Released in theaters in January 1959, Walt Disney’s 16th animated feature film Sleeping Beauty is an iconic element in the annals of Disney film history. At a cost of $6 million, Disney’s most expensive film at the time, Sleeping Beauty took roughly seven years to make and would be the last film to utilize hand inked background cells. Despite these figures, Sleeping Beauty is most recognized for it’s unique and highly stylized backgrounds. Intricately detailed through the strong use of color and recognizable shapes, thematic elements merge to create backgrounds reminiscent of medieval tapestries. These backgrounds were the product of artistic visionary Eyvind Earle, a name familiar to many Disney fans. But who is Eyvind Earl, and how did he come to work in the field of animation?
In the newly published book from The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle, the reader is able to gain a better understanding of Eyvind Earle the man and artist. Published in correlation with The Walt Disney Family Museum’s exhibit of the same name, Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle is a beautiful coffee table book authored by the exhibit’s curator, Ioan Szasz a personal friend to Earle and the CEO of Eyvind Earle Publishing. The book is organized into three main parts; early life and work, the Walt Disney Studios, and commercial and late work. The graphic images of Earle’s work grace the pages in vivid color giving the reader a sampling of the artist’s rich portfolio. Interspersed with descriptive and concise biographical information, images and words create a flowing story.
Personally, I found this book fascinating. Outside of his work on Sleeping Beauty, I knew nothing of Earle’s work or life story, and I’ll admit that the only reason I originally purchased this book was because of his work with the Walt Disney Studios. However, I have gained a deep appreciation of the man and artist.
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