Have you seen Google’s doodle today? Looks very whimsical and child-like right? That’s because this 21st of October, Google commemorates the birthday of Mary Blair, one of the best illustrators Disney’s ever had.
Blair was known to introduce a modern art style to Walt Disney Studios.
Born in McAlester, Oklahoma, in 1911, the inherently gifted artist won a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. After graduation in 1933, at the height of the Depression, Mary took a job in the animation unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) rather than pursue her dream of a fine arts career.
In 1940, she joined The Walt Disney Studios and worked on a number of projects, including the never-produced “Baby Ballet,” part of a proposed second version of “Fantasia.” (Walt’s original idea was to periodically re-release “Fantasia” with new sequences.)
In 1941, she joined the Disney expedition that toured South America for three months and painted watercolors that so captured the spirit of the Latin countries that she was named art supervisor on “The Three Caballeros” and “Saludos Amigos.” Mary’s unique color and styling greatly influenced such Disney postwar productions as “Song of the South,” “Make Mine Music,” “Melody Time,” “So Dear to My Heart,” “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad,” “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Peter Pan.” She also contributed to special shorts, including “The Little House” and “Susie, the Little Blue Coupe.” She also illustrated a number of children’s books.
As Disney Imagineering artist Roland Crump once told animation historian John Canemaker, “The way she (Mary) painted – in a lot of ways she was still a little girl. Walt was like that… You could see he could relate to children – she was the same way.”
Google pays homage to Mary Blair today, on the 100th anniversary of her birth.
Source: Disney Insider