I’ve been on a Disney kick lately. This happens every few years, where I belt out Part of Your World in the shower; when I swipe on a thick line of black liquid eyeliner to look more like Princess Aurora; when I consider dying my hair a deep brown because Belle is just so belle and maybe I could finally pull off the color yellow. John knows what’s up when he comes home from work and he hears this blaring, at full volume:
I love Disney. I can’t help it. I’m a child of the 80′s, and there will never be a moment in a pool when I don’t consider, for an instant, that I have a mermaid tail.
Things really got interesting when I was offered the job of Cinderella. Literally. I used to work with a girl who was a Disney scout (and former Ariel herself), and for one solid year she begged me to be Cinderella at Walt Disney World. She told me I had the perfect “princess” face. I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to take the job – they wanted to start me off in Tokyo, which would have been fun – but then I remembered that I wasn’t actually going to be Cinderella and would have to interact with children all day. It was a swift “thanks but no thanks”. Still, I was flattered.
I watched Sleeping Beauty the other night, for the first time in years. Aside from the astoundingly dumb plot line and the overbearing idiocy of the Aurora character, I’ve always liked this movie for its style. We all know that 14th century Europe was disgusting so Disney had to re-imagine something much more pleasing for their film. Digging a little deeper into the story of how this movie came about, I discovered this beautiful original concept art, done by Eyvind Earle, who Disney hired to style the film.
Talk about a dream job – why aren’t I doing this?!? Painting beautiful pictures for Disney all day…sheesh, I really took a wrong turn somewhere at the corner of banking logos and business cards. Turns out, this is a real thing – every movie starts with the concept art, to set the tone of the animation. Why didn’t they tell me this in design school?
Eyvind Earle also designed the look for Lady and the Tramp:
Here is some art by Disney powerhouse Mary Blair:
My Story Cinderella
And the wonderful Tyrus Wong, who did the concept art for the serious tearjerker Bambi
If you need me, I’ll be brushing up on my illustration skills. And don’t tell Disney this…but I’d love to see a movie animated in these styles. How beautiful would that be?