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Illustrated Donald Duck

I just had to post these.  I love this style of illustration and I like Donald Duck.

I would wear this mountaineer Donald on a t-shirt, I would.  I scanned these from a 1973 "Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge" book.  It's a picture book about animals- along the lines of Walt Disney's True Life Adventures films.

These beauties are by Italian illustrator, Giovan Battista Carpi, who illustrated a lot of old Disney comic books, particularly ones featuring Donald or Scrooge McDuck.  His style is great. His line work is exceptional.  And I love the artistic liberties he took with the character design.  Donald is a little off-model but in a good way as I see it.  The lines under his eyes are an interesting but nice touch.  I love the combination of paint and pencil. The angles throughout get me giddy.  Nerd talk, I know.

It's like he's at Disneyland but he's riding the real Dumbo.  And is that the predecessor to Darkwing Duck?



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Reader Comments (18)

Thanks for posting these. I had these books and remember the illustrations fondly. Some of my earliest Disney memories!

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Speiser

I too love this style of artwork. I wish they'd do more!

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLambo

The illustrations are great but the best part is the way Donald's portrayed. John K (Ren and Stimpy) and I spent hours talking about this very subject so hang with me here.

The classic Donald Duck cartoons made him out to be an asshole and over time people got the idea that he WAS an asshole. It wasn't true. Did you ever notice that Donald never did anything to provoke the characters that got him pissed off? He was just living life and other characters would set him off because THEY were the real the assholes.

My favorite was the one where he was flying his new model plane in the park. It wasn't long before, and for no reason, Chip and Dale wreck his plane! Donald say " my little plane is busted" and it made me very sad. It must have cost him a lot of money but they just decided to ruin it because they were cute! That's a crime against what a great cartoon character Donald was and Chip and Dale should have been shot with a BB gun and laid in an ant pile for that.

How great was Donald? For one thing he did more than other Disney character for the war effort during World War 2. Donald was the TOP character at the Walt Disney Studios for wartime production films. He wasn't an asshole then was he? Saludos Amigos was awesome for creating good relations with South America....and Donald was the captain. Chipmunks weren't in the picture and Mickey Mouse must have been busy.

Anyway these Illustrations show Donald as a cool character and that's what's important. He stands on his own without rodents making fun of him.

I hate Chip and Dale.

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

In fact, he's not Donald. He is Donalds cousin, Fethry Duck:

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteraka

aka- So in this book he is introduced as Donald Duck. It starts out with "Hello, boys and girls. I'm your friend Donald Duck." But I do think there is some truth to your statement.

The book says, " 'Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge' is an updated and enlarged English version of an encyclopedia heretofore printed in the Italian language..." It's my guess that Giovan Battista drew this duck as Fethry Duck (somewhat popular in Italy) but when it was translated to English, the name was changed to Donald Duck. This is my guess. He does have some of the clothing of Fethry Duck.

Hoot- You have done everything! You snuck around Horizons a million times AND talked with John K for hours. You really are the world famous Hoot Gibson. I always loved (and still watch it on Netflix) the style and hilarity of Ren and Stimpy. John K's blog rock too.

And seriously. Donald gets a bad rap. I'd love to do a post about all the war stuff Disney did with Donald.

August 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterMitch

these are really cool! Thanks for sharing!

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I have the wonderful world of knowledge books at my parents house. I haven't looked at them in a LONG time.

And I would soooo wear this as a shirt. Course, I love anything with Donald on it.

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdisney obsessor

hahahah! I just read what Hoot wrote, and I have to say, I completely agree! When ever someone asks me, "Why is donald your favorite? He's always so grumpy." I always respond with, "well you'd be really grumpy too if there were chimpmunks in your christmas tree and you were stuck raising three bratty nephews." It's no wonder really that Donald Duck joined the navy and dropped off the boys with Uncle Scrooge in Duck Tales. They needed to learn some RESPECT! And then there's the picnic he goes on. While he's sleeping the ants just dump him off the side of a cliff into the stream and start stealing his food. And then there's that other time........and that OTHER time......

Chip and Dale gained my good opinion when they finally left Donald alone and started fighting various Jim Cummings Criminals in the Rescue Rangers . hahahhaha!

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdisney obsessor

disney obsessor,

It's really horrible what Donald went through! Three nephews show up on his doorstep and even though he's supposed to be "an asshole" he takes the kids in and decides to raise them. For the next several years they give him HELL but he never once tries to dump them back on his loose sister! She's out spreadin' it around town or whatever she's into that made her give up her kids and Donald does the right thing. He's no asshole in my book. If it ain't enough, those rodents show up for the sole purpose of ruining his life.

Daisy helped him keep it together. She was in love with him and willing to help him with these problems that he didn't ask for. She did, however, put a nasty guilt trip on him from time to time. It's a wonder that Donald never put one right through his head.

Goofy couldn't get laid to save his life in the early cartoons and then WHAM he's married with a kid! Years later his wife ran out on him and refused to appear in the Goofy movies leaving him a single father with no chance of finding love.

Daffy (WB) started out funny put they painted him as an asshole too. Is there something against ducks?

Why did people like these Disney cartoons? They're sad as hell:(

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

Beautiful, beautiful pictures of Fethry Duck! Thank you for sharing this. Oh, and yeah Fethry is deservedly hugely popular among Italian Disney comic readers.

June 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChabacano

Sad my eye. Hoots, I think you need to have your head check (if already haven't since you did your post).If it wern't for Disney, I doubt we had a chain-reaction that lead to other studios have cartoon series and the Looney Tunes might not have evolved into the way they were.

P.S. Yes, that's Fethery, not Donald.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNic Kramer

We have a couple of those wonderful year of knowledge books from early 80s. We read them out loud on the way to Florida from VA. Good times!

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterL montin

If somebody have dianey's wonderful world of knowledge # 16 the far west, Please, tell me Where can I downmoad it for free, or can anybody scan entire book to read? If You can, thanks, but don 'to make it too long to walt.

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJC

Hi there! beautiful website, full of informative articles..I'm Italian and I know very well the work of Giovan Battista Carpi; but I have to say that this duck here is not Donald, he's Donald's cousin, Fethry Duck, or as we call him here in Italy, Paperoga. I think he's not very known in the US since Disney comics over there, has never been as popular as they have been ( and still are) here in Italy. As a matter of fact, Fethry Duck is very loved by Italian Disney comics fans.

You can find more info here:


January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMassimiliano

Fethry also appears in the French language Disney books as Donald's Cousin. Piscou is one of the French books. Also Super Piscou.

February 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I know I'm late to this, but I just picked up a copy of this book yesterday (was familiar with it as a kid), and have been admiring the colored line work. Does anyone have any guesses as to the technique Carpi used? I'd like to incorporate it into my own illustrations - Mitch mentioned pencil. It blends rather seamlessly with the look of the paint, so I wasn't quite sure. Gouache and colored pencil, perhaps?

These illustrations also remind me somewhat of the Donald/Ludwig 60s placemats I picked up recently - some really nice, bold colored outlines in those as well - definitely not as delicate as these.

May 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLil M

I had this book series as a kid. Read them more than any other book as a kid.

February 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterW Harinsky

I'm pretty sure this is in fact Donald. I've never seen Fethry Duck without the whispy strands of hair sticking out...none of these illustrations have that feature.

Anyway, these illustrations are gorgeous, thanks for posting!

March 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLou Zucaro

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