Last year during the #RalphBreakstheInternetEvent we had the opportunity to chat with Disney Animator Mark Henn. During the drawing session, he shared with us all kinds of details about animation at Disney and ended by drawing Ariel for us. He was excited about drawing the princess for us, and even though it had been a few years since he drew her, he quickly sketched her while chatting with us about her being featured in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Within the studio there is a little group called ‘Legacy’, they do a lot of hand-drawn animation, primarily for the parks. They have drawn characters for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, two shows in Tokyo which required original animation of the Fab Five. The legacy program is primarily how animators like Henn, work on hand-drawn projects.
Opportunities for hand-drawn animators, however, exist outside the program as well. Mark worked with Eric Goldberg on mini Maui tattoos. Henn is one of three animators globally that still work primarily in hand-drawn animation only.
Disney Princess Legend
Mark is credited as the lead 2D animator on Wreck-It Ralph, he was asked to join the team for Ralph Breaks the Internet because of the Princess Scene in Oh My Disney. Fourteen were featured in the film, and of those, he has drawn half. He’s been labeled the ‘Princess Guy’ at the studio. His first was Ariel.
Disney Believes In Passing On Knowledge
Mark serves as a senior mentor for CGI animators at the studio. He brings his experience and knowledge to help the CGI animators create strong animations. The studio believes it’s important to pass down what Mark learned from the previous generatio to the new generation of animators.
2D Animators Work Fast
Another interesting fact Mark shared with us, is how he can work on CGI films using his 2D animation skills. When directors have characters and they want a quick test done to see how they could animate the character, it’s faster for Mark to take on the project. CGI requires pre-building and rigging before you can even animate a character. Mark can do those test faster for production in the early stages of creating a film.
There was a lot of uproar on the internet about how the Disney Princesses looked different in Ralph Breaks the Internet, verses how they looked in their actual films. Mark shared that they are technically avatars. He hoped they would get to animate them in 2D when they first started with production of the film, but they are CG characters. They are a stylization of the actual characters hence the different style of the ladies.
Working Across Divisions
Mark works with several different divisions in Disney to share his input and expertise on Disney characters, now just princesses. He has given feedback on video game characters and emojis, about their animation and making sure nothing was off about the character.
In honor of its 30th anniversary, two-time Academy Award®-winner (Best Original Score and Best Original Song “Under the Sea,” 1989) “The Little Mermaid,” dives into the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection with all-new bonus features and a sing-along mode. The magical, musical tale of mermaid princess Ariel — along with loveable sidekicks Sebastian and Flounder, and the love-to-hate sea witch Ursula — is
“The Little Mermaid” is the seventh title to join the Walt Disney Signature Collection, which includes groundbreaking films created or inspired by the imagination and legacy of Walt Disney, featuring timeless stories and characters that have touched generations. The film takes its place alongside “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pinocchio,” “Bambi,” “The Lion King” and “Lady and the Tramp.”
The Little Mermaid Signature Collection is available on Disney Digital today.