Ron Dias


Ron began his animation career with Disney Studios in 1956, where he worked as an inbetweener and clean-up animator on "Sleeping Beauty". Ron's desire to become involved in animation was sparked when, at the tender age of 6, he saw "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". He was so taken by the film and its beautiful art that he decided, then and there, that he would someday become an animation artist. After winning a national contest for his design of the U.S. Postage Stamp "CHILDREN'S FRIENDSHIP" in 1956, Ron headed to Hollywood determined to work for Disney. After two portfolio submissions, Disney Studios recognized Ron's exceptional talent, and he was hired. Thus began an illustrious 40+ year career as a top animation artist. In fact, Ron is appearing as the guest speaker on Disney animation at the City of Kawaguchi's World Festival, on July 25th, in Kawaguchi, Japan.

While Ron started his career as an animator, he made his mark on this artform and has spent the bulk of his career painting beautiful backgrounds for some of our favorite animated features and TV shows. Over the years Ron has contributed to so many feature and TV projects for so many studios that we thought it best to highlight a "short-list" of his work through the years.

After the completion of "Sleeping Beauty", the 1960's found Ron illustrating Disney characters for Golden Books and creating backgrounds for some of Hanna-Barbera's most successful series and features, such as "Hey There, it's Yogi Bear"; "Jonny Quest"; "The Man Called Flintstone"; "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". During the 60's, Ron also created backgrounds for DePatie-Freleng's theatrical shorts featuring the Pink Panther, Daffy Duck, and Speedy.

Ron was really busy during the 1970's. In addition to creating backgrounds, his experience and talent lead to positions as character designer, key background artist and art director. He painted backgrounds for, among others, U.P.A.'s "Uncle Sam Magoo"; several educational and commercial films; Bakshi's "Lord of the Rings"; "A Flintstone Christmas"; Chuck Jones' "Return of Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century"; and "Bugs Bunny Busting OUt All Over".

During the Disco days of the 1980's, Ron added "Color Stylist" to his resume. We're sure that you appreciated some of Ron's work in Don Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH"; the arcade game "Dragon's Lair" and both the T.V. special and arcade game "Space Ace"; "The Chipmunk Adventure" and the Toon Town backgrounds in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (Ron was Art Director for the Toon Town backgrounds).

In 1990, Ron was Key Background Artist on "Rover Dangerfield" and in 1992, while freelancing at Disney Art Editions, he became Art Director and Color Stylist for Disney's "Little Mermaid" T.V. Special and series. In 1993, he became Art Director for Disney Art Editions which produced Disney's limited edition animation cels. In this position, Ron was responsible for selecting the original backgrounds to be reproduced for these cels. However, in the numerous cases where the original was lost or otherwise unavailable, it was Ron's responsibility to painstakingly create a background that was faithful to the original in every detail - Ron has painted over 90 backgrounds for theses limited editions. You will see his work on Snow White's "Heigh Ho", "A New Home", "Snow White At the Wishing Well"; "Bella Notte"; "Peter's Seamstress" "Sleeping Beauty", and the new "Dream Duet" sericel as well as countless others. In addition, Ron has created special paintings used by Disney to create posters promoting "Snow White's" 50th Anniversary and "Beauty and the Beast". Through Creative Capers, a Disney subsidary, Ron also creates the art for Disney's interactive CD-Roms. Although Ron has contributed his talents to virtually every major studio over the past 40 years, because of his love for Disney, he has maintained a continous relationship with the studio as a freelance artist even while working elsewhere - told you he was busy.

Ron is currently working on fine art paintings during his free time. Being the perfectionist that he is, he is not satisfied until his works exhibit the same subtle "magic" that shows through in all of his animation work. Within the next couple of years, he plans to move to the Big Sur area of California to pursue his interests in fine art. I think we all agree that this art-form and its fans have truly benefited from Ron's creativity over the years and we hope that he will continue to share his immense talent with us for many, many more.