See How Disney Animators Draw Characters on ‘Sketchbook’ on Disney+

When my family visits Disney’s California Adventure, one of our favorite attractions is the Animation Academy. There, a Disney artist teaches guests how to draw various characters from Disney movies. Each guest is given a drawing board with some paper and a pencil. The artist walks everyone through the step-by-step process of bringing a character onto the paper. We have drawn many different characters over the years and it is fun to look at the drawings from years past, especially to see how they have improved as our children grew. Now the same experience is available outside of the Disney Parks as the artists are coming to you when Sketchbook begins streaming on Disney+.

Samantha Vilfort has been a Story Artist with Disney Animation for four years, working on Ralph Breaks the Internet and Frozen 2. In this episode of ‘Sketchbook’ she draws Mirabel, the star of Encanto. (Disney/Richard Harbaugh)

What Is Sketchbook?

Sketchbook is an intimate instructional documentary series. It takes viewers onto the desks and into the lives of talented artists and animators. Each episode focuses on a single artist teaching how to draw a single iconic character from a Walt Disney Animation Studios film. As you learn the steps to drawing these characters, the artists share their unique stories to tell about how they made their way to Disney and their chosen character. Sketchbook is directed by Jason Sterman, Leanne Dare, and Andrew McAllister. It is from the creators of Chef’s Table with executive producers Jason Sterman, David Gelb, and Brian McGinn from Supper Club and Amy Astley from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The 6-part series begins streaming on Wednesday, April 27th on Disney+.

Hyun-Min Lee is the supervising animator of “Anna” in Disney’s Frozen 2, as well as one of the people who helped design “Olaf.” Born in South Korea, her dream was to become a Disney animator. In this episode of ‘Sketchbook’ she draws the character Olaf. (Disney/Richard Harbaugh)

Here is the content for each episode:

Related Post
  • Episode 1: Gabby Capili draws Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove
  • Episode 2: Hyun-Min Lee draws Olaf from Frozen
  • Episode 3: Eric Goldberg draws Genie from Aladdin
  • Episode 4: Jin Kim draws Captain Hook from Peter Pan
  • Episode 5: Samantha Vilfort draws Mirabel from Encanto
  • Episode 6: Mark Henn draws Young Simba from The Lion King
In his over 40 years with Disney, Mark Henn has been the Supervising Animator of Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana, Mulan, young Simba, and more. In this episode of ‘Sketchbook,’ Mark revisits the character young Simba. (Disney/Richard Harbaugh)

Why You Should See Sketchbook

Sketchbook is a great show for the entire family and it is fun to watch it together. In fact, instead of just watching it, ensure everyone has a pencil and a pad of paper on which to draw. This is an interactive experience. Not only did I enjoy drawing along with the artist, I found their stories about their life and the characters they draw fascinating. They even point out key details about each character which adds personality to the drawings. As I have watched all of the movies in which they have illustrated characters, I never really considered all that went into making the magic behind the scenes. Some of these artists are legends such as Mark Henn who drew Mickey Mouse for 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which was the first big screen appearance for Mickey Mouse in 30 years! Mark was also Mickey Mouse’s official portraitist in honor of Mickey’s 90th birthday in 2018. Other artists such as Gabby Capili are relatively new-comers. I really enjoyed watching this series and highly recommend it for families and individuals of all ages. 

Eric Goldberg joined Disney Animation as the supervising animator of Genie for 1992’s Aladdin. He is considered one of the greatest animators in history. In this episode of ‘Sketchbook,’ he revisits the character Genie. (Disney/Richard Harbaugh)


Eric Goldberg drawing Genie. (Disney/Richard Harbaugh)

Be sure to watch Sketchbook when it begins streaming on Disney+ on Wednesday, April 27th. Here is a trailer for the show.

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This post was last modified on April 25, 2022 11:53 pm

Michael Knight

Michael teaches high school classes in Science, History, and Computer Science including Game Design. He is the father of six with ages ranging from 24 to 13. Michael is the author of over one hundred published video game strategy guides and when not playing board games, enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

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