Ralph Hulett Biography

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Ralph Hulett (1915-1974) Born: Kankakee, IL; Studied: Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles); Member: American Watercolor Society, California Water Color Society. Ralph Hulett came to California as a teenager and attended high school in Glendale. From a young age, his artistic talents were obvious and upon graduation, he was awarded a four year scholarship to study at the Chouinard Art Institute. His instructors were Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Phil Paradise and Herb Jepson. While still at college, he was hired by the Walt Disney Studios to work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

After graduation in 1938, he went to work full-time at Disney. He did watercolor backgrounds for Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. By the 1940s, he had earned enough seniority to receive screen credits for his work on Make Mine Music, Song of the South, Melody Time, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmations and The Jungle Book.

Hulett was also a prolific fine art watercolorist with an amazing command of the medium. By 1937, he was an exhibiting member of the California Water Color Society and sold his works through local art galleries. In the 1940s, he was also exhibiting in New York City in the American Watercolor Society's annual shows. Most of the subjects he chose to depict were scenes of California and Mexico, but he also did work while traveling in Japan, Europe and Central America.

Other projects he worked on included a series of oil paintings depicting old areas of Los Angeles and the Bunker Hill region in particular. He produced watercolor illustrations that appeared in Ford Times, Westways and other magazine publications. In the 1950s, he designed a very popular series of cards for the Designers' Showcase Company and did commercial work for Swiss-Air, Capital Records and KNBC. During the 1960s, he also received acclaim for animated films he produced. Hulett was also the author of an art instruction book for the Walter Foster Company.

Biographical information:

Interview with Shirley Hulett Sullivan, 1983.

Biography courtesy of California Watercolors 1850-1970,

©2002 Hillcrest Press, Inc.

California Watercolor

California Watercolor Society-1965


California Watercolor Society, 1965