"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was the first full-length animated feature, the turning point in Walt Disney's career, a milestone in cinema history, and a GREAT film. From its "once upon a time" beginning straight through to its "happily ever after" ending, this beloved Disney fairy tale has been enchanting audiences all over the world for more than six decades and has set the standards of excellence and entertainment by which Disney animated features continue to be measured. With its timeless themes, heartfelt performances, bountiful sight gags, memorable music and brilliant artistry, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is generally acknowledged to be the most popular and widely-seen motion picture ever produced by Hollywood.

Only nine years separated the primitive Mickey Mouse cartoon "Steamboat Willie" from the masterpiece "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". To achieve that quantum leap, Walt Disney pioneered a landmark method for training his animators. He sent them to art classes to study human form and movement and began hiring artists schooled in traditional painting and sculpture. All this expertise was needed if "Snow White" was to fulfil Disney's artistic vision.
Working around-the-clock, Walt Disney and his staff just barely met their deadline of Christmas 1937. After four years of painstaking work, two million drawings and a then record shattering $1.5 million budget, Disney's masterpiece was ready to be unveiled.
On December 21st, 1937, at Los Angeles Carthay Circle Theatre, all of Hollywood turned out for "Snow White's" grand premiere. The film won the respect of Hollywood - and the world. It was a dream come true for Walt Disney.

Finding out that original art from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" still existed, was a dream come true for me. Being the first film I ever saw, it conquered a very special place in my heart.
After all these years, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" remains a tribute to the minds and talents that conceived and created it. It is a classic in the truest sense of the word and a timeless tale to be enjoyed for countless generations to come.
On this page you will find my "Snow White"-collection. There is additional information about the image, the animator, and interesting stories behind the making of this masterpiece. You can click the thumbnails to see a bigger image.

I hope you'll enjoy my website, and if you have anything to add or any other comments, please e-mail me: hwalther@xs4all.nl

Hans Walther

All images © and TM of the respective studios.

You can click on the thumbnails to see larger images.

opc-grumpy.gif (50153 bytes)

Production-cel of Grumpy playing the pipe-organ on a handpainted wood veneer Courvoisier background.

In the first years of the Courvoisier-program (until 1940), the backgrounds were made at the Background Department of the Disney Studio.
This background, showing the pipe-organ, is very detailed and a wonderful enhancement of the cel.

You hardly ever see Grumpy-cels from the Music-scene, as he's sitting with his back to the other Dwarfs, playing the pipe-organ. He looks over his shoulder only four times during this sequence.
Sequence 8A, scene 16. Animated by Dick Lundy.
Laserdisc-frame: C-7957.

opc-dopey.gif (54484 bytes)

Production-cel of Dopey handing a cymbal (to Sleepy who is bothered by a fly) on a patterned paper Courvoisier background.

Sequence 8A, scene 25A. Animated by Les Clark.
This cel still has the original matte with the pencil-written "Dopey" underneath. The little bells on the right side come from scene 23, where Dopey plays his "solo" on the drums as he chases the fly (animated by Fred Spencer).

During the Courvoisier-program it was quite usual to combine elements from different scenes (sometimes even from different sequences) into one cel setup.
Laserdisc-frames: C-9609 (Dopey) and C-9469 (bells).

I bought this cel at an auction at Christies East in 1995. It was my second production-cel from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".

opc-bashful.gif (94166 bytes)

Production-cel of Bashful playing the concertina on a wood veneer Courvoisier background.

Sequence 8A, scene 46. Animated by Fred Spencer.

This was the first original Snow White-cel I acquired.
It once belonged to the Steve Ison collection.
Laserdisc-frame: C-11798.

Bashful is one of the lesser well known Dwarfs. He's the shy one of the Dwarfs, and he's secretly in love with Snow White. Whenever Snow White speaks to him his face turns red.

opc-sleepy.gif (34111 bytes)

Production-cel of Sleepy listening (to Snow White who sings "One day my Prince will come") on a handpainted Courvoisier background.

The background is almost an exact replica of the original background (a pile of wood), and is totally handpainted. Also note that Sleepy can be seen from head to toe in this cel, but in the film only appears until his elbow. Apparently they later decided to make this shot a close-up of Sleepy.

Sequence 8B, scene 25. Animated by Les Clark, who later became one of Disney's famed "Nine Old Men".
This cel still has the original matte with the pencil-written "Sleepy" and the embossed "© W.D.E." underneath.
Laserdisc-frame: C-15488.

I bought this cel at an auction at the Howard Lowery Gallery in 1996.

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Production-cel of a bunny and a turtle on an airbrushed Courvoisier background.

The bunny is from sequence 3B, scene 6, where Snow White meets the animals (this bunny is in fact the first animal that dares to sneak up on her) and the turtle is from sequence 4C, scene 1, where Snow White is going up the
stairs to the bedroom, followed by the animals. Animated by Milton Kahl. The turtle-cel has been trimmed to outline and applied to the background.
Laserdisc-frames: A-17657 (bunny) and B-4154 (turtle).

I bought this cel at Sterling Auctions in 1995.

During the Courvoisier-program it was quite usual to combine elements from different scenes (sometimes even from different sequences, as this example) into one cel setup, especially with the animal-cels.

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Production-cel of a chipmunk washing a shirt on the belly of a turtle, with a special effects-cel of water on a wood veneer Courvoisier background.

Sequence 3D, scene 15. Animated by Milton Kahl.
The cel still has the original matte with the pencil-written "Turtle and chipmunk" underneath.

This cel was originally sold during the Courvoisier program in December 1938 at The Leicester Galleries in London by Ernest Brown & Phillips Ltd. to Miss Weld, under the title "Turtle Washing".
Laserdisc-frames: A-31256 (turtle and chipmunk) and A-31307 (water-effect).

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Key (or "extreme") production-drawing with inking-notations of the Witch, as she's talking to Snow White at the window. This shot immediately precedes the one of Snow White.

This specific drawing actually appears twice in the film: at the final frame of scene 11 ("The little men are not here?") and the beginning of scene 13 ("Mmmm... making pies?").


drw-snowwhite.gif (69251 bytes)

Key (or "extreme") production-drawing of Snow White, as she's talking to the Witch.
This shot comes immediately after the one of the Witch.

Sequence 13A, scene 14, nr. 16. Animated by Robert Stokes.
On the left bottom side of the paper is the studio stamp with the (production, sequence and scene-) numbers 2001 - 13A - 14. Laserdisc-frame: D-6618.

The animators thought that Snow White had to be perfect in every drawing, which you can clearly see here. With her gentle ways and lithe grace, Snow White is the perfect storybook princess. Being a sweet, innocent young woman, she nurtures everyone around her.

I bought this drawing at an auction at S/R Labs in 1997.

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Production-drawing of Snow White holding a broom as she cleans the Dwarfs' cottage and sings "Whistle while you work". (The bird which lands on her finger was animated on a seperate drawing by another animator.)

Sequence 3D, scene 18. Animated by Grim Natwick.
Laserdisc-frame: A-31768.

Grim Natwick (who was also the designer of Betty Boop for the Fleischer Studios) was the main animator of Snow White.
This was the first drawing from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" that I bought (at a gallery in Amsterdam). It was also the first original artwork that I saw from the film. Not knowing how much artwork survived, I jumped at the possibility of owning it, and bought it immediately. Back then (in 1993) I probably paid much too much for it, but because it was my first original.


drw-snow-rotoscope.jpg (13121 bytes)

Production-drawing of Snow White, from the sequence where she greets the animals in the forest.

Sequence 3B, scene 20. Animated by Tony Rivera and Jack Campbell. The animationpaper has been trimmed.

This drawing is probably a Rotoscope-tracing (notice that Snow White suddenly has breasts, which she doesn't have in the finished film). Before starting animation on the human characters, live actors were filmed acting out the scenes. The action was then traced onto paper, and served as a loose guide for the animators, who could study the movement so they might achieve realistic actions.
Marjorie Belcher (who later became Marge Champion of the famous Marge and Gower Champion dance team) pantomimed the actions of Snow White while Louis Hightower stood in for the Prince.

I bought this drawing at an auction at the Howard Lowery Gallery in 1998.

drw-prince.jpg (10058 bytes)

Production-drawing of Prince Charming.
This graceful young man is the perfect combination of masculinity, assurance and gentleness as he rescues Snow White with an awakening kiss.

Sequence 16A, scene 5. Animated by Grim Natwick.
Laserdisc-frame: D-21646.

The Prince only appears twice in the film: once at the beginning, where he sings "One Song", and at the end of the film, from which this drawing is.
In those pioneer days, the animators clearly had problems with animating human characters, which is very obvious in the animation of the Prince. He looks pretty stiff, and is probably the most "two-dimensional" character in the film.
This was the second original drawing from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" that I bought.

drw-grumpy.gif (74013 bytes)

Production-drawing of Grumpy, as he is walking away after receiving Snow White's goodbye kiss - and just before he gives in to the delight he secretly feels.

Sequence 10A, scene 25, nr. 24. Animated by Vladimir "Bill" Tytla, who was one of the four supervising animators that worked on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
He is best known for his powerful animation, and went on to animate Stromboli in "Pinocchio" and the never equaled Chernabog in the "Night on bald mountain"-section of "Fantasia".

On the left bottom side of the paper is the studio stamp with the (production, sequence and scene-) numbers 2001 - 10A - 25. In the right upper corner are the initials "RWC", which stands for Robert W.Carlson, who was Tytla's assistant on this scene. Laserdisc-frame: D-3064.

drw-grumpybarrel.jpg (23723 bytes)

Production-drawing of Grumpy, as he sits on the barrel, watching the other Dwarfs wash. Here his dialogue is "Bunch of old nanny goats. Make me sick going bluddle - heh".

Sequence 6A, scene 13, nr. 46. Animated by Vladimir "Bill" Tytla. Laserdisc-frame: B-32944.

A cockeyed pessimist, Grumpy would say he's just realistic, especially about "wimmin!". The other Dwarfs and Snow White ignore his negative attitude, sensing that there's warmth beneath his crusty exterior. Though he does his best to hide his affection, even Grumpy is soon captivated by Snow White's charm.


drw-sleepy.gif (61065 bytes)

Production-drawing of Sleepy playing the flute (while Snow White dances with Dopey on top of Sneezy in the long coat) with color-notations.

Sleepy appears in front of the shot (with Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy behind him). This drawing can also be seen on the reverse side of the Snow White Flip Book, published by Hyperion in 1993.

Sequence 8A, scene 33A. Animated by Fred Moore, the most important "Dwarf"-animator. Laserdisc-frame: C-11061.

I bought this drawing at an auction at the Howard Lowery Gallery in 1997.

drw-grumpy&doc.jpg (30452 bytes)

Production rough-drawing of Grumpy and Doc from the deleted Bedroom Fight-sequence. (The animation sheet has been trimmed close to the image.)
Sequence 5A - Scene 36. Animated by Fred Moore, one of the most wellknown Dwarf-animators.
"The Bedroom Fight" is one of the few examples of a section that was completely animated for the final film, but was removed. It showed the continuous argument between Grumpy and Doc over letting Snow White stay. A complete pencil test of this sequence can be seen on the Deluxe version of the Snow White laserdisc and the Special Edition DVD.

Other examples of deleted sequences are the "Soup"-sequence and the "Lodge Meeting" and "Bed Building"-sequences. 

I bought this drawing at an auction at the Howard Lowery Gallery in 1998 and had it restored by the paper restoration specialist of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

drw-sneezy.gif (49245 bytes)

Production drawing of Sneezy in the long coat (after his gargantuan sneeze sent Dopey upward to the rafters) with color-notations. This scene appears almost at the end of the "Yodel Song"-sequence, my all time favorite scene.

Has anyone figured out why seven Dwarfs would keep a long coat in their cottage?
There are some more "mistakes" in the this sequence: during Dopey's dance with Snow White, he's supposed to be in the long coat, but there are several shots where you can see him clapping his hands and playing the cymbals during this dance. You only see the arms, but by the color of the sleeves you can tell that it's Dopey (he's the only one with green sleeves).

Sequence 8A - Scene 58. Animated by Fred Spencer.
Laserdisc-frame: C-12492.

I bought this drawing at an auction at the Howard Lowery Gallery in 1998.

drw-doc.jpg (23618 bytes)

Production-drawing of Doc, as he addresses the other Dwarfs just before washing.

Sequence 6A, scene 12, nr. 96. Animated by Vladimir "Bill" Tytla, who almost single-handedly animated the complete washing-sequence. Laserdisc-frame: B-32870.

On the right bottom side of the drawing you can see part of the washtub (where Doc's belly is missing). All the cels had to be registered to the background of the washtub, so it would appear that Doc was standing behind it. A second method of achieving the same result would be to make an "overlay"-cel of the washtub, and put this on top of every cel in this shot during filming.

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Production-drawing of Happy.
This is a rough drawing of sequence 11A, scene 6, made by animator Ward Kimball.

Sequence 11A is also known as "The Lodge Meeting", which was later cut from the film. It wasn't completely animated yet, but part of it was already in pencil test (mostly rough), and the rest was already storyboarded in deatail. The "Leica reel" of this sequence  (among which is this exact same drawing) can be seen on the Deluxe version of the Snow White laserdisc and the Special Edition DVD.

Laserdisc-frame: Side 6 - frame 32151.

drw-bunnies.jpg (23350 bytes)

Production-drawing of three bunnies, coming out of their hole. This is the shot where the eyes come out of the darkness and appear to be animals, watching Snow White as she lies crying in the forest.
On the drawing there is a note in blue pencil: "IBT watch ruffs for guys back here". IBT stands for "inbetweeners", the animator's assistants who filled in the drawings between the "key" or "extreme" drawings.

Sequence 3B, scene 2. Animated by James Algar.
Laserdisc-frame: A-17064.

More than 750 Disney artists worked on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" during the four years that it was in the making. Included were 32 animators, 102 assistants, 107 inbetweeners, 20 layout men, 25 background artists, 65 special effects animators (who drew smoke, water, clouds and other effects) and 158 professionals adept at inking and painting the cartoon figures on transparent celluloid sheets.

I bought this drawing at an auction at S/R Labs in 1997.

drw-squirrel.jpg (12657 bytes)

Production-drawing of a chipmunk, who is about to meet Snow White as she arrived in the forest. Isn't he cute?

Sequence 3B, scene 19A. Animated by Milton Kahl.
Laserdisc-frame: A-20014.

This in one of the 500 drawings that were sold through the art program of the Courvoisier Galleries.

I bought this drawing at an auction at S/R Labs in 1997.

drw-deer.jpg (15587 bytes)

Production-drawing of a fawn. The fawn walks besides a doe when Snow White says "Then they're orphans. That's too bad."

Sequence 3C, scene 15. Animated by James Algar.
Laserdisc-frame: A-26626.

Most of the animation of the forest animals in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was done by Eric Larson, Milton Kahl and James Algar (later a director of Disney's True Life Adventure Films).

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Rough animation drawings of Dopey.

Sequence 10A - Scene 18 - No. 217 and 221.

These drawings were made by Freddie Moore and are from the scene where Snow White kisses the Dwarfs goodbye as they leave for work in the morning. Arguably the most famous scene, it is undoubtedly the funniest scene of Dopey, as he comes back twice for a kiss from Snow White. These drawings are from the second time he gets his kiss.
These are the first roughs I bought from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, and I just love the fact that you can really see the animators’ hand in it. Freddie Moore was the most famous of the Dwarfs-animators.

Laserdisc frames: D2216 and D2223.

opd-SWmodelsheet-animals.jpg (34155 bytes)

Original pencil model sheet of several forest animals. 
The animation paper on which these bunnies, chipmunks and squirrels have been drawn is badly damaged, but the images still look pretty nice.

opd-SWlayoutSquirrels.jpg (16861 bytes)

Layout drawing of six squirrels from Sequence 3B, Scene 9: Squirrels run into hole at bottom of tree trunk.

This is one of the scenes after the bunny tries to approach Snow White in the forest, Snow White utters a surprised “Oh”, and all the animals run into hiding. 
Eric Larson animated the final scene in the film. 
As you can clearly see, the design of the squirrels changed considerably after this layout was made.

rough-Prince.jpg (23740 bytes) Rough storyboard drawing or inspirational sketch from Sequence 2A, Scene 29, where a pigeon lands on the Prince’s hand after been kissed by Snow White on the balcony.
ltd-wishingwell.jpg (47540 bytes)

Hand-inked and hand-painted limited edition cel of Snow White, as she pulls the bucket up from the well and sings the song "I'm Wishing".
Sequence 2A, scene 8. Originally animated by Jack Campbell (Snow White) and Eric Larson (doves).

Disney artists have recreated the artwork from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" using traditional animation techniques. The cel was inked over the original animation drawing, and was then hand-painted with acrylic-based
paints. The background for this cel has been faithfully reproduced by a Disney background artist, who used original background paintings, sketches, and frames from the film as references.

This is number 246 out of an edition of 275, made in 1992.
I think it is one of the most beautiful limited editions that Disney ever made, and it was actually the first piece of animation art that I ever bought.

ltd-evilqueen.jpg (45507 bytes)

Hand-inked and hand-painted limited edition cel of the Evil Queen, as she sits on her peacock-throne, and gives her faithful Huntsman a gruesome command: kill Snow White.
Sequence 2B, scene 2. Originally animated by Art Babbitt.

The artwork from this sequence has been recreated using traditional animation techniques. Artists of the Walt Disney Studios Ink and Paint Department transferred the original animation drawing to the cel using 17 hand-inked lines, 22 acrylic-paint colors and 1 special-effect color.
The background is a lithographic reproduction of the original background from the collection of Steve Ison.

This is number 31 out of an edition of 350, made in 1997.

sc-snowwhite&prince.jpg (49816 bytes)

Sericel depicting the Prince and Snow White as they first meet.
Sequence 2A, scene 20. Originally animated by Grim Natwick and Milt Kahl.

This sericel was created from the original production-drawings, and follows the original exactly, judging film-comparison.
This cel was made in an edition size of just 500, and was only for guests of the Floridian Hotel in Walt Disney World, when it opened in July 1988.

sc-snowwhite-cast.jpg (56435 bytes)

Sericel depicting characters from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".

This sericel was created from the original size-comparison chart used by the animators during the production. Because the images of the Witch and the Queen were not included in the size-comparison chart, they were taken from the original model sheets and added to complete the cast.

This sericel has an edition of 5,000 and was produced in 1994.
From left to right you can see: The Prince, Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, Doc, Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, Bashful, The Witch and the Evil Queen.

sc-dancingpartners.jpg (24617 bytes)

Sericel depicting characters from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", composed of elements from Sequence 8A, Scene 33A to create a representative scene: During a musical celebration honoring their new home guest, Sneezy
and Dopey "stack up" to make a rather wobbly dancing partner - but one that "measures up" to the happy princess, Snow White.

This limited edition of 3,500 sericels was produced in 1999, with the original master cel and background created in 1998. Part of this edition, like this one, has been specially framed with a remarqued mat, depicting the Dwarfs' musical instruments.

Though I normally don't buy sericels anymore (I now go for the "real" stuff), I liked the image of this sericel so much, that I couldn't resist it.

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sc-circle-dwarfs.jpg (31085 bytes)

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sc-circle-happily.jpg (38016 bytes)

Four sericels, created in 1978 to be part of the book "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", published by Circle Fine Art Press. 
The book is number 1,488 out of a handnumbered edition of 9,500.

The four sericels are:

Snow White at the well singing to the doves.
The Dwarfs smell the soup.
The Witch offers Snow White the poisoned apple.
The Prince lifts Snow White on his horse; a happy end.

This book was reprinted by Viking Press a year later, but without the four sericels (I have that book also).

sc-book.jpg (46153 bytes)

Limited edition serigraph cel (2000).
Sequence 2A - Scene 18: Snow White sings, while the doves are listening. The original cel and background are part of the collection of Steve Ison.

This sericel is part of the book "Blanche Neige" by Pierre Lambert, published by Demons & Merveilles, which is one of the nicest books with artwork from Snow White that has ever been made. Unfortunately it only appeared in a French edition.

opc-swacademy.jpg (33842 bytes)


Production-cel of Snow White presenting the Oscar for Best Animated Short.
This short segment was animated by the Disney Studios and is the only other appearance that Snow White made besides the 1937 feature as far as I know. 
I don’t know very much about this segment, as I’ve never seen it myself. I don’t even know if the year 1988 is exactly correct (if the year is corrected, then she presented the Oscar to Pixar’s “Tin Toy”).

If there’s anybody out there who could tell me a little bit more about this, I’d appreciate it.

At the bottom of the cel it says: 93240 - Sc.2 - 632-B © Disney

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