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Icons of Animation
  -  Animation History   -  How the Magic Happens

Many of the first animated films created in the early 20th century featured the animator demonstrating his craft. The early animator’s James Blackton, Emile Cohl, Max Fleischer, and Winsor McCay all appeared in their films. It wasn’t that they were vain or needing the spotlight (well, maybe a little of that), but rather that the audience was fascinated by the animation process. The audience wanted to see how the magic of animation happened. And, it truly was magic. Sometimes the film would show just the animator’s hand, as he brought life to the characters. In other instances, the animator would be positioned at an easel, as if giving an art lesson. In still other instances, the animator would actually become part of the story, interacting with his hand-drawn characters. This approach blended the real world with the animated world, giving an additional layer of “life” to the animated characters. In many ways, these techniques added to the allure of animated films and helped create an intimate connection between animator and audience. Everyone suddenly had a new friend, a friend who just happened to make magic.