Snow White artwork Ask Dave
Q: I have some old artwork from the early days of Disney Animation that I was hoping you might be able to shed a little light on. The piece is a sketch with watercolor of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Now, I've seen similar prints that were used as promotional fan cards at the time the movie was released, but this is the real deal. Up close, you can see very plainly that it is hand-drawn and colored, as opposed to being a print. There are erased guidelines throughout and around each of the figures. It lacks the richer color and shading that the prints had, and of course it's void of the WDP trademark stamp that adorned all distributed copies. Furthermore, I've got a note explaining that the piece is an ""original Disney"" gifted to a family relative of Walt's on his mother's side--Rilla Hussey. Ms. Hussey then passed the gift along to a young piano student of hers in 1939. I came into possession of it many years later by a fortunate accident. It's an amazing piece of animation history, and I'm very proud to be its current caretaker. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me a little more about these fan card prints that were seemingly popular at the time--what relation this piece might have to them--what artist may be responsible for this piece, etc. I also wasn't sure about the signature. I assumed that an animator probably signed Walt's name, but didn't know if you could tell by the handwriting which one, or if there's a chance Walt himself may have been responsible for the signature, considering the piece seems to be a one-off, and a gift for a family member, at that.
Ryan, Indianapolis, Indiana
A: From your photo, I cannot tell if your item is artwork or the printed fan card. It does look exactly like the fan card, all of which showed the erased guidelines, and your item may be faded. The signature was most likely done by Disney artist Hank Porter.