In 1935, Carl
Barks took his first step towards fame. For the previous seven
years he had maintained a nice income as a cartoonist for several
magazines, but he felt something was missing. He was ready for
something more interesting. One day he saw an ad from the Disney
Studios. They were hiring new blood for the cartoon department
and Barks was game!
It was a gamble. 'Disney' at that time, was not the household word it is today. But Barks knew enough about the studio to apply although it would mean a decrease in salary. Barks had no experience in animation but, with a stroke of genius, he introduced himself by sending four sketches along with his application. Not just hastily made sketches but thorough and meticulate drawings showing that he knew a bit of Disney's work. The drawings were inked and he added a bluish watercolour tone.
Two of the
drawings depicted Mickey Mouse. Barks knew exactly what Mickey
looked like as he had already appeared for a number of years in
comic books and animated cartoons. Barks' sketches have a very
good likeness. But that was not the case for the two other
sketches. Barks had heard that Disney was doing a full
length animated feature film of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,
but he had no way of knowing what the characters were going to
look like. So he sent his own conception of what two moments of
the film may look like.
Happily, the people at Disney were so impressed by the young artist and his work that he was offered the job. Just imagine if he had never gotten it ...!!!