Clean. Simple. Stylish. Three words that could easily describe the artwork within the covers of An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters. This beautiful collection of iconic characters spans the entirety of Disney history. What’s more impressive is that they are all drawn by one hand. This book started as a special project for a new restaurant within Shanghai Disneyland. At first, the idea was to have different artists draw the different characters that would grace the walls in this new place, but instead they decided to go with one artist who would bring a consistency to the restaurant that would permeate throughout. When David Bossert was approached by the folks at Shanghai Disneyland about who could do this project, David thought of one artist – Eric Goldberg.
Eric and David have been friends for many years which meant David also knew that Eric would be a great fit for this project. And David was right. The pictures produced were both a reflection of the artist and also of the style the team was hoping for. With Shanghai Disneyland set to open this year on June 16th, it will be fun to see these pictures in person.
David Bossert is a long-time veteran of Walt Disney Animation Studios and is the head of Special Projects. He has an impressive resume of his own and on top of having been an animator, producer, and director now adds author to his list of accomplishments.
David, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of our questions about this beautiful book. You are an accomplished animator, producer, and director who has worked on some amazing films including Aladdin, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and one of my favorites The Little Mermaid among many others. How did your career lead you to become an author and in your role with Special Projects do you still get to occasionally do some animation?
I have always held the belief that, in whatever you do for a career, you should always be growing and learning. That’s what is exciting about working on so many different projects over the years. And yes, occasionally I do jump on the board and do some animation once in a while.
But, if you asked me five or ten years ago about writing a book I wouldn’t have thought that was in my wheelhouse. Yet, it was suggested to me and I gave it a shot with some wonderful help from my editor. No only did I write that first book, Remembering Roy E. Disney: Memories and Photos of a Storied Life, but I have now published three books with more on the way. It has not only been a terrific learning experience, but an enjoyable one as well.
What is the process like in putting together a book like An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg? Once you received approval for the idea, how long did it take to put it together into a book and then for it to see print?
An Animator’s Gallery: Eric Goldberg Draws the Disney Characters was, what I call, an accidental book. It was never planned but rather grew out of a project that the special projects group was tasked with for Shanghai Disneyland. I had asked Eric to do a series of drawings for a restaurant venue at the new park and when he was done there was this magnificent body of work. In looking at it all in context there was only a handful of characters missing that I asked Eric to do. That allowed there to be at least one character each representing all fifty-four features from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Big Hero 6. And with that, it was a no-brainer to pitch the book project to Disney Worldwide Publishing.
How did you select which images would get a full page treatment versus sharing space with other images on the page? Two selections got special treatment – the Lady and the Tramp suite and the Tangled suite. Why those in particular versus other multiple frame images?
We worked with a very talented designer named Tamara Khalaf and she really organized and laid-out the book. We only had so many pages to work with so some the pages had to have multiple images. Lady and the Tramp and Tangled just seemed like naturals for the foldout pages. There was only budget for two foldouts because they are costly to do. If there wasn’t a limit, I wish we could have done 101 Dalmatians and Toy Story.
You mentioned in the book that you had to adopt an aggressive schedule to meet the September 2013 deadline for the restaurant and that would mean Eric would have to draw two images a day, every day throughout summer and fall. Could you put into perspective for the average person why two drawings a day would be difficult?
It takes Eric a bit of time to rough out the character and the pose that he wants the character to be in. That takes more time than you might think because he needs to reference model sheets and some characters are just more difficult than others to draw. Once the drawing is roughed out, Eric then has to do the final images with an India-Ink pen. That is permanent and there is no margin for error. If he does make a mistake he has to start over. Fortunately Eric is such a pro there were very few mistakes.
Of all the characters in the book, which ones are your favorites and why?
Frankly, I love just about every drawing in the book. For me, the foldouts are so much fun and little surprises that the reader discovers the first time through the book. I also adore the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit model sheet primarily because one never really existed before.
Can you share with us which restaurant we can see these drawings showcased at in the new Shanghai Disneyland? What type of restaurant will it be? You mentioned it will have that “Hollywood Brown Derby” feel to it. Might we see Eric’s drawings in our own Brown Derby replica at Walt Disney World?
Many of the drawings in the book will be showcased in a dining room as part of a larger casual dining area in the Mickey Avenue area of the new park. I don’t know if there are any plans to deploy the drawings anywhere else at this point. I do know that there is a fine art print series being done through Collector’s Editions, so signed art prints are available.
Thank you so much David for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions! We look forward to more interesting books from you in the future!