There are few Disney animated classics as beloved and revered as “Beauty and the Beast.” So you can understand why artist Tom Whalen, whose distinctive style has been brought to everything from “Avengers”-themed cans of Coke to the actual poster for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disneyland, was so excited to do a screen-print for the movie, which TheWrap can exclusively reveal.
The artist — who has also imagined Disney classics like “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Little Mermaid” in print form — told TheWrap the 1991 movie was “definitely in the top 3” of his favorite Disney animated movies and he was thrilled to be able to craft his own take on the film. “That ‘90s revival was so fun, I was so into it at the time,” Whalen said.
In order to compose the 13-color screen-print, which goes on sale Wednesday for the Cyclops Print Works mailing list and Thursday (at 10 am Pacific) to the general public, Whalen scanned the film, looking for the best, brightest poses that he could incorporate. “Typically I’ll go back and re-watch the movie,” he said. (Our favorite flourish was the inclusion of the old crone from the movie’s prologue – a character you rarely, if ever, see on official “Beauty and the Beast” merchandise.)
He then does a mock-up of the print in both a vertical and horizontal orientation, to see “which one works better.” For “Beauty and the Beast” he initially thought it would be a traditional vertical print; he wanted the Beast to loom above everything else. But when that didn’t work he switched to a horizontal version, which turned out to be the key. The end result speaks for itself.
And Whalen teased that he already has his next Disney print in development (without giving anything away explicitly, we can say it’s a cheesy Pixar favorite), there are still plenty of Disney animated features he’d still love to tackle – “101 Dalmatians,” “The Rescuers Down Under,” even “The Black Cauldron,” although, he admits, “Not sure what the market is for that.”
Hey, if it’s a Tom Whalen Disney print, we’re here for it.
Whalen’s “Beauty and the Beast” is an edition of 250; it costs $80 and is 24” x 36”. There is a one print per customer limit.