Preston BlairOccupation / Title:
24/10/1908Date of death:
When Preston worked in animation, he accomplished many notable achievements. Preston Started as a fine artist and exhibited in the California Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society in New York. Blair’s animation career began in 1931 when he began work with Walter Lantz’s studio where he helped draw the series Oswald the Rabbit.
He switched over to Disney studios on October 18, 1937. There, he worked on many three-strip Technicolor sequences and scenes from popular full-length features. He stayed there four years, leaving on September 12, 1941. During his stay, he designed and animated the hippos in the “Dance of the Hours” and animated Mickey from the “Sorcerers Apprentice” sequences from Fantasia (notably in the Whirpool scene). He also animated on the other Disney classics, Pinocchio and Bambi.
He accepted an offer MGM where he was the animator working under Tex Avery. He designed Red Hot Riding Hood from the Avery shorts. He also produced commercials, educational films, and half hour cartoon episodes like The Flintstones. He also put out his book through Walter Foster on how to animate which is the most popular book on animation, along with the Richard Williams book.
Family and early life
Preston was born in Redlands California and spent his whole life in Southern California working for 50 years on animation.
Preston’s style is marked by a solidity of volumes, combined with expressive squash and stretch. His draftsmanship was of the top order. On animating “Red Hot Riding Hood” “Blair is quick to point out that contrary to some reports, the Girl-so sexy, so real- was not rotoscoped, but created entirely from his own artistic imagination. As a former illustrator, he was accustomed to creating the illusion of reality, even when, as in this case, it was achieved by breaking anatomical rules and using cartoon license.” (p. 289 Leonard Maltin, “Of Mice and Magic”, 1980)
Honors and awards
Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1985
- “Cartoon Animation”, by Preston Blair. Published by Walter Foster
- Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.
- Maltin, Leonard. Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980.
- Solomon, Charles. The History of Animation: Enchanted Drawings. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1994.