PixArt: August Feature II – Merida Takes Aim

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The character designs of Samantha Youssef certainly have a lot of charm and personality. But what really shines through is their construction. With each pose and gesture, you see her mastery of life drawing. In a time of heavily stylized characters, it is refreshing to see such fun designs that also happen to be grounded in some serious drawing skills. Whether it’s Bonnie and Clyde or Cleopatra, Samantha brings skill and grace to each creation. A graduate of Sheridan College, Samantha worked in the animation industry (including Disney) for years before founding Studio Technique in Montreal, Canada. In addition to animation freelance projects, she serves as Artistic Director for the studio and teaches life drawing and masterclasses to artists and animators from all over the world. You can check out her site for more examples of her amazing work and read more about the fascinating artist. It will make you want to practice your life drawing! Our sincere thanks to Samantha for contributing this wonderful Merida piece, for which we are so grateful. You can take a closer look at it after the break! [Read more…]

Merida and Maleficent Join Disney Infinity 2.0

Merida

Earlier this week, the Disney Interactive team teased us with an image of Merida, stating “Bring on the Brave.” We already knew the character would be in the upcoming Disney Infinity 2.0, as she was spotted for a moment in last month’s trailer for the game, along with Maleficent and Stitch. On Wednesday evening, the developers held a sneak preview for D23 members in San Francisco of Merida and Maleficent joining the game – we have images that were shown and the brand new trailer after the break!

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PixArt: May Feature II – Merida Painting

Merida B

The work of Katia Grifols is full of life. Her colorful character designs and conceptual pieces are visually dynamic and full of personality – just like the artist herself. From visual development art to character designs and comics, there’s lots to see and love on her various social media channels. We were excited when she agreed to contribute a piece to PixArt. Check out her wonderful tribute to Merida from Brave. Read on for more about Katia in her own words and find out why she picked this fiery heroine as the subject of her painting!

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Merida To Be A Playable Character In ‘Disney Infinity 2.0′

"BRAVE"

In the first iteration of Disney Infinity, there were quite a number of Pixar characters available for gamers to choose from, including from films such as The Incredibles, Monsters University, and Cars. When Disney Infinity 2.0 was said to feature Marvel super heroes, there was a question as to whether Disney and Pixar characters would appear. If you paid close attention to the teaser for the new game, you may have spotted Merida along with a few other Disney characters, albeit briefly. Now we have confirmation that Merida will, indeed, appear!

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See Jessica Chastain As Merida In Stunning New Photo (Updated With Video)

Jessica Chastain as Princess Merida in Latest Disney Dream Portrait by Annie Leibovitz for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

Annie Leibovitz is a famed photographer who has left indelible impressions with her images, from those of actors and singers to even the Queen of the United Kingdom. In 2007, Disney hired her to photograph celebrities made to appear as some of the iconic characters from the studio’s films. Out of that partnership, we have seen some gorgeous results, from Rachel Weisz as Snow White, to Penelope Cruz and Jeff Bridges as Belle and the Beast. Today, a new photo was revealed, and it is the first time a Pixar character has been featured. See actress Jessica Chastain transformed into Merida from Brave after the break!

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The Pixar Perspective on Female Characters

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Pixar may have a problem with a lack of female representation among its directors, but that’s not the case with many of its female characters. The concern over the disparity of active female characters in mainstream filmmaking has grown (rightly) louder over the last couple of years; though this has been a problem in big-budget films for a very long time, it’s become truly galling because it shows a perceived lack of progressivism in a culture that is often painted as being potentially too progressive. No doubt, there is a disturbing inequality in the number of male versus female directors, writers, and producers in Hollywood. Pixar may not be perfect, but to presume, as some have, that it is similarly failing in representing strong female characters in its films is wildly inaccurate.

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The Pixar Perspective on Distinguishing the Backlash

Merida Disney Princess Artwork Close-Up

Everything in pop culture that we embrace goes through cycles. Something is introduced to the masses, who fall in love with it, and then, after a requisite amount of time, a backlash arises. This is different from a piece of art, whether it’s a film, TV show, or book, being analyzed and criticized from a subjective point of view. Instead, that which is initially beloved begins to wear thin on some members of its audiences even if they are the ones who changed, not the art itself. (Take, for instance, the current season of AMC’s Mad Men, which has received countless plaudits in the past but is now receiving more unfriendly reactions because it’s inherently the same show, unchanging in its sixth year.) Backlash can be vexing, but it is not uncommon. And so it makes sense that the last couple of years, for Pixar, have been full of such a negative turn.

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