Disney circa 1938: “Artists who do it quickly”

I liked this vignette from a remembrance of Ralph Cleason Miller by his son, Lynn, both of whom founded the publication  “Small Farmer’s Journal” about thirty years ago.  It appears in the Spring 2011 edition of this large-format print magazine.

Ralph Miller was born on a farm in Wisconsin and showed some artistic ability.     When Ralph was 21 in 1938, he left home.  He went to Burbank, California:

to answer a magazine ad calling for cartoonists.   There he was amongst hundreds who were interviewed by Walt Disney. Dad was given a blank tablet and instructed to draw a ball on each page, showing the increments of it falling and bouncing.  The object was to have a finished pad you could flip through to see “animation.”  When, at the end of a long day of meticulous rendering and shading, he handed it in the judge said, “You’ve done an outstanding job.  Everything is so realistically shaded, but we need to find artists who can do it quickly. ”  Dad went searching for other work. 

Disney was an early render farm in its pre-Pixar days but processing time even then meant something.