Monday, July 9, 2018

Woolie's Student Life Drawings

I am always thrilled to do a post on Woolie Reitherman, because there isn't a whole lot of his art available, at auctions or elsewhere. 
Years before he animated Timothy, the mouse in Disney's Dumbo, Woolie attended art classes at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1932 and 1933. (He was hired by Disney on July 31, 1933).

Here are a few samples of his life drawings from that time. I see a student who is in search of anatomy, form and motion, but also in search of a personal style.
A great start to a legendary career in animation.

In 1937 Walt Disney became involved with Chouinard by offering classes in animation, taught by top talent from the studio. In later years Ward Kimball and Marc Davis would join the faculty.

In 1961 Chouinard and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music merged into the then brand new California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), located in Valencia, north of Los Angeles.

Drawings/Bob Reitherman, brochure pages/Howard Lowery.


  1. I think I recognize the pink page as a study from the Bridgman book. I might be wrong, but if not, it's pretty cool that people are still studying the same thing today!
    It's always cool to see these guys' early or non-animation work, and kind of reassuring that they weren't super-masters from day one

  2. Thank you for sharing the article and the pictures with us!:-)
    Most of all I like studies in action.
    I read verry often that it can be helpful for someone with big ambitions but less money and no chance for an art education to take a sketchbook and a pencil and go out into the world and draw, draw, draw.

    But I think if you want to draw a nude of your darling and you never do this before...
    The girls in the playboy magazines and Michelangelos men can be much more uncomplaining. :-D