Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man

Oh, here we are with another Disney related post! I have apartment shooting slated for this week, however next week is creeping up on me faster than I thought! And we return to Portland next week for Expo/Patrick’s work/a friend’s wedding. So I must get that in order, in addition to dealing with some other more dull matters regarding the move. I also have my Halloween costume to share with you! And I hope to have that post up within the week too! But for now, here’s a mega Disney geek post!

One of my favorite Disney artists is Marc Davis. If you don’t follow Disney animation or Disney Imagineering history, the name Marc Davis may not mean a whole lot. But if you have enjoyed such Disney animated classics as Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, or visited Disneyland and laughed at the poor trapped African safari on the Jungle Cruise or enjoyed the happy haunts of the Haunted Mansion, then you have seen Marc Davis’ work. Marc Davis was one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men,” who were the core team of animation for Disney. Many would go on to direct and some would go on to work at Disneyland as Imagineers. Marc Davis laid pen the paper and brought to life many of our beloved animated characters, including Tinker Bell, Maleficent, and Cruella De Vil and later went on to do work for attractions at Disneyland. Recently Disney published a book covering Marc Davis’ work, Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man, and over the weekend Disneyland hosted a signing of the book with several of its contributing authors and Alice Davis, Marc Davis’ wife, who also did work for Disney.

Alice Davis is another favorite Disney legend of mine. We have her to thank for the darling costumes the children of “it’s a small world” are wearing, and the wide array of costumes seen in Pirates of the Caribbean, including the beloved redhead in the auction scene, in fact, many of the scenes throughout Pirates were originally conceived by Marc Davis in concept, and this Alice smoothed out the edges in costume design and construction.

While a short book, it covers Marc Davis’ childhood, self-taught drawing skills that he honed at the zoo, followed by his entry into Disney, working his way to Imagineering. The book showcases a wide range of his work, everything from early portraits to life sketches to animation drawings to concept art for attractions and most surprisingly his stunning abstract art. Alice Davis receives a small section in the back, showcasing some of her early non-Disney costume sketches, as well as those done for “it’s a small world”.

For those who have helped Disneyland become what it is today, by creating memorable moments for families every day, a special honor is receiving a window on Main Street. For those who may be unaware, next time you walk down Main Street take a look up at the windows. Each and every name you see is a real person who had a hand in creating the magic. Both Marc and Alice Davis have windows on Main Street, side-by-side, of course.

It was a true pleasure to meet Alice Davis, as well as many more, including Don Hahn, who was very active in Disney animation during the 80s and 90s, and was involved in the documentary covering that time period, Waking Sleeping Beauty.

Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man is available at the Disneyland Resort, as well as on Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man

  1. Hi,
    Thanks to your blog post on the Fur and Feathers luncheon. We in the great mid-west was truly inspired and held our own Fur and Feathers luncheon this past Saturday. You can read about it here http://ofdustandwonder.blogspot.com/?m=0 I’m the one wearing navy blue.

    Vintage here is not very well known. Its a super hidden gem in the city, one has to actively web search Vintage events, which is a crying shame. I am to remedy this, my goal is to break people out of their “I am I the only one here into vintage”. And those whom I met hopefully change their “I refuse to socialize with other vintage enthusiast attitude”.
    Again huge thank you to you, Julie, and Solanah for the awesome inspiration.

  2. That’s amazing. There was a man that went to my church that did some artwork for Disney, I wish I could remember his name. He was a very interesting man and my youth group went to his home one time and chatted with him for awhile.

  3. How truly wonderful that you got a chance to meet and chat with Alice. The romantic in me dearly loves that both she and her husband worked side-by-side for Disney at the same time and in a collaborative manner to boot.

    ♥ Jessica

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