Princess Academy was a short (fan-made) animation project, written and directed by Olivier Ciappa, with artwork by artist David Kawena. The duo spent months working on it, creating hundreds of storyboards and beautiful concept art. The results were not only a wonderful idea for an animated short, but also a tribute to the art form of hand-drawn animation.
According to Oliver, “We wanted to create a very artistic, classy, but also very funny hand-drawn short… I believe this image shows very well the mixture of artistic, high standard, and humor of the project.”
The close-up shows not only classic Disney princesses, but also minor and obscure characters, like the Golden Harp from Mickey and the Beanstalk and a centaurette from the “The Pastoral Symphony” in Fantasia.
A statue of Megara from Hercules, imagined for what would be the Princess Academy Building. According to David:
“At the Academy building, not only the ‘princess’ would have a place, but all of Disney’s leading female characters. The building itself was to be a gigantic complex, with a feeling of an ancient palace with fountains, gardens, paintings and statues.
This concept art is one of many works that was conceived by us for the interior design of the Academy.”
A beautiful painting of Jasmine, based on Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Grande Odalisque.
According to David, “In Disney’s Princess Academy, director/writer Olivier Ciappa and I wanted to create something that would bring back the somewhat lost respect for hand-drawn animation as an art form. By doing so, we decided that the entire look and feel of the short movie will be inspired by the world’s greatest works of art.”
Even tributes to forgotten characters.
David describes, “It was a pleasure drawing Madame Adelaide — a character usually forgotten by Disney and its fans. Even though it is only a storyboard frame, it was my goal to try and keep the characters on model and as recognizable as possible out of respect to their original designers and animators.”
The final scene, where all the characters gather for a ball.