The Home of the Creative Mind
Monday, September 16, 2013
There are a lot of Disney movies I could put into this compilation of blockbusters. In fact, I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one. Because Disney’s were family-oriented films, most Americans would report that their first theatrical movie experience was from his studios. I was lucky. My first movie was The Jungle Book. Filled with memorable songs and highly charismatic animal characters, it had a very strong influence on this soon-to-be artist. Bill Peet had a strong influence on how these characters looked, but he had a falling out with Walt Disney during its production and, after 27 years with Disney, left the studio to write and draw children’s books. I was fortunate to have read his books when I was little. Peet’s drawings have continued to have a strong influence on me. Decades later I visited the Chicago Art Institute with my friend and fellow illustrator John Schmelzer and had the chance to see an exhibit of Peet’s work. Both of us were amazed at the man’s talent. The exhibit said that Peet kept all the fan mail he received from his readers. That warmed my heart, as I wondered if one of those letters was mine.