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Taija Vigilia
Taija Vigilia

20 Artistic Takes on Disney Princesses

Taija Vigilia
Taija Vigilia

Fans of Brave's heroine, Merida, have been up in arms the last week over a Disney redesign that left the princess looking skinnier, sexier, and more in line with the rest of the company’s animated princesses. While it was announced that Disney was backing away from the redesign, the newest word is that the new Merida was only created for a specific line of limited edition merchandise and that the company isn’t going to pull the design at all. Here are some other ways the Disney princesses may have been portrayed.

1. Sexy Sirens

J. Scott Campbell’s Fairytale Fantasies portray the beautiful princesses in a comic book style—including the exaggerated figures and skimpy clothing. The result is essentially a teenage boy’s fantasy version of the fairytales he was told as a child.

2. Princess In Panties

If you think Merida was over sexualized in the new Disney design, just wait until you see DeviantArt user Bianni’s series featuring princesses in their lingerie.

Note: While none of the images are outrightly explicit, they're still largely NSFW.

3. The Princesses Who Lost

From its bad-assed warriors to full-on zombies, Jeffery Thomas’ Twisted Princess series shows what would have happened to the princesses if the bad guys won: Some princesses fight to take back what was once theirs, while others turn into the black-hearted villains they once resisted.

4. Princesses Want Your Brains, Not Your Heart

Artist Witit Karpkraikaew did a series of Disney princesses as zombies and, as you might expect, the results are not pretty—though they are awesomely gory.

5. These Gals Can Save Themselves

One of the biggest complaints about Disney princesses is the fact that they always need a hero there to rescue them. Well, that’s not a problem when it comes to the princesses designed by DeviantArt user joshwmc. In fact, they could probably take you down without breaking a sweat.

6. Tattoos Filled With Tattooed Gals

Artist Timothy John Shumate drew up a whole series of tattoo flash designs featuring Disney princesses—many of which have tattoos of their own in the artwork. It’s only a matter of time before one of his designs ends up on someone’s skin and in one of our geeky tattoo roundups.

7. More Accurate Costuming

Disney artists take a lot of liberties with their creations, particularly when it comes to designing accurate clothing for their characters. Fortunately, Claire Hummel is here to set the record straight with historically accurate depictions of the famous princesses based on the time period the stories take place and the detailing in the Disney designs. I highly recommend visiting her site to check out the whole gallery, particularly her interpretation of the evil sorcerer Maleficent.

Humorously, Claire later did a historically accurate depiction of Maid Marian for April Fool’s Day, showing lovely Marian as an actual fox shredding off its fancy clothing.

8. One Fish, Two Fish…

What do princess mermaids wear for Halloween? While I’m sure the answer varies from mermaid to mermaid, this Dory costume by Amy Mebberson sure works great for Ariel.

9. Maybe They’re All The Same

Amy Mebberson does a lot of great geek art, but it’s hard to beat this take on all of the princesses as different incarnations of The Doctor. The best thing about this line-up is that he would finally get to be a ginger—twice even!

10. The Fifth Princess

Amy doesn’t limit her princess crossovers to just Doctor Who. Here is Ariel as a very cool, but still tough-looking version of Leeloo.

11. Sailor Princesses

Artist Drachea Rannak is primarily fascinated by Sailor Moon, but she’s willing to let characters from other franchises join in on the fun and has even done a whole series of princesses reworked as characters from the popular anime. While I prefer Mulan, they’re all quite good, so you really should check out her facebook pictures and pick out your own favorite princess from the series.

12. Different Slave, Same Result

Think Jabba would do any better if he took a different princess as his slave? DeviantArt user ArtistAbe points out that he’d better choose wisely or he’ll likely end up in the exact same situation he was in with Leia.

13. The Force Is Strong With These Girls

Artist Ralph Sevelius wondered what would happen if the Disney princesses took over Star Wars and the results are delightful, from Mulan as Boba Fett to Jasmine as Slave Leia. Rapunzel makes a particularly great Jedi; since her hair already glows and has such magical properties, it may as well work as her lightsaber as well.

14. Steampunk Dreams

DeviantArt user MecaniqueFairy has a whole collection of Disney characters, including villains, in their best steampunk attire. His take on Merida is particularly great in how much detail it features—notice the bear head carved into the crossbow.

15. They’re So Cute At That Age

You’ve seen the Muppet Babies, but have you ever seen the Princess Babies? DeviantArt user moonchildinthesky imagined what all the princesses would look like before they started kindergarten and the results are utterly adorable.

16. Semi-Formal Princesses

If prom is magical and fairy tales are magical, then the proms of Disney princesses must be teeming with magic—and adorably awkward couples as well. Deviantart user spicystewdemon took the time to imagine what the classic characters would look like at their senior proms and the results are just as beautiful and nerdy as you might expect.

17. After the Fairy Tale

Aside from her prom pictures, Spicystewdemon has done quite a few works based on Disney characters. One of her newest series features the princesses as moms, something Jasmine seems quite well adapted to here.

18. Disney University

So between the time they graduated high school and when they had kids, what were those crazy Disney kids up to? Why going to college, of course. And DeviantArt user Hyung86 gives us a great idea of what our favorite characters would be up to during their years of higher education. Unsurprisingly, Alice goes into art, Arthur gets into fencing and Prince Adam becomes the team quarterback who Belle fawns over.

19. Their Age Since Their Releases

While most of the princesses are teenagers at the time their stories are set, Taija Vigilia calculated how old the princesses would be if they were born the years their movies were released, and then put them all together at a tea party. When she created this last year, Snow White would now be 75, Cinderella would be 62, and on the other end, Tiana would be 3 and Rapunzel would be 2.

20. Let Their Light Shine In

Artist Mandie Manzano may not actually make stained glass, but she’s quite gifted when it comes to designing it. She’s done all kinds of pop culture icons, but her collections of Disney characters are particularly beautiful, even when they include the Evil Queen from Snow White.

What do you guys think of Merida’s design? Should Disney’s princesses be pretty or should the company care more about creating good role models? And if you got to redesign any of them, what would you change about one of the Disney princesses?

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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