Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seeing Red

Frankly, I can't see what all the fuss is about regarding the new Merida makeover...

By the way, for those out of the loop, here's the silly controversy I'm referencing regarding a perceived makeover of Merida from Disney/Pixar's Brave. And here's my take on the subject that I had posted on Facebook that I think is worth reposting here:

I must admit I feel that everybody is getting their knickers in a knot unnecessarily about this supposed makeover of Merida. I suspect it is nothing more than a less than faithful final rendering done by an outside illustrator based on a much better and accurate drawing by the talented Jennifer Gwynne Oliver, not a deliberate, insidious attempt to sex her up at all. Part of the problem is that, in order to fit into "The Disney Princess" merchandising program, Merida (like Rapunzel before her) has to be translated from CG to drawing to be consistent with the others. In so doing, some of the subtleties of the design are lost, notably the complex frizzy hair, as well as the need to define her eyes more graphically with an outline.
I think it's fair to say that even the traditionally animated Disney girls have lost some of their likeness as they've been homogenized into a consistent art style for this merchandising program. Aurora in particular has been rounded out more from her original, more graphic design. To be honest, I've never much liked the mentality of "The Disney Princess" program to begin with, as it takes these characters out of context of their respective cartoon universes, as well as away from the unique variety of shapes and sizes of their respective co-stars. It then places them together alongside their similarly shaped sorority in what looks like a Vanity Fair photo shoot, not allowing any of them to acknowledge or interact with each other in any way. Artistically it's a pretty dumb concept, however little girls just love it and, since they're the target market for all the dolls and accessories, I say let it be. Personally I don't give a rat's ass about them being "role models" - that's just a lot of ultraliberal claptrap. 

8 comments:

kurtwil said...

Am wondering if the _intended_ audience for these characters can see or care about, the differences?

Your cute caricature, Pete, reminded me of Megara. ;-)

Christopher Sobieniak said...

I'm sure they fit into the "But she's got a hat!" category, kurtwil. :-P

Eric Scales said...

I'm glad you said it- I thought I was gonna be the only one that thought it was overblown. The two complaints I keep seeing are that they thinned her waist (did they? I guess I can perceive a slight, slight difference, but was she not thin in the movie?) and that her hair had been tamed- no, that's the same hair. It's 2D and perhaps simplified, but that's the same hair. The eyes I noticed and everyone seemed to be complaining that her eyes are too sexy, without understanding that she's got noticeable lashes now, thus makeup. You're right though, the whole "princess" as a brand thing totally strips these beautiful characters of their individuality and stories and plops them into a gold,pink, and purple world where they can all live together without actually interacting.

Pete Emslie said...

Frankly, I think they should just leave the CG girls out of the Disney Princess merchandising program altogether. They don't naturally fit in and have to be adapted to line illustration to remain consistent with the others. It looks like some people can't understand that process, and therefore go on to make much ado about nothing. When it comes right down to it, the Disney Princesses are for the little girls who naturally love all things that are pretty. It's a totally harmless, fluffy concept, is all.

kurtwil said...

The artists could do a "toon render" of a CG character that would preserve all its original proportions, but that can introduce other glitches.

Negative comments have been simmering ever since the 2012 Princess redesign. Looks like Merida's conversion blew the lid off.

What's really sad is public gets less opportunity to see the original designs, which in some cases took years for artists/animators to create.

Natalie Belton said...

I never liked the whole 'spoiled sweet' feel of the whole Disney princess line in the first place. Why do people care more about Brave than all the other movies? It's the fate of merchandising a line based on selling girls dolls and makeup.

Reginald Ferguson said...

Hi Pete let me first say i love your art, and i follow your blog very closely. I have a question on your line work of this drawing that you did of merida. Did you do that line work in photoshop or illustrator, and if so what is the process of how you go about getting your lines to look the way they do?And if possible could you demonstrate how you did that?

Reginald Ferguson said...

Hi Pete let me first say i love your art, and i follow your blog very closely. I have a question on your line work of this drawing that you did of merida. Did you do that line work in photoshop or illustrator, and if so what is the process of how you go about getting your lines to look the way they do?And if possible could you demonstrate how you did that?