For 85 years the Walt Disney Company has been giving audiences masterpiece after masterpiece (with a few exceptions here and there) but overall beautiful experiences. In recent years Disney has switched completely to CGI animation with their hand drawn department being shut down in 2013. Most 3D films do have hand drawn animation tests before being made into 3D.
The last major 2D animated film The Princess and the Frog underperformed at the box office, mostly due to releasing around the same time as James Cameron’s Avatar. Since then fans have been wishing and dreaming for a new hand drawn film, with companies like Cartoon Saloon filling in the void. But now that may finally happen, at least in some manner of speaking.
Late last year Disney introduced a 12 month 2D animation training program. Only six out of 2,000 applicants were accepted and this programs included tutelage from Disney veterans on character animation, effects and cleanup.
In a recent interview with Indiewire animation veteran Eric Goldberg talking about the new Sketchbook series for Disney Plus he commented on the 2D animation training program and the possible return of 2D:
“I’ve been campaigning for a long time to train up people in hand-drawn, and, as the CG films became more and more popular, that idea became less and less important to the studio. But now we have an atmosphere and a group of people who recognize that’s part of the legacy here, and to actually have content that requires hand-drawn animation is absolutely great. Thank goodness we have people who can do both here, but to actually commit to training up a new generation is a wonderful thing and I think perfectly appropriate for us.“
Eric also went on to say that there were plans to utilize hand drawn animation in upcoming projects from traditional to 2D-3D hybrids and will be used in both series and feature films.
When Disney was making the 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns they ran into a major roadblock when almost no hand drawn animators were available for the section where Mary and the children enter a 2D world. Disney and to go out of their way to bring back former and even retired animators, this cost them a lot of time and money.
With this new series and training program Disney seems to be looking towards the future in having more than just one style of animation. Teaching a new generation of aspiring artists the old ways of doing things. Imagine if Disney made a new hand drawn film exclusively for Disney Plus, that would definitely bring in some eyeballs.
The brand new Disney Plus series Sketchbook will give a look into how many classic Disney animated films were made by bringing in six Disney animation veterans to show how to draw Disney characters. It is definitely a helpful training tool for those wanting to learn classic Disney animation. It releases on April 27th.
Do you think Disney will bring back hand drawn animation? What kind of movies or shows do you want to see them do in this style?
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.