Learn about the inspiring women of Walt Disney Animation in new illustrated book

December 16, 2018

Looking to add some girl power to your reading list? This week, Walt Disney Animation Studios artist Lorelay Bové took to her Instagram to announce a new creative endeavor with author Mindy Johnson called “Pencils, Pens & Brushes — A Great Girl’s Guide to Disney Animation.” This nonfiction book will be an illustrated guide to many of the notable women in animation history.


Cover of "Pencil's, Pens & Brushes" | © Disney


Illustrator Lorelay Bové is a Walt Disney Studios Development Artist and Designer of eleven years. From a Disney-loving family of artists, she works alongside her sister and fellow development artist, Neysa Bové. Lorelay has worked on such films as “The Princess and the Frog,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” and “Tangled Ever After.” Her paintings are also often seen for sale within the Disney Parks galleries.


Author and historian Mindy Johnson is no stranger to the Walt Disney Company. Her other works include beloved books such as “Tinker Bell: An Evolution,” “Marc Davis - Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man,” and “Ink and Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation.” Johnson is an award-winning writer and, as of September 2018, she is a teaching professional at California Institute of the Arts.


In 2014, Bové and several of her Disney friends and colleagues, such as Mingjue Helen Chen, Claire Keane, Lisa Keene, Brittney Lee, and Victoria Ying, released their Kickstarter-funded, self-published book “Lovely: Ladies of Animation.” This book includes many gorgeous works of art they have made over the years, complete with an introduction from Glen Keane and foreward by John Lasseter. Collectively, these fabulous women have contributed to everything from “Beauty and the Beast” and “Frozen,” to Wonderground collections and the Disney Parks themselves. Be sure to check them out on Instagram for their personal artwork, Disney artwork, and the inside scoop of upcoming Disney projects.


Cover of "Lovely: Ladies of Animation" | © @GalleryNucleus on Twitter


Between Johnson’s “Ink & Paint” and Bové’s “Lovely,” it is no wonder these two talented women have come up with such a fantastic project. Though nothing has been officially announced yet — and likely won’t be for a few months yet — at the 2017 Expo, both Johnson and Bové made appearances speaking and signing autographs at several locations throughout the convention for other recent works, including Johnson’s release of “Ink & Paint.” It is likely a similar panel and/or signing will occur this summer.


Mindy Johnson with "Ink & Paint at the D23 Expo" | © @DisneyBooks on Twitter


The cover and concept of this new illustrated book bears resemblance to another female Disney WonderGround artist’s work — Ann Shen. In 2016, artist and writer Ann Shen released the illustrated book “Bad Girls Throughout History” followed by “Legendary Ladies” just this past spring. 


Cover of "Bad Girls Throughout History" | © @GalleryNucleus on Twitter


Both books are illustrative and biographical guides to inspiring women throughout history and have become quite popular, being sold in places such as the ever-trendy Urban Outfitters. Given the popularity of the concept and enticing cover, it is not too out there to hope that this book will be picked up by similar stores, putting the stories of our beloved Disney ladies into the hands of so many. Johnson herself quoted one of her students in a blog post, saying “As one of my CalArts Women of Animation History students declared: ‘This book would have changed my life 10 years ago, the same way Ink & Paint is changing my life now!’” Just imagine the power of a young girl learning about this entire world of inspiration from a book picked up at her local mall!


It’s thrilling that all these pieces have come together to create a remarkable project exclusively about the women of Disney, told in a way that both informs and inspires through words and gorgeous illustrations from the women of Disney themselves. “Pencils, Pens & Brushes” is available for pre-order here. According to Bové’s Instagram post, the book will also be available at the 2019 D23 Expo set to take place August 23rd through 25th.


What is the name of a woman you look up to in your line of work? What is her story? What is yours? Tell us in the comment below!


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