Marc Davis was hired be Disney studios in 1935, and his application portfolio
showed already that he was an expert at drawing animals.
As an art student Marc would visit the local zoos early in the morning before opening time. He had made a deal with zoo management, in return for this special treatment Marc would leave an occasional sketch for the animal keepers.
He told some of us much later:" It is during the early morning hours when the animals are most active. They are being fed and move around, and this makes for interesting study of motion and behavior."
In the afternoons Marc went to libraries and studied animal anatomy from books.
When I saw these animal sketchbooks for the first time, I was struck not only by the beauty but also by the cohesiveness of the drawings.
What I mean by that is, because of Marc's strong observation and thorough
knowledge of the inner structure of the animal, these sketches look like they are ready to be animated. Just like in good model sheets, everything is worked out.
You can see clearly how the bodies are functioning mechanically, and of course
there is also a feeling for the essence of the animal.
It is ironic that Marc didn't get to animate many animals during his career,
but that's because he had a terrific knack for drawing humans as well.