So I've been a big fan of older comics and animation for as long as I can remember. Stuff like Tintin, all the old Warner Bros stuff (anything by Chuck Jones), early Dick Tracy, Plastic Man, Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge (all the Carl Barks stuff), and even Hanna Barbera (just for the character designs) have been a big influence on me as a designer. If you haven't, I suggest taking another look at their work: it's probably a lot hipper than you thought. These guys were right up there with the likes of Paul Rand when it comes to introducing Modernist art & design to America.
I've also learned a lot from those guys from a design perspective. Their
spirit of old-school craftsmanship and work ethic have been very
inspirational, not to mention their unparalleled ability to render and
tell a story through simplification and abstraction.
I stumbled upon a great blog that shares a lot of these secrets: Temple of the Seven Golden Camels-
not sure what that title's all about. It's the work of a Disney
storyboard artist who shares his insights on design and drawing
fundamentals like composition, mood, proportion, posing characters,
depth, drawing crowds... all kinds of great stuff that designers can
draw tons of inspiration from. Check it out.