This is perhaps the most comprehensive inside look into the workings of the Disney Studios. A real fascinating treat.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This is a wonderful, thorough insight into the phenomenally talented women who often worked unseen and unacknowledged on Disney’s animated movies and shorts.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    If you thought the movers and shakers of the early days at the Walt Disney Studios and beyond were just men, think again. Did you know that Sylvia Holland was the only woman working as a professional architect in the entire country of Canada at one point? Did you know that Mary Costa performed at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral at the request of his wife, Mrs. Jackie Kennedy? What about Nelbert Chouinard – did you know she helped Disney animators improve their skills so Walt could bring Snow If you thought the movers and shakers of the early days at the Walt Disney Studios and beyond were just men, think again. Did you know that Sylvia Holland was the only woman working as a professional architect in the entire country of Canada at one point? Did you know that Mary Costa performed at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral at the request of his wife, Mrs. Jackie Kennedy? What about Nelbert Chouinard – did you know she helped Disney animators improve their skills so Walt could bring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the big screen? We now know about these and many other women and some of their astonishing accomplishments thanks to the groundbreaking work of the marvelous Mindy Johnson. Recently honored with the 2019 Academy Film Scholar Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Grant Foundation for her continued research and writing on the contributions of the earliest women within our collective animated past, Mindy leaves no corner unexplored; no stone unturned.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Wise

    I love this book. As an artist. As a woman. As a Disney fan. It’s a beautiful book full of fascinating history about the women who have brought Disney’s animations to life.

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