Book Review: Marc Davis, Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man / by J. Logan Carey

Time for another art book review!

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I’ll be totally honest, after we got back from our Disney World honeymoon, I went a little nuts. I bought a whole slew of Disney art books because I was so inspired by the whole world of entertainment created and built on art. I never even really thought I was much of a Disney guy, but there’s a lot of really fun concepts amidst all the fluff and shiny colors.

For the first book in my Disney library, let’s talk about Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man (amazon link).

The book itself is a nice oversized hardcover book with lots of illustrations to look at. The late Davis was an artist at Disney that had a very flexible aptitude in being able to work on animation, concept art, character design, story, and helped design many of the most recognizable attractions in Disneyland as well. This was a rarity as most of the artists focused their talents on one particular area.

The book tells of Davis’ life and how much art played a central role. He was painting early in his life, always sketching, taught art, learned animation, created concept art, kept visual journals of his and his wife’s travels around the world, and also left his mark on fine art with a focus on painting later in life. His story was incredibly inspiring for me. The man just loved to make art, loved to draw, and never quit. There are pages of sketches from football games he watched on television, everything was a worthy subject for his drawing. Something I’ve tried to keep in the forefront of my mind as I always seem to be asking myself, “what should I draw?”.

Some of his work I loved the most were his concept pieces for attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion as you can see below. To think that some of these scenes that are interwoven with the American psyche were born from the imagination of one man is incredible. As the book is pretty cheap (currently $12.99) I can definitely recommend picking it up for your own library if you want to see more of the concept work behind the famous rides of Disney parks around the world.

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