Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Off to the Ball

Designing the tapestries and murals for Auberge de Cendrillon (Cinderella Restaurant) in Disneyland park, Paris was most challenging in terms of storytelling. The story elements depicted had to be carefully considered since not every guest would see every piece of art. The entry hall of the restaurant would contain a tapestry depicting the start of the story and another room would contain several tapestries showing Cinderella’s domestic life.

The final, more elegant room needed to convey the story even if one didn’t see the tapestries in the other room. This room featured a fireplace at one end as a focal point and it was determined that it needed to be the spot for the final mural. The remaining mural locations all needed to continue to visually tell the story and naturally lead to the final panel. Most of the panels in this room were well-proportioned portrait like openings. But one panel in the room was located over a door and it had a long landscape proportion. I needed something in this area that would continue the story and lead the eye to the next panel. The pumpkin coach ride to the ball was a perfect fit.

This sequence actually occurs in the film and I thought that it would be easy – I could just trace the animator’s drawing. Unfortunately, even though a frame from the film might be blown-up onto a 30-foot motion picture screen the animator is working on a 17-inch wide sheet of paper. Details such as the faces of the horses, coachman and footman were omitted. The coachman and footman only had dots for their eyes.

I had to fill in all of the details and still make the guests believe that this is exactly what was seen in the movie. I created the line art and again art directed the wonderfully talented Julie Svendsen in the final work.

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