This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
76 INTERVIEW GLEN KEANE, DISNEY Creating a princess

This year Disney Store is celebrating Disney Princess, and Katie Roberts was lucky enough to meet one of the firm’s longest-serving animators to find out how design and licensed toy lines are changing…

Animator turned toy designer Glen Keane with his creations at Toy Fair

GLEN KEANE is like royalty in Disney terms. During a 38-year career, he has created Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Tarzan, among others. Most recently, Keane was animation supervisor on Tangled, and the Rapunzel doll was the first he worked on in the recent Animator Doll Collection, which re-imagines Disney Princesses as toddlers.

Tell us about new the Animator Dolls. What’s nice about Disney is there’s always a desire for higher quality if you can get it. It’s like if you’re going to record music, the closer you get to the original, the better. Well in this case, that’s exactly what we did. This [Rapunzel doll] is the first and when I was designing Rapunzel for the film, I was holding my new granddaughter, so the character was based on her. So I then worked with the modeller and sculptor and as soon as you sculpt it digitally, you’ve got the basis for an enormous amount of product. So we’d made this doll and when the film came out, this doll was

APRIL 2012

The Animators’ Collection dolls are characterised by their round tummies and chubby cheeks

being sold and was so hugely popular, we decided to go back and re-do the whole line.

So we now have a line of ten Disney Princess dolls and they have this really wonderful, cute

appearance. Their tummy comes out, which is my favourite thing about my chubby little granddaughter. And the cheeks... I mean, my granddaughter’s name is Matisse, but I call her Ma- cheeks, so I got that in there too.

What do you think makes the Disney Princesses such a long- lasting brand?

My view is that fairy tales lived on long before we ever got into doing

with that, so I animate characters from the inside out. And I think people connect with that kind of hope, maybe even more today.

Have the characters you have designed changed during your time at Disney?

Ariel was the beginning of a new generation now known as ‘the second golden age of animation’. I remember at The Little Mermaid premiere in Westwood. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston were my mentors, so afterwards, I said: “What did you think?” And they said: “Well, we wouldn’t have done it that way. Glen, there were a lot of ugly

When I was designing Rapunzel, I was holding my new granddaughter,

so the character was based on her.

them as films, so why did they live on for hundreds of years? There’s something deep underneath the surface; it’s like a river of truth and you connect with them. The thing I found in animating Ariel or the Beast is they believe the impossible is possible. I really connect

drawings in there. When we were doing Snow White or Cinderella, every drawing had to be pretty.” And I said: “Yeah, that was intentional. Whenever I had a choice of doing something real, or something pretty, I always chose real.” In order to get the right expression, sometimes

you had to scrunch up Ariel’s face and get a sour look. And so this new generation was treating the Princesses not with kid gloves, but like their sister, like their wives.

Do you think that’s what will keep them going for another generation? I think it’s really important that we have a new generation of artists that will make those same kind of choices that we made back then. Like now, I’m one of the older guys at Disney and I try to encourage them to not do the same thing I did, but instead take something from your own life and put it into your work. Make it real, make it personal. You’ve got to keep making the characters fresh, not derivative.

Do you think the new dolls are the future of the licensed toys? Will future toys be closer to characters in the films? Yes I do. You have that digital information now and you can reduce that to any size. You still need sculptors to work with and create attitudes, but I think we can get a lot closer to the authenticity of design in the original.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92