{ It All Started with a Mouse }

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The question I get asked most from aspiring artists and fashionistas is when and how I got my start. The truth is, I’ve had a few official “starts” and I expect this year to be a new start of it’s own. I started drawing when I was around four and learned I had a true talent in elementary school. I started working for my Uncle (Jeff D’Angelo) in Scranton when I was in high school and I knew I had some things to learn if I wanted this as a career. He is a hard working artist and taught me the basics of painting and prop styling. Then, I got my own fresh start as an artist when I worked for Walt Disney World.

 

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I decided at a young age it’s where I wanted to work and contacted the head animator when I was in grade school. I explained my goals and intentions and he thought I was a bit young to begin working in 6th grade like I had hoped, but did agree to guide me in choosing courses if I decided I had the same goals in college. I did, and I followed his directions. I interned with the WDW college program for a few summers and after graduation moved my life from Scranton, PA to Orlando, FL weeks after graduating from college. The move was poor timing on many accounts, there was very little $ involved in my new job but I had a dream I needed to address and the support of my husband, so we packed up our lives and hoped for the best.

I began at the bottom of the ladder, teaching guests how to draw Disney characters in a computer based animation class. Then I hosted animation tours and drew more with visitors. Eventually I made my way into the animation building.

Long story short, I left after some time to explore starting my own career (and I’ll share more about my next steps in doing that here soon) but I did want to share my starting point with you. My heart will always be with Disney: the friends I made there, the time spent with my family at the castle, and the business lessons I took with me and I would work for the company again in a heartbeat. (actually , I genuinely hope I get to work for Disney again sometime in a creative role.)

A note to young readers: understand that hard work, internships, open mindedness and willingness to try new things is where you learn the most when beginning on a new path.

Anyone else ever work for Disney or a company you’ll always remember?

Dallas Shaw