American Masters

How Tyrus Wong got the job to animate Bambi


This is opaque watercolor and then that's strictly watercolor, and I did a lot of pastel too. Like this, the studio has a lot of my pastels. I did hundreds and hundred of these. At home I did a lot of sketches like that and showed them to Tom Cottery, you know, and he said, 'Gee, you're in the in-between department?'

And I said, 'yeah.'

'I think we put you in the wrong place. How would you like to develop an atmosphere - create an atmosphere for Bambi?'

I was mainly a landscape painter so I thought that was great, you know? The Chinese, you know, as far as painting's concerned, a painting is a poem. A poem is a painting. In Chinese painting, we're always thinking about distance. Everything is distant, you know, way, way back. But Occidental painting, everything is three-dimensional - just pull it out away from the cameras - that's an entirely different thing. And you know the Chinese landscape is all very poetic in feeling. Like a fisherman - the lonely fisherman, you know, sitting in a boat. Or else there's a philosopher sitting by a pine tree, you know, writing poetry - so very poetic.

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