While not a household name to most, Mary Blair's star looms large in the fields of animation, illustration, comics, and character/scenic design. She's an "artist's artist", someone whose designs for Walt Disney reached countless millions -- yet she worked in relative anonymity through most of her lifetime.

Blair's first major assignment for Disney was as supervisor and concept artist for Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, and she went on to produce designs, concepts, and color stylings for many of the studio's best-loved films, including Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Alice In Wonderland.

 

 

Blair left the studio and went freelance in the mid-'50s, working in advertising and illustrating a number of classic children's books. She returned to Disney to design the iconic "It's A Small World" attraction for the 1964 New York World's Fair, and contributed additional work to the company's theme parks through the rest of the decade.

Though Blair passed away in 1978, her reputation has grown ever since – her paintings and drawings are collected in books and shown in galleries around the world, and her use of color and shape and her memorable character designs remains influential throughout the animation industry and beyond.

 

 

On the 103rd anniversary of Mary Blair's birth, ComicsAlliance has invited some of our favorite artists to celebrate Blair's legacy with original pieces inspired by her work.

  • Lissy Marlin

  • Sara Richard

  • Tina Pratt

  • Jeaux Janovsky

  • Melanie Demmer

  • Justin Sane

    The Three Caballeros by Justin Sane, creator of Bloody Dreadful, co-creator of The Woodland Welfare Manifesto

  • Kyrstin Avello

    Image by Kyrstin Avello, Freelance Illustrator / Core Artist at WMS Gaming

  • Teressa Ong

  • The images in this post are © their respective creators.