Today’s masterpiece Monday is a brief one as I have a very busy couple of weeks ahead of me (I’m going to Disney World!). It’s all about my favourite Disney princess, Mulan.
This is one of my favourite concept drawings of Mulan done by her supervising
snimator Mark Henn. Amazingly Mark Henn has worked on almost every Disney princess throughout his time at Walt Disney Animation. He has worked on Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Anna, and Elsa in some capacity. I feel his drawings were especially influential in the design of Mulan, probably because he was one of the most experienced animators working at Disney’s Florida Animation studio (located in what was then called Disney’s MGM Studios) during the time the film was made.
One of my favourite things about Mark Henn’s drawings of Mulan is how strong and athletic he drew her, even more so than she looks in her final designs. Many of his concept drawings of her show her with these same thick muscular legs and arms and sturdy body as in this sketch. I think part of the reasoning behind this was that Henn looked at a real martial artist as his model, a woman named Mimi Chan who was working just outside the doors of the studio in the China pavilion of Epcot. Henn also usually drew Mulan in very active poses, carrying water as she is doing here or riding on horseback. Most of his sketches also show her wearing Chinese peasant clothes as this one does, complete with trousers and sturdy boots. Henn’s drawings were such a departure from the elegant slender sketches made of other Disney princesses or even by other artists working on Mulan. That’s part of why I admire his work so much.
Hope you enjoyed this look at some of the work that my favourite animator did on the design of my favourite Disney character. If you want to know more, I highly recommend doing a quick google search of Mark Henn, you’re sure to find plenty of sketches and interviews with this amazing animator and princess expert.
P.S. If anyone has a character they would like to see in a Masterpiece Monday, feel free to click on contact and send me a message and I’ll see what I can do.
Image Credit: https://ohmy.disney.com/movies/2015/06/19/17-pieces-of-stunning-mulan-concept-art/