Ink & Paint the Women of Walt Disney’s Animation by Mindy Johnson is much more than the title says. This hefty hardcover book weighs in at over 6lbs and measures 10.4×13.4. Within the 380+ pages Mindy shines a light on the many women who have played a role in bringing the films we all enjoy to life. She takes the reader on a detailed trip through time looking at the evolution of women in the American Workplace as well as a look at how the Disney animation process grew and changed over the years. She discusses the new advances in technique and process and the ebb and flow of the studio workforce and culture. This is shown in context with how the American culture changed over the decades too.
The book starts off with a look at Walt Disney and the women in his life, he had quite few at home with two daughters and his wife, plus other relatives and those at the studio. Then each decade from the 1920s and the humble beginnings of the Disney Brothers Studio on Kingswell through the 1980s and the transition to digital processes is featured in a section. Within each key milestones in the world and animation are discussed to give context to the events happening within the studio. The key films and shorts from the decade are discussed as well as how the animation process worked and changed as the studio matured over time. Women’s roles and contributions are shared through numerous stories, sidebars, and callouts as well as the primary narrative. Each section wraps up with a brief blurb about what was happening at other studios at the time as well as Disney Family Life during that decade.
Mindy presents this vast research in a very accessible format and provides context, background and interesting tidbits throughout. I really enjoyed this book. The large number of topics covered over such a long timeline made for a vast amount of historical knowledge to consume and now reference. I found this to a be a slow read because of the breadth and depth of the material and me wanting to look at the large number of photographs and art pieces inserted throughout.
If you are an animation history buff or just looking to learn more about the process or the role women have played over the years you will Ink & Paint The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation a worthwhile addition to your library.