Monday, November 3, 2014

Witch with Apple drawing from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937 - "Go on, take a bite."

Original production drawing of the Old Hag or Witch from the 1937 full length animated feature film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" from Walt Disney Studios;  The Witch measures an incredible 7 1/4" x 6 1/2" and is on a 15 3/8" x 12 1/2" sheet of watermarked five peg hole paper.

The famed animator Joe Grant created the initial sketches of the Witch, which had some basis in the early Witch drawings from Arthur Rackham's illustrations from "Hansel and Gretel."  After Walt Disney approved the character design; Norman Ferguson was given the task of animating her.  There were early concerns that the Witch would be viewed by the audience as more of a laughable and entertaining clown rather than an evil old hag; however, Norm's animation skill won out and the character seems even more menacing than her prior Queenly form.  The Witch is the only character in "Snow White" to look directly into the camera and therefore address the audience.  With her one tooth, expressive eyes, and boney hands; Ferguson had a lot of choices in which to invoke fear and to scare.  Despite her slow movements and apparent frailness, we all know there is pure evil afoot!

In this drawing, the Witch is outside holding the poisoned apple and asking Snow White through an open window to "Go on take a bite." Snow White's animal friends, realizing that something is not right, try to frighten the Witch away; and as she tries to shoo away the birds flying around her, she drops her basket of apples.  Of course, when she reaches down to pick them up she clutches hold of the red poisoned apple to make sure it is safe.  Here she is smiling while polishing the apple, to make sure it will tempt Snow White to take a bite!

Close up of the Witch or Old Hag

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below: