Thanks to Disney for hooking me up with Pixie Dust to fly to this amazing event!
When Styles started taking career interest tests, he kept getting Archivist. I didn’t even know that was a thing or what archivists did, but I’ve had the opportunity to meet several of them in the past two months. Once in San Fransisco at the Pixar Archives, and again at the Disney Animation Research Library.
Being around so many pieces of delicate art from so many talented artists is quite an experience. Talking with the people who handle and archive this stuff on a daily basis really elevated the tour. Maybe it’s because I’m an artist, maybe it’s because I love all things Disney, maybe it was their raw energy related to these artifacts.
Whatever it was, I was enamored.
The Disney Animation Research Library is hallowed space. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the building, geotag it, or have pens. Pen is permanent, pencil is temporary. They don’t want anyone to mar any of the delicate works of art within their walls.
There are over 65 Million pieces of artwork within the walls of the Disney Animation Research Library, and the building isn’t even that large. The team is hard at work cataloguing every piece of artwork using databases and photographs of every piece. It can take up to a whole year to catalog a feature length movie.
The care involved in making that happen is astounding. I think I’d be constantly anxious about ruining something if I worked there. Or maybe I’d love working there so much I wouldn’t even notice.
The cast members who work at the Disney ARL laid out many pieces of Peter Pan artwork to commemorate the 55th anniversary of this beloved film. There were different types of concept art, sketches, and painted cels for our viewing pleasure.
What about Humidity?
There are also eleven temperature and humidity controlled rooms that contain delicate works, character maquettes, and statutes that animators use as character and space study as they animate.
The photography team at the Disney ARL is busy at work photographing around 1000 works of art each day. They only photograph pieces that are on relatively standard sizes of paper. Anything larger gets scanned in by a different team.
Unfortunately for you, the Disney ARL is not open to the public. I hope you enjoyed reading more about it here and seeing these beautiful works of art from Disney’s Peter Pan!
Check out some of the original artwork we saw, then grab the 55th Anniversary Edition of Peter Pan which flies onto shelves June 5th!