Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 01: A Master Creator of Fantasy

On this day in 1931 Albert Hurter began work at the Disney Studios. Born in Zurich, Switzerland (in 1883) Hurter was 48 years-old when Walt (at the time 29) hired him as the studio's first "inspirational sketch artist."
Already well grounded in basic drawing skills, Hurter had first come to the U.S. around 1913. Within a few years he was fully engulfed in the fledgling animation business working for Barre-Bower Animation Studios. Hurter had a knack for replicating action, could draw very quickly, and had a great sense of humor. When he left the studios, he began designing direct mail ads for a printing company.
By 1931 Hurter decided to apply for an animation job at the Disney Studios. Walt saw potential in Hurter - specifically his skill in humorous exaggeration. Hurter's job was to fill sheet after sheet with drawings ... to inspire Walt's animators. Among the animated shorts he influenced - Babes in the Woods, Building a Building, and The Three Little Pigs. He also brought to the studio a European illustration-like style that came in handy for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In fact Walt made Hurter the authority on the look of Snow White. All designs - from characters to rock formations - had to be approved by Hurter! He also established the visual look of Pinocchio and influenced other features that weren't even released during his lifetime (such as Peter Pan).
Sadly his time at the studio was cut short ... as he passed away in 1942 from rheumatic heart disease. Six years later a book of his pencil sketches and doodles titled He Drew As He Pleased was published.

"A master creator of fantasy." -Walt Disney on Albert Hurter

Click HERE for more June 01 Disney history.

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