A Rough Group of Disney Characters
My eldest son is a big Disney fan. So for Christmas I decided bring together some of his favorite characters and draw them side by side. Chris tends to like the the darker personalities from the Disney realm.
Jack is the protagonist in Tim Burton’s 1993 stop motion animation movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas.
WHY: This movie melds three of my sons favorite loves, Disney, Christmas and Halloween. And with Tim Burton at the helm, it easily made the list.
The Pumpkin King’s head was sketched on black drawing paper using chalk-pastel coloring pencils. I had never worked with pastel pencils so this was a good excuse to try them out. I liked the textural effects they achieved with very little effort on my part. I added the orange glow using Adobe Photoshop once I scanned the drawing. I also used Photoshop to darken the background and give some dimension to the mouth.
The villain from Disney’s 2009 animated movie, The Princess and the Frog, is also known as the Shadow Man.
WHY: My son, who is a movie buff, considers The Princess and the Frog to be one of Disney’s best animated movies in quite some time, and the Shadow Man is his favorite character in the movie. When you add to this the fact that my son loves anything relating to New Orleans, then it is easy to see why Shadow Man made the list.
I have not done any drawing in quite some time, so I am a little out of practice. I had trouble trying to achieve skin tones with the 12 pencil colors I had. In the end, I did substantial redrawing in Photoshop in an attempt to improve the image.
Drawing #3: The Headless Horseman
Washington Irving wrote a short story entitled The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow has a special place in my son’s heart:
- As a child, every year around Halloween, Chris would watch the Disney animated movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which was narrated by Bing Crosby. Even now at the age of 29 he watches it.
- My son co-wrote and co-directed a student play called Sleepy Hollow while earning his theater degree at Western Washington University. It got rave reviews.
- Chris recently completed the manuscript for the first of a six book series about Ichabod Crane and Sleepy Hollow. He has been working on this project for over six years.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movie series was inspired by a popular Disneyland attraction (ride). Davy Jones first appears in the second movie as the legendary captain of the Flying Dutchman who claims the soles of those sailors who die at sea. In this version, Davy Jones appears as half-man, half octopus.
WHY: Swashbuckling movies with plenty of action, based on a Disney ride. Of course this made the list.
I was pretty happy with the way DJ came out so I didn’t touch him up in Photoshop, other than to create the glow in his pipe and add some smoke.
This is the yeti from the Matterhorn Bobsled roller coaster ride in Fantasyland at Disneyland. There are actually three yetis in this attraction. One Yeti can be seen from both tracks and the other two are only visible from the tracks which pass by them.
WHY: Technically this is not one of my sons favorite Disney characters. But he does love yetis in general so I think this is a good candidate to add to this group of unsavory characters.
I was running short of time to get this done by Christmas, so I used photos for the ice cave and colorful crystals.
So, what is the point?
This does seem like a random assortment of characters stuck together with no apparent purpose. Well, I did have a reason for putting them together like this.
If you have been to the Disneyland Resort, you have no doubt seen the kiosks at Disneyland and Downtown Disney with artists creating custom name paintings of Disney princesses. In these stylized paintings, the princesses are posed to form each letter of a person’s name. And with the addition of some glitter, a little Disney magic is made. It is a great souvenir for little girls.
The artist we talked to did only princess themed paintings, but I have heard that around Halloween, there are artists who do villains.
The cost is based on the number of letters in the name, and you are able to chose which characters you want the artist to render. Depending on how many letters are used, a completed name, matted and framed may cost less then $100. If this is a bit much, there is also an option of doing only the first letter in the name with a princess painting and having the rest of the letters spelled out. Omitting the frame will also save some money and make it a little less cumbersome to transport, but you will probably end up wanting to frame the art and hang it on your wall. My guess is that the Disney frames are going to be less expensive then having one specially made at a frame shop.
What I did was to take this Disney Princess idea in another direction.
First, I went with some darker characters, because that’s what my son likes. And, of course, I put them on a black background to heighten the ghoulish mood. It may seem like this is not in keeping with the Disney spirit. It is true that this wouldn’t be appropriate for small children, but these are all Disney characters, and we all know that a good Disney story usually has a great darker character (usually known as the villain).
Using pastel pencils to create some rough, angry textures was also a departure from the bright, watercolor techniques that the princesses paintings endear. I wonder if I went a little too far by replacing the glitter with photographic flames.
I also tried to camouflage the letters to a degree, so that people say, “oh yeah, I see it now.” Did you notice the letters in the drawing at the top of the post when you first saw it? I hope not. It was meant to sneak up on you, not jump out and bite you. I did give you a little hint by using my son’s name. Also, giving Jack a crescent moon face seems a little odd without a reason.
I have enhanced the drawing below, lightening the letters so you are able to see them better. If you still have trouble, squinting a little may help.