Friday, February 6, 2015

Hank Porter Original 'Snow White' Drawings

On June 16, 1936, at the age of 35, Hank Porter began his Disney Studio career. His first responsibility--like that of most everyone else during this period--was to assist the other artists in their efforts to complete Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But Hank was soon moved to the Publicity Department where he would draw for the next 14 years and have many notable accomplishments, including his work with the Sunday newspaper comic strips.

Hank Porter. Image via Walt Disney's Mickey and the Gang, p 10.

The first Snow White Sunday installment was distributed on December 12, 1937 by King Features Syndicate and published in newspapers across the US. Over the next 20 weeks, Porter's comic strip would tell the complete story of Snow White, including several sequences not used in the final film.

A few years ago, many of Hank's original preliminary graphite pencil drawings went up for sale at Heritage Auctions, giving us a look at this most singular artwork.


January 23, 1938, week seven...

The first tier of panels from week seven; the title panel is left blank. Snow White runs deep into the dark forest. NOTE: Each tier measures approximately 27" x 5.5". (This artwork sold on February 23, 2013 for $418.25.)


Middle tier. (Sold May 11, 2012 for $776.75.)

Third tier. (Sold February 23, 2013 for $203.15.)


January 30, 1938, week eight...

First tier, noted as "No. 8 - Top." Snow White and the forest animals. (Sold January 6, 2013 for $262.90.)

Middle tier, noted with "No. 8 - Center." (Sold January 6, 2013 for $148.18.)


February 6, 1938, week nine...

First tier, noted as "No. 9 - Top." Snow White at the dwarfs' cottage. (Sold January 6, 2013 for $239.00.)

Middle tier. (Sold February 23, 2012 for $776.75.)

Third tier. (Sold May 11, 2012 for $2,390.00.)


February 13, 1938, week ten...

First tier. The dwarfs return home to their cottage. It's interesting to note that some of these preliminary drawings differ slightly from those in the published comic. The right panel below is one example. (Sold December 16, 2012 for $191.20.)

Middle tier, noted as "No. 10 - Center." (Sold December 23, 2012 for $286.80.)

Third tier. (Sold December 16, 2012 for $717.00.)


February 20, 1938, week eleven...

First tier. The dwarfs discover Snow White upstairs. Two more slightly altered panels. (Sold December 16, 2012 for $69.00.)

Middle tier. (Sold May 11, 2012 for $1,195.00.)

Third tier, noted as "No. 11 - Bottom." (Sold December 23, 2012 for $262.90.)


February 27, 1938, week twelve...

First tier. Should Snow stay or should Snow go? (Sold December 30, 2012 for $143.40.)

Third tier. (Sold February 23, 2012 for $1,195.00.)


March 6, 1938, week thirteen...

Middle tier, noted as "No. 13 - Center." Snow offers to cook. (Sold December 23, 2012 for $537.75.)

Third tier. In the first panel of the final print version, Grumpy faces the opposite direction. (Sold February 23, 2013 for $239.00.)


March 13, 1938, week fourteen...

First tier. Sleeping Death. (Sold February 23, 2013 for $334.60.)

Third tier. Wash before dinner. (Sold December 30, 2012 for $143.40.)

According to Heritage Auctions, of the 20 final draft pages drawn for this comic strip, only two are known to exist. This is one of them. Measures 27" x 17.5". (Sold November 22, 2013 for $26,290.00.)

For comparison, this is how it looked after it went to print in the newspaper.


March 20, 1938, week fifteen...

The second of the two final draft pages features the deleted film sequence of the Prince trapped in the Queen's dungeon.

The full piece measures 27" x 17.5". (Sold February 22, 2013 for $18,522.50)

The final newspaper version.


April 10, 1938, week eighteen...

First tier. The Witch arrives at the cottage. (Sold February 23, 2013 for $203.15.)

Middle tier. In the final newspaper print, the unfinished center panel (below) shows the forest animals arriving at the dwarfs' mine. (Sold December 30, 2012 for $56.00.)

Third tier. Wash before dinner. (Sold February 23, 2013 for $985.88.)

Hank Porter's drawings via Heritage Auctions.

See the complete original Snow White Sunday comic series in an earlier Archive entry. After it's initial run, the strip would be compiled and republished many time over in the form of comic books by Dell, Gold Key and others, plus the Big Little Book by Whitman.

In addition to the Sunday newspaper pieces, Hank also drew for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, and the monthly Good Housekeeping condensed versions of upcoming Disney shorts. During the war, he was the Studio's go-to man when it came to military insignias and government war bond advertisements.

A nice blurb about Hank's life is found on page 60 of Legendary Locals of Orleans County, New York by Hollis Ricci-Canham & Andrew Canham (ISBN: 9781467100106; Arcadia Publishing).

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