The family of Clair Weeks (Marc Davis' assistant on Bambi and Peter Pan) brought an amazing booklet to us at the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive for digitization. It's an illustrated "tryout book" from 1938, given to artists interested in applying to work for the Disney Studios.Link
It outlines the various job functions of the production process as they existed when Disney was at its creative peak. Those in the animation business will instantly spot the differences between then and now...
• STORY MEN must be able to draw. The stories are not written but are visualized in sketch form.
• THE DIRECTOR must have complete knowledge of every phase of animation, have executive ability and outstanding dramatic talent. He must be familiar with practically all of the Arts.
• All inking and painting of celluloids... is perfomed exclusively by a large staff of girls known as Inkers and Painters... This is the only department in the Disney Studio open to women artists.
This comment is amazingly far-sighted for 1938:
• TELEVISION, although in its infancy opens up a vast field of entertainment. Tests already made prove that of all subjects capable of projection, none can equal in clarity of transmission, the Disney Cartoons.
The book concludes with a drawn exercise the artist was supposed to complete and mail in to the studio for review. This is a real time capsule!
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects