Walt Stanchfield was born in 1919 in Los Angeles, California. He is listed as animator on Winnie the Pooh and
the Blustery Day, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound (coordinating
animator), Micky's Christmas Carol (creative collaboration), The Black Cauldron (key animation coordinator), The Great Mouse Detective (coordinating animator), Roger Rabbit (animation consultant) and Oliver & Company (production assistant). He continued with Disney in later years, advising and teaching classes. Mr. Stanchfield died September 3, 2000.
Walt Stanchfield taught Gesture Classes for Disney. He created illustrated handouts for the artists in his class with some quotations that are as inspiring as they are practical. I am making bookmarks from the quotes and illustrations to hand out to my students to mark the homework sections of their sketchbooks or any other readings.
From Walt Stanchfield Gesture Drawing for Animation, "Go for the truth" essay.
Observe, Observe, Observe Handout by Walt Stanchfield
Animation! This is the vehicle you have chosen to express yourself in. A whole list of "tools" are required: drawing, timing, phrasing, action, acting, pantomime, staging, imagination, observation, interpretation, logic, caricature, creativity, clarity, empathy, and so on—a mind boggling array of prerequisites.
Rest at ease. You were born with all of them. Some of them may need a little sharpening, others may need to be awakened as from a deep sleep, but they are as much a part of you as arms, legs, eyes, kidneys, hemoglobin, and speech.
Driving force behind the action Handout by Walt Stanchfield
Leonardo da Vinci wrote: ‘Build a figure in such a way that its pose tells what is in the soul of it. A gesture is a movement not of a body but of a soul.’ Walt Disney reminded us of this when he spoke of the driving force behind the action:
‘In other words, in most instances, the driving force behind the action is the mood, the personality, the attitude of the character—or all three.’
Gesture Handout by Walt Stanchfield
Gesture is the vehicle used in fitting a character into the role it is called upon to act out.
The Essence Handout by Walt Stanchfield
The word essence ... applied to drawing it is the motive, mood or emotion as displayed through the gestures of the physical body. Anatomy and mechanics are always present too, but in the end the essence of each pose must prevail if we want to win the award for best animated scenes. Lots of things to think about: proportion, anatomy, line, structure, weight, negative space, angles, squash and stretch, perspective, and more, but you can be off in lots of those areas if you have the essence of the pose. A little study each day spent on one or another of them will net wondrous results.
Go for the truth Handout by Walt Stanchfield
Anatomy is a vital tool in drawing—but don't mesmerize yourself into thinking that knowing the figure is going to
make an artist of you. What is going to make an artist out of you is a combination of a few basic facts about the body, a few basic principles of drawing and an extensive, obsessive desire and urge to express your feelings and impressions.
The artist's sketchbook Handout by Walt Stanchfield
Sketching is to the artist what shadow boxing is to a boxer, keyboard practice is to a concert pianist, practice is to a tennis player, or a participant in any sport (or endeavor). Artists and cartoonists swear by sketching as a necessary part of an artist's daily ventures (adventures).
The artist's sketchbook Handout by Walt Stanchfield
Realize that the human body is like a dynamo, it is an energy producing machine. The more you use up its energy, the more it produces. A work-related pastime like sketching is a positive activity. Inactivity, especially in your chosen field, is a negative. Negativity is heavy, cumbersome, debilitating, unproductive and totally to be avoided. Take a positive step today. Buy a sketch book and a pen (more permanent than pencil), make a little rectangle on the page and fill it with a simple composition. Don't think or speak negatively about it. If it is not as satisfying a start as you would have liked, don't be critical — that's where you are — face it. Just turn the page and start another. All those faculties that are required to make a more satisfying sketch are being awakened—even now—as you search for a new subject and begin to sketch. No one else in the universe would have drawn it quite like you. If you think you'd like to do better, make another, and another, and another. Keep the first ones. Watch the growth of both your facility and your interest. Put an end to limiting yourself by drawing nothing... Activate the potential ... of the mind.
Finding the Abstract Handout by Walt Stanchfield
I keep searching for a shortcut to learning how to draw, but as Ollie Johnston used to say of drawing, “It ain’t easy.” Try to look for the overall abstract shape. I use the word abstract here in the sense of a summary—a brief statement of the essential elements. I sketched these abstracted shapes of some familiar (male) body types.
Handout by Walt Stanchfield
"Draw ideas, not things; action, not poses; gestures not anatomical structures." - W. Stanchfield
Commentary on Walt Stanchfield's comment by Ed Hooks
This is one of the few areas in which stage actors have an advantage over animators. A stage actor has part of the battle won simply because he showed up at the party. He is already alive, and the audience recognizes that instantly. This fact - self evident though it may be - is the foundation upon which the entire theatrical transaction rests. An animator must endow a character on a cell or computer monitor the illusion of life.
--Hooks, Ed. (2009). Acting for Animators. http://www.actingforanimators.com/News/newslett/0906.html