Creating children's books is a vast collaborative process. Even down to the simplest board book, there is a synergy between the entire creative team's efforts. From the writer's words, to the agent's input, to the editor's tweaks, to the art director's choice of illustrator, to the illustrator's vision looping back to the writer's words, to the marketing team's suggestions, to the printer and binder, to the final book. Even still, I've left out crucial team players.
Today, Joan and I will often turn in board and picture books with illustrated dummies of our vision. At times we are asked to develop those images further, and other times, our designs are shared with another illustrator, as a further guide to our concept. Sometimes they are withheld to bring a fresh look to the table.
Maybe this process is what made me so excited for Design, The Archive Series, by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Here is a visual record of those images and concepts which fed into our beloved children's animated films. We solidly know the scope and presentation of Bambi and now Tangled, but what were the whispers, the emotions, the sweeping colors that guided those final choices? Stylized or abstract; watercolor, oil or pencil, each entry conveys a mood which in turn shaped a film.
This immense work is a document to the progression of film imagery in the United States. What a treasure to saturate yourself with Mary Blair's paintings, and then Chen-Yi Chang's, and my favorite, Eyvind Earle's. It is a pleasure to find inspirations and wisps of familiar characters.
I recommend this collection for your own coffee table. Totz and their siblings will devour the pages, along with you and your friends. Who knows? Maybe it will feed a budding artist in your very midst.
If you are lover of all things Disney, check out this blog for more, more, more!
Design, The Archive Series
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Disney Enterprises, 2010