One of the many key animators and International icon thanks to its performance and professional work in animation and as an animator, creator of many characters such as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, among others.Walter Elias Disney, born on November 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, was the fourth of the five children of his parents Elias and Flora Disney. Despised by his father since he was very severe with him, he grew very close to his mother. When he was 7 years old he went to live in a town very close to Marceline, Missouri where he was surrounded by animals and nature and his passion for drawing was born there.

Famous Animators - Walt Disney

Famous Animators – Walt Disney

In 1901 Walt decided to go with his family to Kansas, City, Missouri where he begins to help his father in the distribution of newspaper and that cause that Walt had a poor performance in school. After a few years Walt decided to study at the art institute of Kansas, City where he learned the first techniques of drawing.

Also found work as an apprentice in an advertising agency La Pesmen – Rubin Commercial Art Studio, in this new job he met with Ub Iwerks who also had a great ability for drawing. Walt decided to become partner of Iwerks and opened his own company called The Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists, which did not last long since Walt chose to have a stable job. In this job he learned the rudimentary techniques of the cinematographic animation.

Disney decided to use the garage of his house as a studio and working at his first cartoon movie. One of his legacies was the animation of Alice In Wonderland which was created in Kansas City, Mickey Mouse was another of the great contribution that was created in 1928, and the idea of this mouse born while he was traveling in a train. When he was created he did not wear white gloves that are part of this character. Walt was the first to put the voice to this character and he did it between 1928 and 1947.

The first short film in which this character appeared was in “Plane Crazy” in November 1928, and in 1929 he authorized several companies to use the image of mickey mouse in their products, from that moment he incorporated white gloves and shoes to avoid that the hands and the feet disappeared on dark backgrounds.

He produced his first feature film in 1937 which was called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which raised four million dollars, at the time was a record, but it was not enough since he stayed with a debt until 1961 because of the credits that were requested to make that movie, since the budget was $500.000.00 initial of the film had changed.

Walt also created musical series called Silly Symphonies, the first was the dance of the skeleton and was drawn and animated by Iwerks who was responsible for most of the films produced by Walt Disney in the years 1928 and 1929.

For the production of many of his films Walt Disney he hired artists of European origin like the sketchers who collaborated in his first films. He was very afraid that people would take him for an intellectual because he wanted to reach the greatest number of people and he achieve it, proof of this is the success of his animations.

In the last months of 1966, he was diagnosed with cancer in the lung. Died on December 15, of 1966. His brother Roy took over the project that Walt had in mind, which was to build the theme park from Orlando, Florida, and was called Walt Disney World in Walt’s honor.

Japanese animator - Hayao Miyazaki

Japanese animator – Hayao Miyazaki

The Japanese animator, director, manga artist, storyteller, and producer are just a couple of words to describe the multitalented Hayao Miyazaki. He was born on January 5, 1941, in Tokyo. Miyazaki’s films are enjoyed worldwide because they have hidden meaning behind them and are different from most animated films. In the opinion of Pixar’s John Lasseter, Miyazaki is “the world’s greatest living animator”. A major theme in Miyazaki’s films is environmentalism. He emphasizes the impact humans have on the environment in his animations in a subtle way. Also, there is usually always a strong female protagonist that he focuses the story around. Miyazaki insists on using traditional hand-drawn animation and rarely relies on computer graphic imagery. Most of the individual frames in his films are done using watercolor. Hayao Miyazaki has devoted his life to making high-quality films which entertain audiences and deliver meaningful messages.

In Hayao Miyazaki’s early life he lived with his four brothers and parents who owned a family business called Miyazaki’s Airplanes. They manufactured parts for warplanes in World War II for Japans military defense. Miyazaki admitted that he felt guilty his family had made money off the war. He has shown his dislike for the military in most of his films. For instance, He creates military officials that only care for power and wealth. Miyazaki’s father then moved the family to Utsunomiya City in 1944 to 1946. The landscape of the area is what he used as a reference for one of his films called My Neighbor Totoro. It was also around this time his mother became sick and was in the hospital for about three years, which is a theme in My Neighbor Totoro.

In 1963, he graduated from Gakushuin University with degrees in Political Science and Economics. He decided to go with a career that he was passionate about opposed to what he majored in. He started his animation career at Toei Animation, where his job was to fill in a cell-by-cell movement of objects and characters. His talent was soon recognized by his coworkers and he became a leader in the animator’s union. In the following year, he met an animator named Akemi Ota who eventually became his wife. He also met the director Isao Takahata in the same year who would play a major role later in some of Miyazaki’s own films.

In 1979, Miyazaki was finally able to direct his first important feature film, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Later in 1982, Miyazaki was asked to direct his second animated film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was the breakthrough film in his career. In this adventure film, Miyazaki created a future world where humanity is close to extinction. The main character princess Nausicaä was based on a manga that he had previously created. Takahata was hired by Miyazaki to be the producer of the film. The success of this film had become well-known among the Japanese audiences and a big influence on other animations. The Takuma production company created Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Yasuyoshi Tokuma. So far, Studio Ghibli has released 18 feature films. In the 1990s, Studio Ghibli had made a deal with Disney allowing them to distribute their animations globally due to financial problems. Since then Hayao Miyazaki has become very popular in western culture and continues to grow.

Today, animation is a booming industry, constantly changing and ever evolving. Where animation giants like Disney and Miyazaki once stepped, industry game-changers like John Lasseter and Tim Burton now walk in their footsteps, constantly revolutionizing the way we create animations.

Animator John Lasseter joined Pixar in the 80’s with a dream of revolutionizing the animation process. He and the Pixar team likely

Animator John Lasseter

Animator John Lasseter

didn’t realize the full scope of their legacy to come. Lasseter created several short films with Pixar, including Luxo Jr. and Tin Toy, until the acquisition of the company by Disney, when they finally had the resources to begin working on Toy Story, the first full-length computer animated film. Now Pixar’s chief creative officer, Lasseter has directed and produced countless computer-animated films at Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. Prior to Pixar, no one had dreamed a full-length animated film would be created without cells and ink. Now, thanks largely to John Lasseter, computer animation is the industry standard.

Of every animation method, stop-motion is certainly the most rigorous and time-consuming, and arguably the most difficult. The process of manipulating objects one frame at a time has been around since the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 30’s that stop-motion began to hit the major cinemas. Famed animator Willis O’Brien combined stop-motion elements with live-action film to bring us classics such as King Kong and The War of the Worlds. But stop-motion was no more than a means for added special effects until 1993 when The Nightmare Before Christmas hit the big screen. Created by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, it was the first full-length fully animated stop-motion film. Burton went on to create many other stop-motion films, including James and the Giant Peach, Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. Selick directed James and the Giant Peach and also went on to direct award-winning stop-motion film Coraline, by LAIKA studios, which also created Paranorman, The Boxtrolls, and the recent Oscar nominee Kubo and the Two Strings.

While animated film is an epic story with a great legacy, the face of animation is shifting even more rapidly on TV. Cartoons have been an entertainment staple since the dawn of television. From Bugs Bunny to Spongebob SquarePants, much of American pop culture has revolved around beloved cartoon characters for generations. The people who bring those characters to life will always have a place of honor in the mythos of entertainment.

Animator - Joseph Barbera

Animator – Joseph Barbera

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, creators of Tom and Jerry, went on to found Hanna-Barbera Productions, which defined an era of cartoons. Yogi Bear, The Flinstones, and The Smurfs are just some of their famous creations. The studio eventually evolved into Cartoon Network, owned by Warner Bros. Animation, which is known most famously for Looney Tunes. These animated shorts originated as starters to entertain guests at the movies, and joined the TV revolution with the invention of the at-home television. Its beloved characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales and many others were most famously brought to life by animator Chuck Jones.

Hanna-Barbera’s rebirth as Cartoon Network in the 90’s ushered in a new generation of cartoons and cartoonists. Some notable names from this era include Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), David Feiss (Cow & Chicken, Ren & Stimpy), Butch Hartman (Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, T.U.F.F. Puppy), Stephen Hillenburg (SpongeBob Squarepants), and Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: The Clone Wars).

This golden age of animation spanned from 1989 to the early 2000’s and was known as the Animation Renaissance. Reflected in both cinematic and television animation alike, it was a booming time for animators everywhere. Disney’s hiring of animator Glen Keane gave them The Little Mermaid, which was a hit, and they began popping out instant classics left and right. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mulan, The Lion King, Hercules, and Tarzan, among others. During this period of time other cinematic animation studios began to rise from Disney’s massive shadow. Former Disney animator Don Bluth created original films such as An American Tail, The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go To Heaven, and DreamWorks Animation joined the transition to CGI from The Prince of Egypt to Shrek.

During this same period of time, it was being proven that cartoons aren’t just for kids. Mat Groening created The Simpsons in 1989. Ten years later, Seth MacFarlane created Family Guy. Today the Fox and Adult Swim networks are full of adult animated comedy—Groening’s Futurama, MacFarlane’s American Dad and The Cleveland Show, Loren Bouchard’s Bob’s Burgers, Adam Reed’s Archer, and many others.

Today the animation industry is alive and well. Cartoon Network still thrives, with shows like Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time and Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe raging in popularity. Studio Ghibli continues to create thought-provoking feature films, like The Red Turtle which was just recently released. And Walt Disney’s legacy is kept alive by Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, where the animators work hard to create more award-winning films every year.







Animators citations –

Animators – “Biography.” IMDb., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2017.

Animators – Brooks, Xan. “Interview: Hayao Miyazaki.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 14 Sept. 2005. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators -“Hayao Miyazaki.” The Hayao Miyazaki Website. Ed. Michael Johnson. Team Ghibli, 4 Sept. 1991. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators – Wilding, Robin. “The Top 100 Most Influential People in Animation.” Animation Career Review, 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators – “” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators -O’Connor, Stuart. “How to Tell a Great Toy Story.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators – “Our Story: The Pixar Timeline 1979-Present.” Pixar. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators – Valentino, Maura. “The History of Stop-Motion Animation.” N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

Animators – “The Renaissance Age of Animation.” TV Tropes. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2017

Animators – Best Practices in Animation

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