Thursday, September 18, 2014

Designing Cinderella

After my presentation on Marc Davis last Saturday at the Walt Disney Family Museum, his art is still on my mind. Beside animation Marc was involved in many aspects during a film's pre-production phase. He often helped out with story work as well as character, costume and color designs. 
In these drawings Marc simplified the human figure in order to effectively show how a variety of outfits would look on Cinderella. 

Mary Blair's stylized concepts focus on strong graphic shapes and contrasting colors.

An early color model cel showing most of the film's cast. The somewhat unsure line work indicates that more work needs to be done to give the characters a more refined and polished look, worthy of a Disney production. Cinderella is a little short, and the King's Lackey would go through a complete design change.


  1. Brilliant! These are absolutely priceless! I'm so excited to explore them more on my own, thanks so much for sharing these.

  2. The colors was going different from the final movie in the last photo?

  3. My mother and I love this movie. Cinderella always provided inspiration for me trying to make my animation dream to come true. I found a book on Mary Blair's exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum at a bookstore in Colorado. I was amazed with all of her sketches and paintings. Andreas I am such a huge fan of Disney animation. Thank you for making Hercules one of my favorite male leads from the 90s renaissance of animation.

    1. Thank you...which reminds me start posting some of my Hercules pencil tests.

    2. That also reminds me what kind of paper do you guys use for hand drawn animation?

  4. Happy upcoming 500th post!

    And thanks for this, I always get a kick out of Marc Davis' limited color palette. Red, yellow, pink, black, indigo, pea-green, and a few others as needed - it looks caustic in the hands of anyone other than him <3

  5. Hallo Andreas. Thanks for posting these.
    It's incredible how incredibly solid these simple designs are. From what I can gather from the sample you posted and not having seen the exhibit, it seems Mary Blair's designs were less followed here than in Sleeping Beauty and Alice.
    On a side note: with all the "Disney Princesses" stuff my daughter is collecting recently I've noticed some of the ladies went through a major redesign.
    The one who suffered more from this "cosmetic surgery" operation is Cinderella. The hairdo has been modernized and made platinum blonde (she's actually a redhead in the movie) and her gown has been re-tailored too. Even if I totally understand the need to update a property for modern audiences, to me the charm of the character lies also with her "golden age movie star" allure.
    I don't know. to me it's like updating Grace Kelly to make her look like Cameron Diaz.

  6. Andreas, would you give an example of the "unsure line work" you referenced in this piece?