Thursday, March 06, 2014

Frozen - Family

Well, this past week has certainly been one wild ride.

 In the last of my posts on the process of working on Frozen, I wanted to talk about sisters. The relationship between Anna and Elsa was what originally compelled me to join the Frozen team, and what was at once an interesting and novel concept quickly turned into a relationship that I was remarkably (almost eerily) familiar with.

The Lee Girls - circa 1989

I am an older sister. I am an older, artistic, control freak, and annoyingly perfect-in-every-way sister. I analyze and approach with a calm, level head when possible. My younger, happy-go-lucky sister, Anna (aka Lainey) is compulsive. She would happily strike up conversations with complete strangers at age 5, and has been known to wildly drive golf carts into parked vehicles (also around age 5). She's a hugger, laughs till she cries, and is made of nothing but warmth. 

And though we love each other, it has always been difficult for the two of us to see eye to eye. As I watched Frozen begin to take its final shape, I would repeatedly have the wind knocked out of me at the striking similarities between the princesses and the two of us. Sure, I could give notes and feedback, but my input on plot was absolutely minimal. The story naturally moved in that direction, and I just happened to be a part of the team.

And then I was asked to illustrate A Sister More Like Me for Disney Publishing. I tell you, they sent me the manuscript and I was a weeping mess. My husband read through it in my office and I caught him being a weepy-mess as well. Why? Well, because it was like someone had been spying on my life for the last 20 years and then wrote it down in an adorable little poem. And then subsequently asked me to illustrate it.


The book is told from each sister's perspective as Elsa and Anna take turns talking about how each wishes her sister was more like her. Not only does it completely relate to their relationship in the film, but (I think) it also relates to every sibling who ever existed.

All images are property of Disney Publishing

Because of our compressed schedule, A Sister More Like Me had to be illustrated while I was still designing on Frozen, and though this made it difficult to get everything done, it was all completely worth it. Frozen was the learning experience of a lifetime, and a total joy at that. This little book was the frosting on the ice-cream cake.  

As we sat at the studio on Sunday watching the Academy Awards, I realized that this post would be timely for another reason. Looking at the 500+ people around me who were all cheering for the same film, it became clear how much of a family Walt Disney Animation Studios really is.  How family oriented filmmaking in general is. None of us can do it alone, and that is the beauty of the art form. We all work together, and if we are supportive and loving, we can bring out the best in each other. We can create something that is greater than the sum of all of our parts.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following through my ramblings on Frozen. I'm looking forward to sharing new things very soon.


Jen said...

my daughters both love your book Brittney!

Rocío Cintrón said...

Life has such beautiful irony! Thanks for sharing & congratulations!

Unknown said...

I am really greatful of your masterpiece 'frozen'

Congratulations on your two award winnings, as I belived it had to be

It was an honor to be your attentandee

Thank you Brittney Lee!

and i love your book!

The Amateur Aesthete said...

I don't think you understand how much your work inspires me as a budding artist. Please keep up the gorgeous work!

Joni said...

Love this- and the book is BEAUTIFUL. Your story makes it even more lovely. ^^

Looking forward to what you have to share next!

Samantha said...

Beautiful drawings and a really interesting post.
Congratulations on the award : )

Jeff Maka Merghart said...

Oh my..... I'm at work and I'm a weeping mess now ;P Beautiful story, beautiful work! Congratulations on Frozen and all it's well deserved accolades, and thank you for sharing your wonderful work as well as that personal story. All the best, hope we'll see you at SDCC ;)

Lynnetta said...


Ben Lo said...

awesome designs!


Brit, thanks for sharing this personal post. It's wonderful that your work helped you discover and deepen that relationship. Projects that can do that are rare and precious. See you around.

Katie Scheid said...

I have an older sister and the dynamic between us is the same as well! Incredible how universal some things can be.

I've been a fan of yours for years and am so excited that you got to work on such a dream project. Also jealous that my good buddy Zhenia got to meet you at comic-con and I didn't get to go. She did bring me back a signed print of yours though, and I treasure it.

Yay for RIT alumnae! :D

Laura Fleischmann said...

Really nice! Especially the picture when Elsa is playing with Anna's hair. Thank you very much for sharing !

Heather R. Holden said...

The sister dynamic is one of my favorite things about Frozen. Even though I'm the little sister, I can relate to Elsa while my sis reminds me so much of Anna. Very cool to see how well you can relate to their sibling relationship, too!

Unknown said...

Love love love :)

Rena Cheng said...

What a beautiful post!

Unknown said...

That was beautiful!

RJ said...

Thanks for posting--the art is fantastic! Best of luck.

Irena Freitas said...

Oh, Brittney, I love so much when you wirte about Frozen!
We can see how much you put yourself in the movie and the work you did, it's truly wonderful and inspiring.

Jennifer Sese said...

I'm so happy 8D Thank you for sharing your Frozen awesomeness with peoples!

Vanessa said...

YES. When I watched Frozen, I had the same sensation. Me and my sister made a vow to watch it together in the premiere and we were astounded by how it was the perfect depiction of our lives. I've never been an extrovert and because of some issues with my parents, some things made me go quiet and anxious. My little sister (not so little anymore), on the other hand, have always been the happy and fearless side of the relation. lol Plus, my room is entirely blue, and my favorite color is blue. Since I was 13, I was known as the cold-shoulder-girl; the ice princess. And my sister's room is entirely pink and she loves green and dresses and going out. We were really amazed by how the movie and writers and animators and illustrators were able to show, maybe most of, relations between older and younger sisters.

Btw, your work is amazing.

Danielle said...

i've been reading your blog awhile now and I fully bought this book awhile ago in Barnes & Noble after seeing you were the illustrator

Anonymous said...

I just want to say, thank you for sharing your art with the world. You are my inspiration and I think I've probably watched too many Disney movies with all of my crazy dreams, but one day I hope to be like you :)

Unknown said...

Thank you for your sharing ! This story is really touching :'D

In any case, your illustrations are really beautiful and cute !

FourEyedMonster said...

Congrats! Believe it or not, my family has yet to see Frozen. My young son is insistent we watch it so it is definitely on our to-watch list!

Sam said...

a wonderful post and gorgeous artwork. I think that part of the reason why Frozen has been such a huge hit is because of the relationship between the two sisters and how easy it is for us to relate to them! I have a sister as well, and found myself drawing some parallels too. :)

Unknown said...

Lainey could drive golf carts at the age of five? Wow! She’s pretty courageous. Haha! Kidding aside, it’s nice to know that you’re having a great relationship with your sister. It’s really hard to make the ends meet when you have different priorities and attitude, but your biological relationship will eventually make it work. Thanks for the share, Brittney! I’m a fan of Frozen too, by the way. :)

Jay Stewart

Unknown said...

Now I'm a weeping mess. Thank you so much for sharing! Thank you for being so personal and honest.

Antonia Herrera said...

Wow these are so beautiful! I will definitely buy the book.
It would be awesome to see your creative process (sketches, materials,etc)!

Unknown said...

Whoa. luckly for me, I find your blog!! I have your book and I love your drowings. Your work make me happy whenever. Thank you! :)

trish valdellon said...

so that's why, when i saw frozen (esp. the book version), i thought it looked a lot like your artwork. congratulations on this great project! and how lovely to be connected to it by art and heart. :) beautiful Brittney!

NeatoKeen@Etsy said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I am literally weeping as I write this. I, too, am an older sister and my two younger sisters have always been my best friends. My younger sister is battling cancer and the three of us absolutely bawled like little children when we went to see Frozen. It touched our hearts more than any other Disney film.

Knowing your story behind the scenes has somehow made it even more special. The pure emotion behind the animation translates perfectly on screen.

Thank you for sharing this with your readers. I am a new fan, Brittney! Now to Amazon to order the book for my sisters :D

Nicole said...

Brittney, I just received A Sister More Like Me to review on my blog, When I Instagrammed about it someone led me to your blog and I'm so thankful. I love your work so much. The illustrations in this book are simply breathtaking. I had no idea that you worked on the film! I can't wait to see what you do next. Congratulations on all the success and wishing you all the best.

Anonymous said...

I've loved your work for some time now... so happy for your success with Frozen! I just found out about this book and have ordered a couple copies! Gorgeous illustration work for a beautiful story! <3

Ana Chamberlain said...

Your art is really amazing and I love your art for Frozen!! For an Sakura con I ended up going as your evil Elsa design c: people recognized it right away and a lot of pictures were taken. I can send photos if you'd like. I thought it'd be cool to show you. Oh! It made a show in a news

KB said...

You have amazing artwork! It's so beautiful and lively! You are truly a wonderful artist. I bought the book with my sister and while I was driving, I told her to read it out loud. We were both crying by the end! I love how so many sisters can relate to Anna and Elsa! You did a wonderful job :)

Carolyn S said...

we love love love your illustrations. i have three daughters and a son- they beg for "A sister more like me" every night. so i just bought all your disney books. can't wait to see more. your birds are adorable... do we see a "rio" version coming soon??!?!? so talented! thank you

Anonymous said...

your posts are really amazing!!! thanks for your passion in Frozen.

-your fan here in manila-

Billy Yong said...

Hi Brittney, I just bought your book and I'm loving every page of it! Haha, I can't keep my eyes away from those pretty drawings for more than a couple of hours. :D

Anonymous said...

I'm the Elsa to my little sister's Anna too. I'm cool, calm, and socially awkward while my sister is bubbly, energetic, and never shuts up. But I love her anyway :)

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The Good Wife said...

Hi! I actually stumbled upon your blog looking at frozen roasemailing and found this post.

I just got my kindy daughter this book in the past week and we have read it every night before bed. And I have cried almost every night because the book is just so moving.

And beautiful. It touches my heart to see such beauty on the pages and I want to thank you for your amazing work.

Thank you.

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