Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Queen of Hearts, from Mary to Frank

 I have always loved Mary Blair's depictions of the Queen of Hearts for the film Alice in Wonderland.
A grotesque, brash, bossy and even dangerous monarch. Because of her stylized pre production imagery Mary went all out to portray this eccentric Queen with broad but effective brushstrokes.
ans as usual, her color choices for the character's environments were brilliant.
To quote Marc Davis: " Mary knew color better than Matisse." She had a way of putting colors together that surprised everybody, colors that you thought wouldn't work together.

Animator Frank Thomas took some of Mary's ideas, but transformed the character into a slightly more dimensional universe, in order to fit with the rest of the  cast. The essence of the Queen's personality remained the same, Frank just needed a bit more realism to portray her over the top performances in a believable way.
To me both graphic approaches helped to define this villainess and helped to establish her overbearing, but funny character traits.

A rough animated scene with the queen of Hearts showcasing an abrupt emotional outburst is featured in my new book on The Nine Old Men.