Book Review: The Art of Mulan

What a wonderful art book this is, on Disney's Mulan (wiki | imdb | Amazon).

I really couldn't put it down after reading it. It tells a very clear and interesting story on how the movie was created. Disney put huge emphasis on stories. The different story artists would discuss at lengths in this book on the considerations they made when trying to adapt Chinese history into a Western film. There were ideas to make Mulan a romantic comedy, which were luckily shot down, in an attempt to keep the film authentic.

The research process is most interesting and takes a look at the artists as they travel tthroughout China, visiting places like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and other ancient cities. It's a great learning process for them, when they were there, and for the readers, as we read from their experiences now.

All the concept art, storyboards and film stills presented are always related back to the story. The artists will always be there to explain how their design supports the story. So it's a great insight into how to do production design. Hans Bacher has also created a useful style guide for artists to follow. Only one page is published in this book but the rest can be found on his blog.

While the movie is animated, the book doesn't talk about animation technically.

This art book is the learning process of creating an animated film. It's fun, fresh and delightful to read. It should appeal greatly to animators, production designers and artists.

Here are some links to sites of veteran artists who have contributed to the film:
Hans Bacher
Tom Bancroft
Chen-yi Chang - interview
Dean DeBlois - wikipedia
Mark Henn - wikipedia
T. Dan Hofstedt
Broose Johnson
Sai Ping
Ruben Procopio
Pres Romanillos
Chris Sanders
Barry Temple

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The Art of Mulan (1998 edition) | | | | |

The Art of Mulan (2020 reprint) | | | | | | | | |



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