I’ve been procrastinating on a few cartoons, mostly because it takes me so long to edit down from my chicken scratch drawings to something presentable. Here’s the first one. This idea came to me while watching Doctor Who. Not sure why…
So, it’s definitely been done before, but I wanted to do some minimalist designs. I’ve started with Disney because minimalism is at its most awesome when it’s with something iconic, and Disney knows how to do iconic. As proof of concept to myself before moving on to other minimalist things, I decided to start with Snow White. Snow White herself is probably the most iconic of the Disney princesses, mainly because she was the first and…come on, that dress. Add Dopey and Doc to the mix and you’ve got a pretty iconic group. More to come after this. It was super fun and didn’t take half as much time as a gender swap, so I might be able to chug one of these out more often than just once a week. (I’m thinking some Star Trek after this.)
[Click for larger view]
I had considered using the facial feature that best described each of the dwarfs for clarity rather than naming them–Doc is obviously the glasses and Dopey is the ears, which I kept in–but I considered doing some sort of scowl for Grumpy and round cheeks for Happy and red cheeks for Bashful, etc. Unfortunately, it kind of spoils the minimalist look by adding too much detail. I’m even at odds with myself for putting belts and buttons on some.
Also, yes, these shapes are based off of the international symbols for restrooms, with some tweaks (including necks, a longer dress for Snow White and some pudge for Doc and Happy.) You might also notice some color recursion. No doubt this was intentional by Disney, either to 1) make their lives easier, 2) save money by not having to buy so many different color inks for their animation cels or 3) to create a definitive color scheme and pallet to work its way through the movie as a kind of way to make the dwarfs distinct, yet keep them cohesive. Take your pick.
You may also be wondering about my opinion on the dwarfs vs. dwarves argument. Growing up as a fantasy nerd, I prefer the Tollkien-esque “dwarves” but for this post I’m going for the Disney “dwarfs,” which is technically the acceptable spelling but not an acceptable way to refer to little people outside of the fantasy genre (yes, I include Game of Thrones in fantasy despite it being super popular among the…I call them “normies.” Though it would be interesting if people started calling the story Snow White and the Seven Imps.)
Don’t believe me about the Disney spelling? Check it out:
Obligatory copyright notice: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, plus its characters and designs, are copyright of Disney. My work is a creation of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.
It’s time for another Disney gender swap! This time: Beauty and the Beast. So, I’ve been planning this for a long time, but originally I had wanted to do a Beast/Belle swap, since I thought it would be interesting to see how the story changes with the Beast being a girl. However, Photoshopping Belle into a beast? Way too much work. So instead, here’s Belle and Gaston instead.
In this version of the story, Belle is a huntress, beloved by all the town and thus has a really bloated ego. She has her sights set on the most handsome man in town, the inventor’s son: Gaston, who looks a little something like this:
I honestly can’t look at this picture without cracking up. Note that his expression is in no way photoshopped. That’s from an actual screengrab.
Anyway, Gaston dreams of leaving this poor, provincial town and finding adventure in the great, wide somewhere. In addition to being seen by the town as an oddball with his nose constantly stuck in his books and his head up in the clouds, he is constantly being harassed by the boorish, brainless Belle. In a very stalker-y move, she plans a wedding outside Gaston’s house and then proposes to her, winding up in the muddy pond for her troubles. After Gaston’s father goes raving about a beast in the tavern while Belle is brooding there, Belle comes up with a plan to send his father to the asylum in order force him to marry her.
When Belle finds out that Gaston has fallen in love with a beastwoman in a forest castle, she gathers a mob and goes after her, setting her sights on killing the beast and mounting her head on her wall. Gaston, who has been imprisoned in his own house, manages to escape and run to save the Beast just as Belle is attempting to kill her. Belle ends up falling to her death from the castle’s turret and Gaston weeps, confessing his love to the dying beast, who changes back into a beautiful princess.
So, it’s always interesting to notice how our perceptions of a traditional Disney tale change with just the swapping of genders. Belle as the huntress character is much more proactive, almost to a fault. She stops at nothing to get her way. For a man like Gaston, this is not an unusual portrayal in films, especially for villains, but showing the darker side of obsession from the female side is something that is far less common. I do like the fact that she is badass with weapons, though, but I much less like the fact that she thinks books are dumb. That is something that I think they really did well with Beauty & the Beast–Belle is one of the most intelligent, rational Disney heroines. Sure, she ends up getting the guy in the end, but really she was just in it to save her father, a truly noble act.
If this were a Disney movie, I think a lot of people would think up some very unkind things to say about this version of Gaston–maybe that he’s weak, a nerd, a pansy, passive, whatever. Maybe some people might even think he’s an idiot for not wanting to marry the most beautiful girl in town, who’s a master hunting and beloved by all to the point where they sing songs about her. I am conflicted a bit about the message the Beast’s storyline sends. At first, it’s a story about loving someone for who they are, no matter what they look like, but then in the end the Beast becomes beautiful so really it is all about looks after all. Granted, that’s the same message in the original setup, but for some reason I feel like it’s a worse crime to give that message to young girls when the character it’s referring to actually is a girl.
Anyway, so there you have it! Whenever you’re having a bad day, just look at that dopey expression on Gaston’s face and you’ll feel instantly better.
Bonus: Before and after pictures!
(Click for full size)
Artist’s note: I kept a few muscles on Belle, just to follow with the “huntress” theme, but I slimmed her down to the size she actually is in the movie. Her waistline isn’t half as egregiously tiny as most other Disney heroines (Sleeping Beauty and the 3D ones like Frozen and Tangled being the most criminal of these misrepresentations). For Gaston, I did leave some of the muscles, but he’s about half the size he normally is. I didn’t want him looking like the Hulk about to burst out of Bruce Banner’s clothes, but I wanted him to look distinct from Belle so that he wasn’t just Gaston’s head on top of her body. Also note that Gaston is not wearing a dress; I turned the dress w/apron combo into a white shirt atop blue pants with a blue vest. He is wearing a bow in his hair, though, but if you look at the film, he wears a bow in his wedding outfit, and a ponytail at all times. (The bow actually is his wedding bow turned blue instead of the original yellow.)
Obligatory copyright notice: All characters, plots and original images are copyright Disney. Original screencaps provided by disneyscreencaps.com. The photoshopped images are mine and are works of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.