Thursday, January 16, 2014

FROZEN: Elsa and Her Ice Palace

I have been holding off on writing a post about working on this film for some time now - mainly because I haven't been able to find the words to do it justice. I will be grateful for this experience for the rest of my life. The schedule was really tough, but in some ways that made those of us who were working on the film love it (and each other ) even more. It is crazy to think that six months ago, I could (and did) belt "Let it Go" in my car and nobody else knew what the heck I was talking about. Now everybody and their brother is belting it in their car, and I am watching their videos on Youtube. Amazing.

I was so lucky to be able to touch many different aspects of the film. This one, though - she is very near and dear to my heart. The more Elsa's character evolved, the more I felt like I was looking in a mirror. While I can (and probably will) go into more detail about the eerie similarities between the lives of the sisters of Arendelle and the Lee sisters, the thing that really hit home for me immediately was this: Elsa is an artist. She expresses herself through creation. 

Well, hey! I know that girl. 

This characteristic presented an interesting problem. Not only did we need to design Elsa and the world around her, but we needed to design what she would design. Just like her character, this visual language evolved over time, eventually settling on a lyrical rosemaling-inspired treatment for her magic and a sharp-yet-delicate snowflake-inspired treatment for her final creations. I had the great pleasure of working on the interior of the Ice Palace, where a few of these principles went into play. 

These are a few of the pieces I did while working on the palace - This first one was done before we figured out the rules of Elsa's design language. It is ethereal for sure, but not quite right for her. 

The rest of these pieces actually reflect the final design. The snowflake was the key to this world: once we started to base the design around her snowflake (specifically the one on the floor) , the palace was able to grow like snow/ice crystals around her. 

 All images are property of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

I will do a few more Frozen posts over the next couple of weeks to cover different aspects of the film. In the meantime, I hope you all have a lovely weekend!


  1. Anonymous6:04 PM

    I thought that Elsa picture was yours I was very confused when I looked in the in the art book and saw it is credited to Bill Schwab :/ I love your art, you are an inspiration to me :) Look forward to more Frozen posts :)

  2. Beautiful work! -- so inspiring as always! Thank you for sharing and I really enjoyed reading your insight on Elsa being an artist herself. Have a great day!

    - Meg

  3. I can not wait to recieve my art of frozen book in the mail! I have also been singing Let it go since the CTN screening and in Australia we had to wait until after Christmas for the release, now people are joining in with me.
    Be very proud of this amazing work, the snow flake chandelier is breathe taking. Fingers crossed for the oscar.

  4. More in a couple weeks huh? Oh I can tell I'll be sticking around!

  5. I saw your name in the credits!

    I squealed and poked my husband and said, "Oh! Oh! That's the artist who made my beautiful bride!"

    (This one here.)

    Amazing work, Brittney -- thank you for sharing!

  6. I was hoping you would be sharing some of your work and artistic thought process behind Frozen. The film & art book are stunning.

    Keep up the gorgeous work Brittney!

    All the best,

  7. Love your artwork, they are beautiful and unique.

  8. Congratulations and thank-you to all who worked to make the film what it is.

    My brother in particular couldn't stop talking about how stunning the ice palace was, so there you go.

    And - SQUEEE! - my darling sister got me a copy of Confetti for Christmas!! Love it!

  9. Wonderful post! Your work on the film is beautiful, thanks for sharing!

  10. Beautiful! So happy that your blog will be rolling this year!

  11. That is amazing! Your work is so beautiful! And now you have worked for Disney! That's so awesome!!!!

  12. I hope you know that you're bringing great amounts of light and hope into other peoples' lives with your art. Thanks for sharing your moments with us!

  13. Really lovely - it reminds me of a 'Frozen' version of the interior of the Gaudi cathedral in Barcelona. It's always nice to read your posts and get the real perspective of the artist! Thanks for the insight, Brittney! Your work is simply the best! : )

  14. You are great! I love your art! Thanks for your art :)

  15. Your beautiful work is an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. ^^

  16. I am so in awe of everything from frozen, and I scoured all credits to see if you were included in the art somewhere!! It makes my heart so happy to "know" some of the artists to look for!

  17. Hi. Brittney : )
    Frozen touches my heart strongly.
    Thank you for creating beautiful art dedicated to the movie. And I hope I get a chance to see you someday!
    From Belle

  18. Anonymous4:26 AM

    I am in love with your art and the movie Frozen. I am so excited to see more of Frozen here on your blog!! <3

  19. This is really amazing !!
    I'm completely in admiration !!

  20. Yay! Lovely post. Thanks for sharing these..

  21. Thanks so much for sharing your artwork is truly inspiring

  22. I Have This Book, Amazing Work, Brittney!

    Greetings from Italy :)

  23. It must have been fantastic to work in this animation of disney!! Is a dream!
    Frozen already is one of my favorites animation!

  24. It is an absolute dream of mine to work at disney and your artwork is everything I hope to achieve. Frozen touched my heart and inspired me to continue working toward my dream. I even bought the art book and the extended edition soundtrack. I have also already preordered the movie :) You are amazing and please continue making art! <3 <3

  25. Laura Fleischmann11:35 AM

    fabulous work, you have fairy'fingers ! (french expression, i'm sorry i don't know the english translation for it). Thank you very much for sharing!

  26. Vitamin C9:25 PM

    I just LOVE Frozen!! You did such a wonderful job! Elsa's world is simply beautiful, not to mention she is by far the best dressed queen in the entire magic kingdom. I bet you have something to do with her pretty and sparkly dress.

    More please~

  27. Vitamin C9:45 PM

    um...I was also wondering will you be returning to the Emerald city comic con this year. I sincerely hope you will. We need your brand of sunshine and sparkle here in the rainy city to brighten our day. Pretty please~

  28. i love this film, especially the magical transforming part of Elsa and her ice palace! this is such stunning piece of art! much much love! and i love the style of it!

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. very nice, is there a frozen library in her castle ? i'd like very much to see such a kind.

  31. "Frozen" is my favorite Disney movie! It completely resonated with me in so many ways. I love your beautiful art. You and everyone who worked on this film deserve a huge CONGRATULATIONS!

  32. Oh my goodness your work is fantastic and absolutely beautiful! I see how much you have contributed to the film! :) I love your art style! =]

  33. Elsa's palace is the most beautiful creature in Frozen,it is flawless.Thanks for your hard work,so that we can enjoy the gorgeous scene while listening Elsa singing Let it Go!!

  34. The creation of the ice palace was my favorite part of the whole film. I really enjoyed the whole scene. The details were truly amazing. I loved the fractal designs building around her. I smiled when Idina sang "frozen fractals all around". It was very obvious that every detail of the movie was researched.

  35. Thanks for sharing your amazing work on this film, it's so so inspiring!

  36. Just wanted to say you are a freaking BEAST. Good god these are amazing.

  37. Great post. This post is an online business solution. Its really beautiful and enjoyable post. Thanks for your nice post.

  38. Hello, I'm Frozen (haha. Elsa) fan lives in Russia. And this Russian fan don't speak English very well. May I apologize in advance for it?
    I say I'm delighted! It was really beautiful work. Some time ago I didn't understand how harmonius the one is. Now I engoy reading and finding any interesting facts about the one. Listen to my applause.
    Oh, I plane to buy book "My sister more likes me" with your arts.
    P.S. May I publish information of creating of the Elsa for any Russian fans?
    With best wishes, Veronica.

  39. I love your art! You inspired me to strive harder! And most of all I love Frozen and everything about it especially, Elsa! Thank you for bringing to life to our beautiful queen.

  40. So amazing...the ice palace felt equal parts ancient Norwegian artform and science-based fractals! Gorgeous, thoughtful work. Thank you for the visual feast.

  41. Umm... Very beautiful! Just one question: what program do you use to draw the concept art? Please answer! Oh, and BTW, the first throne room picture... May I use it as my iPad background? Thanks!

  42. You’ll get everything you want!!
    Sell your Artwork

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