I joined Walt Disney, went to work, December 2nd 1935, so obviously, I'm not too young!
It wasn't a problem for me drawing humans although I had originally come to the studio with the idea that what I had to offer them was my knowledge in the drawing of animals.
Disney had made such a great deal of money on Snow White that the banks gave him the go-ahead on the next three films. But he was heavily dependent on the foreign market.
His feeling was the name Walt Disney represented all of us. Walt was hanging by his teeth financially and really I think he was for most of his career. Not at all like today.
Throughout my career, when I was finished with the drawing for one film I would go up to the story department and help develop sequences. Sometimes these were for scenes that I would animate later on.
The first professional training I received of any kind was when I was 14 years old and we were in Kansas City, Missouri. I attended the Kansas City Art Institute for one summer.
Some of these sketches were done at the very beginning of the Pirates project, when I was trying to find a direction for myself. That was the early sixties… maybe 61 or 62.
Later, my father died up in Marysville. So, my mother and I got in the car and came down to Hollywood.
There is something I feel when I animate something; you can never really understand the character you're animating unless you've had the opportunity to turn it around. Once you've done that, you know it is a three-dimensional object.
Yes, the first job I had at the studio was Snow White. I don't like the term particularly, but I got stuck with the human characters. They just didn't have that many people who could draw humans.
Drawing is giving a performance; an artist is an actor who is not limited by the body, only by his ability and, perhaps, experience.
At that time, the people that were in the animated film business were mostly guys who were unsuccessful newspaper cartoonists. In other words, their ability to draw living things was practically nil.
Before I got through high school I had attended 22 different schools. In the time before I was well acquainted with the latest school, I would amuse myself by drawing and found that I was pretty good at it.
I had some connections from the newspapers that I did work with up there, so there was a newspaper publisher in Hollywood, and they promised me work and so on.