Monday, March 30, 2009

Mickey Mouse model sheet

This original india ink model sheet sold at the last Hake's Americana auction. According to the auction description, this model sheet was created circa December 1929 and was used until the fall of 1931. The images on the sheet were used as guidelines for the creation of graphics on a multitude of items ranging from press releases, to domestic and foreign merchandise.


The art was attributed to Les Clark, who would have drawn the images, and Win Smith, who would have inked the drawings. Clark was hired by Disney in 1927 fresh out of high sc
hool. He later become one of the famed "nine old men." Smith worked on the early Mickey Mouse newspaper strips.


All images courtesy Hake's Americana.

UPDATE: April 6, 2009

This just in from my good friend Gunnar Andreassen, who lives in Norway. Gunna
r sent me some great scans of items in his collection, which feature Mickey illustrations copied from the model sheet in this post.

First up are a series of illustrations found in the British Mickey Mouse Annual 1931:





The second set of scans Gunnar emailed to me were used to illustrate an article titled, "The Only Unpaid Movie Star," which was published in the March 1931 issue of The American Magazine:



You can see that most of the illustrations used in the annual and the magazine article were direct copies off the model sheet, while at least one image of Mickey, in the "Introducing Mickey & Minnie" illustration was slight altered - Mickey sports a not so pronounced toothy grin and his tail is slight different.

I want to publicly thank Gunnar for sharing these images with me. Gunnar has also been helping me locate images and information for a big post we are co-writing on the history of Disney's early Hyperion studio. We have amassed some great images and background, which I'm sure readers of this blog will enjoy. Look for this exciting post in the near future!