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With the release of new its documentary, Disney’s Sketchbook marks a new era of animation for the studio.

Disney’s “Sketchbook” reintroduces 2D to the studio

May 10, 2022

Disney’s new Disney+ documentary, Sketchbook, brings audiences into the world of the studio’s talented artists. For over a decade, Walt Disney Animation Studios has been dedicated to producing high-quality CGI animated films, from the first hit Toy Story to the recently acclaimed Encanto. However, Sketchbook reintroduces fans to traditional 2D animation as the studio augments the technique to the franchise once again. 

Sketchbook | Official Trailer | Disney+

Sketchbook is a 6-episode documentary series, acting as a guide to drawing Walt Disney Animation Studios’ most beloved animated characters. With each character, viewers intimately experience not only the drawing process but the featured artist behind each one respectively. The series stars studio artists Gabby Capili, Hyun Min Lee, Eric Goldberg, Jin Kim, Samantha Villefort, and Mark Henn. 

One of the documentary’s featured artists, Eric Goldberg, was the lead animator of Disney Aladdin’s beloved Genie. Aladdin was a hand-drawn film, using 2D animation techniques, which Goldberg sincerely appreciates. Within his episode, Goldberg tells the story of his journey with animation as a medium. Goldberg has always been passionate about creating animations and moving illustrations on paper. 

As showcased in Episode 3, Eric Goldberg worked closely on the hand-drawn animation and design for Disney’s Aladdin.

However, over the last decade, 2D animation at Walt Disney Studios has declined, with the last 2D animated film being Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in 2009. This transition to 3D only rapidly increased after the success of Disney’s Frozen

To the excitement of 2D fans, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced the return of hand-drawn animation following the release of Sketchbook. Goldberg remains one of the technique’s most eager and dedicated supporters, as exclaimed in an interview with IndieWire, “… 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,” says Goldberg. 

Even for casual fans who enjoy Disney’s films like any other, this transition back into the studio’s roots is exciting news.

“I always loved Disney movies when I was younger. I still remember seeing my favorites for the first time, which were hand-drawn, so it is nice to see them doing it again!” says AHN Junior, Cameron Capaz (’23).  

The legacy of Walt Disney Animation Studios is a meaningful, special one. As articulated by Walt Disney, “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive,”. The addition of 2D back to the studio only expands the avenues of creativity the artists at Disney can take for future projects. For almost a century, Disney Animation has created incredible films that capture its magic for many. With a new path opened up, the studio has a bright future ahead of it. 

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  • JackieMay 13, 2022 at 8:47 am

    Perfect example of how going back to the “basics” can often propel us forward!

  • pipMay 12, 2022 at 10:41 am

    wow you just persuaded me to watch it! so excited!