Sunday, December 1, 2013

Art of Disney's FROZEN


“Now then, let us begin. When we are at the end of the story, we shall know more than we know now: but to begin.”   -Hans Christian Anderson, "The Snow Queen" 
Anna Drawing Artist: Jin Kim

Elsa the snow queen by Jin Kim

 How do you take an idea and show it to the world? DRAWINGS!
        It took about 600 artist to make the movie FROZEN. All 600 deserve their moment in the lime light but I want to specifically bring attention to some amazing art made by some talented people at Disney. It took 70 years of off and on development, innumerable story variations, and many failed attempts but the Snow Queen finally has finally been initiated into the disney family. Enjoy these concept/visual development drawings and paintings I have collected from the corners of the internet of my fellow Disney Artists. David Womersley did the following landscapes!

Landscapes show scale and can set the tone of the story (Artist: David Womersley)
Snow isn't just white, snow can reflect a spectrum of colors! (Artist: David Womersley)

       Keep in mind that 80 percent of all art work made for a movie is never seen by the outside world. Why? Because when an artist is drawing for a movie, they are exploring the film. For example: this means an artist might do a hundred drawings trying to figure out how a character should look. "Is he too short, no he should be taller, he looks too old in this drawing, ooh how about a beard? Is he too skinny?" The artist draws and draws until finally, he/she comes across a drawing the director likes. That chosen drawing is the only one to live on while the other hundreds of exploratory drawings are put away. These drawings below by Brittney Lee and Bill Schwab are golden.

Artist: Bill Schwab
arttist: Bill Schwab
Artist: Brittney Lee
In my opinion, this is one of the best Disney dress of all time (artist: Brittney Lee) 

      These following model packets show the range of emotion for the sisters and Olaf. As an animator these drawings serve as guidelines and they help us keep the characters on model. Every character has a specific personality, We work to make sure everyone knows every characteristic of each character so that they are believable when they are up on the screen. They really capture the essence of the "Disney appeal." Jin Kim and Hyun Min Lee are the talented artists responsible for model packets below! 

good drawing = strong knowledge of techniques and life drawing (Jim Kim)

I love to practice drawing these on my spare time (Jim Kim)
Olaf and appealing mouth shapes! (Artist: Hyun Min Lee)

      Below are some Paintings from Lisa Keene. She is great at showing a full emotional range of color within an icy white setting. Check out these next three paintings by Her

Artist: Lisa Keene
Artist: Lisa Keene
Artist Lisa Keene


“Many a winter’s night she flies through the streets of the town, and peeps in at
the windows; and they then freeze in so wondrous a manner that they look like flowers.”

“It was a lady; her cloak and cap were of snow. She was tall and of slender figure, and of a dazzling whiteness. It was the Snow Queen.”

The Snow Queen by Elena Ringo
“… a woman, dressed in garments of white gauze, which looked like millions of starry snow-flakes linked together. She was fair and beautiful, but made of ice — shining and glittering ice. Still she was alive and her eyes sparkled like bright stars, but there was neither peace nor rest in their glance”

Copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

Artist: Marc Davis

Disney has been trying to make this movie for years..  Copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

       Why was it so hard to make the Snow Queen into a film? Mostly because in the original story the Queen is described beautifully but is lacking in personality and is completely un-relatable. Her actions are unexplained and she is not even present in the climax of the original story. How could one make an entire movie out of a character that has no dimension? This has been the question of the century in the Walt Disney studios since 1943... 
     Finally, the making of The Little Mermaid, another tale by Hans C. Andersen, was a success for Disney and literature once again springboard for Disney features. Many people tried to work on the story of the Snow Queen, even Disney Legend Glenn Keane tried but to no avail. After Tangled was a success, in 2010 the studio again tried to thaw the story of the Snow Queen with the directors from Beauty and Beast and an army of established artists.. John Lasseter also joined the fray as executive producer but again the story did not work...
      Disney then announced the film under the title, FROZEN! It was to be made and they gave it a release date and all! No story, no characters, no where to start!!!?? One simple suggestion changed all that:

“What if Anna and Elsa were sisters?”

      The rest is history, from that little suggestion the Snow Queen snow balled into what it is today. The resulting story is inspired by the original story and nothing more. The integral themes of the Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale are still intact: Love, Family, and finding your inner strength. This movie no matter what flaws it may have, has an equal number of reasons to be able to stand on it's own and hold a place in the pantheon of Disney Classics. 

David Womersley and Brittney Lee

Art: Lisa Keene

Shape and line must me continued through broken structures (design) Artist: David W.

    Go watch the movie and I hope you like it! Stay after the credits and you'll get a bonus clip and if you search and look hard enough, you might see some cameos by another Disney princess!!!! That's all I'm saying :) Thanks for reading, soak in the art and always keep in mind, my blog = my thoughts. They are not facts, just insights from my world here at Disney that I love sharing with you!

Artist Brittney Lee
Artist: Hyun Min Lee
OALF!! Artist: Hyun Min Lee
Shiyoon Kim


  1. Watched the movie on its first night and really enjoyed it. Missed the bonus clip even though I stayed till -almost- the very end as I wanted to read who performed the songs. By the way it is Hans Christian Andersen, not Anderson.

  2. It's amazing how Elsa and Anna's traditional sketches are captured in their CG counterparts. It's almost as if Disney has mastered blurring the line between the two mediums like a hybrid.

    1. Its all a collaboration between generations of animators! old and new :)

  3. The D23 image on the right of the ice palace interior is Brittney Lee's and the bottom drawing of the Duke is Shiyoon Kim's

  4. There’s something special about this movie that I’m soooo addicted to it. Maybe because it tells more of sisterly love, something that’s been neglected to most of the romantic animated films. Happy enough that Frozen the movie was a sure hit at home. Lol!
    Glad to be reading your own thoughts about it too.  Good day dear!

  5. Thanks for sharing! This really gives me a lot of insight on what it takes to become a Disney Animator.

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  8. You did an amazing job on this! Thank you so much for sharing your talents!
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  10. Thanks a lot for giving everyone a very nice opportunity to see this pics!