2.25.2010

The Art of The Princess and the Frog / Jeff Kurtti : 5 of 5

It's been a long time since I've added a Disney art book to my collection, but since The Princess and the Frog is such a milestone in animation history, I knew I needed this one in my library, and my pal Ryan sent it to me for Christmas! Like most art books, this is a beautiful hardback with thick, high-quality pages overflowing with sketches and developmental artwork from the film (with far fewer production film stills than usual, which is a good thing!). Although there are tons more images than text, I was happy to read some wonderful words by John Lasseter (where he mentions the intentional Lady and the Tramp style, as well as the genius of directors Clements and Musker), followed by a nice mini-history of the three Golden Ages of Disney animation. The end of the book also has a great section discussing the current master animators (truly the equivalent of the Nine Old Men, and even taught by them!) and how this film allowed them to begin passing down their artform to new artists. Everyone was so excited to be working on this important movie, and it shows in every beautiful image! Although most of the paintings are produced digitally now (with tools that simulate brushes with amazing results), it's fun to see the animators sketches are almost always still in good ol' pencil. The amount of development work that was done to capture the essence of New Orleans is simply incredible (even with the interesting use of 3D assist to help with architectural perspective), and I loved studying how this contrasts with the feel of the bayou, which was based on the conceptual techniques pioneered in Bambi (everything is a building block in Disney animation, and everything is valuable!). It was fun finding new details I didn't really catch in the movie (such as the steamboat smokestacks on top of Tiana's restaurant), and I absolutely love looking at color scripts with all their vibrant energy. This book shows a true reverence for the art of animation and Disney animated features, and made me even happier and more grateful that this magical style still lives on in The Princess and the Frog!