George: The Art of Disney Princesses has been on my radar for a while, but it never really made any headlines when it was released. We both received review copies of the title and took a decidedly longer look at the book. Being strictly an art book that is more of a tribute book and not a history book really narrows down the audience for this title. That being said, it still might be a worthwhile addition to your collection.
Jeff: Being that we are both hardcore history and research nerds, we tend to have our noses buried into other, more research heavy books. But this one is much different, as George said. Aside from a great (but short) introduction from Glenn Keane, and some short blurbs from artists every so often, there isn’t much writing in this book. It’s mostly just art. And interpretive art, at that.
George: Basically, like The Art of Mickey Mouse, the editors chose an amazing cadre of modern artists to interpret their favorite Disney Princess. As Keane states in the introduction: “This book is a celebration of the heroic young ladies known as Disney Princesses. It is a delight to see them portrayed in such varied artistic styles and interpretations by such a gathering of talented artists.”
Jeff: To me, it was incredibly interesting to see how each artist chose to portray these Disney Princesses that we all know and love. While some are simply breathtaking versions of them in their normal settings, others take them from what we are used to, and totally re-invent their style. For example, there is one of Belle and Beast, with Belle as a sort of mechanical hero and Beast as a transformer of sorts, that is not only an amazing idea but looks spectacular.
George: That is really what is so special about this book. We get more than 150 paintings, drawings, photographs and mixed media presentations about Disney Princesses. It’s not the standard Disney Princess image, either. As Jeff mentioned, the artists will have the Princess in a different pose or setting, even changing what you might think of the iconic figure. I think my favorites were the ones that presented the Princesses in a movie poster format. Or the ones that gave an feeling for the character through a few brushstrokes that captured the essence of the Princess. Actually, I liked most of them!
Jeff: I agree…most of them are pretty fantastic. Art Noveau princesses for the win! However, despite all the amazing artwork, I still felt like the book needed a little more to it. Every 20 pages or so, there would be a short blurb from an artist about their process, why they choose the princess they did, and why that art style. To me, it was fascinating, but not enough. I wanted more of this, to get into a little more insight into what they were creating. Maybe not for EVERY piece of art in the book, but more than just the 10 they featured.
George: It’s safe to say that this book is for the Princess fan and people that are interested in different artistic styles. It’s a good addition to your collection but not a title that you will go back to fairly often. I agree with Jeff and would like to have had more substance, in a way. Not that the art wasn’t fantastic, but I really wanted to learn more about the styles or what the artists were going after with their designs and decisions. It’s a fascinating look at modern interpretations of Disney Princesses but I was surprised at the sheer number of Ariels, Belles, Snow Whites and Cinderellas.
Jeff: There was only a handful of other Princesses, including lesser known ones such as Kida Nedakh from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. It’s great that some of the ones not in the “most popular” category get some respect. But I still would have liked to see more variety. And again, while the artwork is absolutely stunning, the price tag may scare some folks away for an “art” book. That said, like George mentioned, if you’re a big fan of Princesses (or has a child who is), it’s definitely worth picking up.
Are you going to add this book to your collection? Would you like to see more books like this featuring different characters?
By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly The Greatest Online Show ™ (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceTube.