Donald W. Graham devoted his life to teaching drawing and perspective, probably teaching more practicing artists from all fields-fine arts, advertising, fashion, animation, and film-than any other teacher in the country. He had literally thousands of students at Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts), the Disney studio training school, the New Orleans Art Institute, and the Tacoma Art Center.
While an engineering student at Stanford University, Graham happened to visit an art school, where the aroma of paint and turpentine so intrigued him that he decided to become an artist. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute. Here his command of mechanical perspective, learned from engineering, soon qualified him to teach a perspective class. Then a young film producer named Walt Disney, expanding his animation studio, hired Graham as a drawing instructor for his studio's training school.
During the formative years of the Disney studio, Graham was in charge of its training school, instructing hundreds of artists in special drawing skills. He also continued his work at Chouinard, where for twenty-five years his large night classes were attended almost exclusively by professional artists.