It may be hard to believe now, but Sleeping Beauty actually bombed in its theatrical release. (I’m offended!) Many had advised Disney to shut down the animation department due to the financial risks, but thankfully, that crazy old man refused. Eventually, the company was able to find a way to still make films by using a process called xerography to cut the costs.
Now this is my favorite era of Disney animation! Most like the Golden Age, or the Disney Renaissance, but I adore the hand-drawn, sketchy look of this period. There is a certain amount of charm when you can see what the artist once created with his hand. You can see what was physically drawn. 101 Dalmatians was the first movie where rotoscoping was not used for the human movement – they were drawn free-hand!
All in all, this began a very artistic style of animation. To cut costs, the department had to get creative. When you’re forced to get creative, great things can happen. So, Sleeping Beauty, thank you for failing! Because if you hadn’t, we wouldn’t have these inventive and imaginative classics, including the likes of The Sword in the Stone, The Rescuers, and my favorite, Robin Hood.
In homage to the greats, I worked on three 101 Dalmatians-inspired sketches.