Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

You know how sometimes you have an idea as soon as you wake up? This morning, this was mine:

It’s a combination of Scott McCloud’s approach to analyzing Golden Age superhero costumes, and Dustin Weaver‘s recent observation that, with her bold, primary colors and jet black hair, Snow White is basically Superman.

Just as we involuntarily, subconsciously know that purple + green= Hulk, red + gold = Iron Man and gray + bluish black + a tiny bit of yellow = Batman, we can’t see that unique combination of blue-green, red, flesh and lavender without immediately thinking (in a Jamaican accent) “Ariel!” We can instantly recognizable all the Disney heroines from their color schemes alone. I haven’t tried it with any other characters, but you can easily imagine similar color swatches for villains (Ursula, Gaston, Jafar, Scar, and Radcliffe all have wonderful and very distinct color schemes), heroes (think of Beast, Aladdin, John Smith, or especially Quasimodo), or even supporting characters (though characters like Flounder, Genie, Phoebus, or Mushu tend to be colored from much simpler palettes.) In every case, the colors are as unique as the character designs themselves.

(Notice that with the exception of Snow White these are all characters from the post-1989 Disney Renaissance. Disney had some terrific character designs in the 30’s, 50’s and 60’s, but the color element doesn’t particularly stand out for me. Quick! What color was Aurora’s dress in Sleeping Beauty? …See? Even if you know, you had to think about it.)

I don’t understand color. I barely understand how it works in real life, and I’m certainly not to the point of being able design with color in an appealing way. What Disney does (or did?) is simply amazing to me. They can paint with all the colors of the wind!

(By the way, here’s a link to a cool artist who drew many of the Disney princesses as superheros.)