Animation has fascinated me since I first became interested in it back in 1920, while working as a cartoonist in Kansas City, Missouri.
My fascination grew as I realized here was a new means of expression—an unlimited storytelling medium.
Many cartoon characters had taken shape on my drawing board. Here at last, I felt, was a chance, as Mr. Webster has it, “to impart life to; to inspire with energy or action; to enliven” these figures by putting them on motion picture film.
Perhaps the best known of these is Mickey Mouse.
Mickey’s universal appeal brought the recognition we needed and paved the way for expansion. We began to grow, to develop new ideas. We began to see a new horizon for animation; not merely a medium for cartooning broad caricatures, gags, and comic situations, but also as a means of bringing life and motion to fine illustration.
The Silly Symphonies were our proving ground to this end, and a springboard to the animated feature. The first was Snow White. Its success proved animation was becoming a fine art.
The following years found us constantly searching for ways to improve our art, our techniques. Each new film presented fresh problems to be solved only by trial and error.
There were many errors, and failures, but we learned. From what we learned, we believe, our standards of production improved with each succeeding picture.
Now, after six years of labor and creation, we have completed our most ambitious effort to date: the feature-length production of Sleeping Beauty.
For this film, our artists have developed new styles, new designs, new concepts.
They have advanced the art of animation to a point where it can truly be called “the art of living, moving paintings.”
- WALT DISNEY
From the 1958 The Art of Animation booklet