Monday, February 2, 2015

Disney Legend -- Grace Bailey

Elizabeth Grace Randall was born January 1, 1904 in Willoughby, Ohio.  She attended the Cleveland School of Art in 1922.  These humble beginnings did not foreshadow the start of the 'fame' that awaited her just a mere decade from then.  Grace left her Lake County home and Cleveland area roots for New York.  She parlayed her art education into a job working for Max Fleischer.  Max Fleischer was the head of the Out of Inkwell series which featured Koko the Clown.  By 1930, Grace decided it was time to head to California and paint the next phase of her career.  After a brief time as a custom lampshader the year was 1932 and her career break was at hand.

Grace joined Walt Disney Studios in 1932 as a member of the Ink and Paint Studios.  Working under Disney's sister-in-law Hazel Sewell her career incrementally grew in stature.  In this era of celluloid animation, she worked with and alongside Walt and Roy Disney adding ink / color by hand to the 'cells' and animators original drawings.  Her real contribution to the Disney Studios came when she began to formulate the palette of colors for the paint department.  She created many of the colors we've come to know and expect in Disney films.

From 1954-72, Grace was head of the Disney Ink and Paint Studios.  A sampling of her numerous ink and color works may be known to you.  The films are Lady and the Tramp ('55), Sleeping Beauty ('59), 101 Dalmatians ('61) and The Jungle Book ('72).  Grace retired in 1972 and lived out the remainder of her years quietly until her passing in 1983.

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