Saturday, June 9, 2012

Belle of the Bayou

This Princess Tiana limited edition art is by Tim Shumate. Out of all the concept art I've seen for Tiana, this is my absolute top pick! The mix of pin-up edge and a quarter sleeve tattooed could have something to do with it. I probably died during each process of the unveiling of "The Princess and Frog", but nothing compares to hearing that her nickname is Tia in the film!! I fell to pieces in my theater seat. It's almost embarrassing to say that I even cried at that moment.

On three occasions I decided to develop a story and illustrate my own concept art to send to Disney Studios. Don't judge me too harshly, I know they would never pay anything like that any attention. However, as a kid, an extreme Disney kid, I believed it was possible and I was going to make it happen. One day a full blown animated film starring a girl who looked like me would exist. I didn't care what I had to do to make that happen, I just wanted it so bad. Eventually, after zero replies from Disney I had given up and grown up. I had even forgotten about those 3 story pitch packages I had sent away. As time passed, years down the line I heard that "The Princess and The Frog" would be Disney's return to 2D animation. Not only was it 2D but the heroine princess was African-American. Fast forward to watching the complete film with my family on opening day I'm still smiling in retrospect. After leaving the theater my mother turned to me, smiled and said "It's almost as if they made this movie just for you. Tiana is you all over and she has your name. You finally got your dream T."
I did, I finally saw what I had dreamed for in front of my eyes living and breathing in the cinema.
Sometimes I can't help but wonder maybe they did receive those packages. Maybe they didn't have the immediate effect I wanted and maybe they weren't the sole contributions to this happening. But maybe those pixie dust sprinkled, manila packages served as a link in the chain. This is ambitious of me to think, huge for me to dream. I just can't help but wonder. Dreams will always come true, the Disney empire is constant proof of that.


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