Rosemaling is a type of decorative folk-painting that can be seen just about everywhere in Norway - it is used on everything from architecture to clothing. My fantastic art director, Mike Giaimo, (if you don't know who he is, do yourself a favor and look him up!) decided that we needed to develop our own library of rosemaling for Frozen - and that is where I came in!
My first month or so on Frozen was dedicated solely to creating rosemaling for the world of Arendelle. I worked on everything from wallpaper to tapestries (like the ones above) to painted architectural designs to costumes (there will definitely be more on those later). The great thing that we discovered about our rosemaling was that nothing went to waste. We needed so much of it to propagate throughout the film that even if a design didn't get picked in the first round, we ended up using it later.
For costuming, we wanted our rosemaling to reinforce each individual character's personality traits. Anna is bright and bubbly, so her rosemaling is always effervescent and floral. Elsa is poised and refined, so she has long, elegant designs with a hint of crystal-like geometry. Since Kristoff is a bit of an outsider, his patterns are much more geometric and banded, reflecting design elements seen in the clothing of the Saami people of Norway.
The tapestries that hang throughout the castle in Arendelle were a fun challenge. They had to be approached with the design language we established with Arendelle's rosemaling, but with an added element of storytelling. The tapestries below were initially requested as a set of two: one representing Spring and the other representing Winter. Eventually it was decided that we should have all four seasons, so Summer and Fall were added to the mix.
All images are property of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
I don't think I had any idea when I started on Frozen how prevalent rosemaling would be. Honestly, I was thrilled to just be able to work on the movie, so I happily doodled away for days and days on these designs. Now I look back and am so thrilled to have been given this task. As a visual development artist, it is really rare that your actual work makes it to the final frame of the film. Our jobs are to inspire and inform the artists who make the actual assets, but in this case I get to see my work on the walls and the hems of their skirts. It is magic.
More to come on Frozen soon, as well as other updates! Thank you so much for your response to the last post, as well as your continued support. Have a wonderful weekend!