One of the tricky aspects of working with Disney material is that the material itself is often taken for granted simply as 'Disney.' This ignores that Disney really isn't a cohesive, monolithic entity (although at times it may appear so). It really is a group of artists and writers etc who come together from disparate backgrounds to produce often amazing animation.
I just got my copy of The Art of the Disney Princess. It's a gorgeous collection of artwork that "re-imagines" Disney princesses like Belle and Jasmine and Mulan et al. The artwork gives a sense of the range of possibility in the stock standard images, revealing that what may at first appear immutable and homogeneous can so easily be adapted and transformed. One of my favourites in the book is a layout by Tokie Esaka, inspired by kokeshi, of Snow White. In the end, Snow White gets an apple pie, because, you know, she loves apples.
Dorota Kotarba-Mendez notes in the book, "Each morning when I wake, I dress in my ball gown and glass slippers and travel by horse-drawn carriage to a palace on a hilltop in a fairy-tale kingdom. Actually, it's an office building in Glendale, California, but it is pretty magical."
While of course the book reflects Disney's grasp of image control, it's interesting to see the number of female and non-Anglo names among the contributors and to see the breadth of media that goes into conceptualising and realising animation for the corporation.
And Ray Leoncio's portrayal of Beauty and the Beast, with a nod to Transformers, is definitely worth a peek into the pages of the book.