Watch a Disney artist draw The Little Mermaid in a mind-blowing, new way

Your favorite Disney characters now look even more amazing, thanks to virtual reality.

In a video from Future of Storytelling, legendary former Disney artist Glen Keane draws the characters he animated over a more than four decades long career at Disney, including Ariel, the beast from Beauty and the Beast, and Tarzan. The twist: he’s now creating them in virtual reality, using an HTC Vive virtual reality headset and Google’s Tilt Brush software. In his hands, Ariel is made even more rich and ethereal through VR. “This is not a flat drawing,” he says in the video. “This is sculptural drawing.”

Keane talks in the clip about imagining his beloved Disney characters in life size. And now, he has the technology to draw them that way. “When I animate, there’s a frustration I have wishing that the flatness of the paper would go away and that I could actually dive in,” Keane says.

He has dived in over the course of his career. We have him to thank for Tangled’s beautiful hand-drawn approach to CG. He’s also the man behind Google’s lovely animated experience “Duet.”

Not only that, but Keane has an artistic ancestry: his father Bil Keane created The Family Circus cartoon. But just like with innovations he made during his career, he says all the rules have changed.

“By putting tools in your hand that can create in VR, I can put goggles on and then I’ve stepped into the paper, and now I’m drawing in it,” he says. “All directions are open now. Immersing myself in space, it’s more like a dance.”

In a year of many Disney character re-imaginations, we think this one is particularly cool.

Glen Keane – Step into the Page from Future Of StoryTelling on Vimeo.


The Little Mermaid plothole that turned our universe inside out

Disney Princesses as tattooed pinups are mesmerizing

(Image via Disney)

Filed Under