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Early Victorian Elsa by suburbanbeatnik Early Victorian Elsa by suburbanbeatnik
It's been a little over a year since my last Disney girl, but finally, here's a new entry in my long-running Historically Accurate Disney Heroine series!  Meet Queen Elsa from FROZEN.

The original study for this painting is here. Like Hans, I depicted her in late 1830s clothes: I modeled a lot of her style on Maria II of Portugal, one of the cooler queen regnants of the 19th century. (I debated using Victoria, but I nixed that for being too obvious.)  Basically, I chose the late 1830s for the setting since the women's styles in the movie were solidly 1840s to early 1850s in their silhouette, but Hans's hair and costumes floated somewhere Napoleonic and early Victorian, and the young princesses wore Empire style children's frocks. (Also, concept art of the Arendelle royal family place the girls' childhood in the 1810s-1820s, so an 1838 date seemed reasonable.)

This wedding dress and this painting of Clara Novello also inspired the gown design.
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hope to see more alternate history Disney art from you.
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:iconpotoperson:
potoperson Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
I know I've already raved about your costume adjustments but I had to comment again just to praise the sleeves on this outfit... and the outfit's brilliance in general. (I'm sorry for my general strangeness it is after midnight) 
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:iconksj7700:
ksj7700 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my word, this is GORGEOUS! 
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:iconfiresprinklez:
FireSprinklez Featured By Owner May 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Bootiful
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconqueenoftheseas:
queenoftheseas Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
Anna?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Hmm?
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:iconqueenoftheseas:
queenoftheseas Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
meaning?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You said "Anna," and I wasn't sure what you meant.
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:iconqueenoftheseas:
queenoftheseas Featured By Owner May 2, 2014
oh am sorry i meant if you are going to do anna
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm not planning on it, but I always take commissions.
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:iconbelarin:
belarin Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014
I love what you did with the tiara. The one in the movie is way too fiddly, it doesn't have enough of a strong graphic shape to it...or from what we see in 'Let It Go', a headband to make the friggin thing stay on! Was magenta dye even invented when the movie was set?

I hope you're going to do a redesign of Elsa's ice dress to go with. I've been trying to do a redesign of it for a while, and it's hard to know how to go about it because she doesn't have much of a consistant personality/role in plot. Save for 'not remotely close to vegas ice skater, frozen designers stop that please' which at least is easier to fix. :P

According to the art book, the movie is set in the 1840s, but...hey, death of the author, and your interpretation is gorgeous :) imgur.com/E56HL3L
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I totally agree. Elsa was potentially the most interesting character in the movie, and she's mostly relegated to being a plot device. And yes, her ice gown makes her look like a Barbie doll.

I hope you'll like my redesign here! suburbanbeatnik.deviantart.com…
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:iconobiwanlives4ever:
Obiwanlives4ever Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014
As much as I love her canon outfit, this one is both gorgeous and more historically accurate.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:iconimagenashyun:
ImagenAshyun Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014  Hobbyist
I actually find this design of the gown far more beautiful than the one in the film. Great job!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconliberlibelula:
LiberLibelula Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014  Professional General Artist
I love this design *w*
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
Looks very nice! Her movie outfit was more inspired by Norwegian farmer's outfits, so this looks more like something a real royal would wear.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)

It was inspired by Norwegian farmers' outfits? Really? I guess that's why she looks like she's wearing a leotard under a strapless dress... :P
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014
Elsa's coronation dress and Anna's travel dress are losely based on Norway's national costume, the bunad: krist.in/wp-content/2010/04/bu…
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I can see it with Anna's dress, but Elsa's coronation dress still looks like a teal strapless number over a leotard.
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
Well, I did say losely based. It's mainly the fact that it's a dress over a shirt, plus the Norwegian-esque embroidery.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
As you've probably guessed, I'm not crazy about the outfit, but Disney has a much worse track record re: animated costume design, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
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:iconblossom-disneyaholic:
Blossom-Disneyaholic Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You did a wonderful job keeping her recognisable, yet add just that little more. I love the colors and there's something about the face/shoulders that I really like.

:+fav:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :D
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:iconqueencurlygirly:
QueenCurlyGirly Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Omg! I really love the way you've designed this, and the tones on the skirt are so rich and perfect, I'm having heart palpitations!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :D
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:iconcallisto-chan:
callisto-chan Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is gorgeous! I was a little surprised you chose 1830s, since the motif definitely looked late '40s-early '50s to me (particularly Anna's green evening gown), but now that I think about it, you're right in that they incorporate a bunch of different decades, especially the late Regency look that their mother has in the beginning -- I hadn't seen the concept art like that, but that's definitely the 1810s at the earliest. I suppose it's fruitless to try and pinpoint Disney movies as being "accurate" in any way, but this one seemed to be more conclusively rooted in one particular period (early Victorian in general, vague as that is) than some others, which could be all over the place, if they were in any particular place to begin with! So late-30s seems like a good compromise. :)

I really love the gown (and considering the 1830s is hit-or-miss for me in terms of dresses, this is saying a lot) -- particularly the rich, vibrant colour! I think you outdid the movie dress in terms of colour! Blue is my favourite colour so I'm obviously biased, but I just love the vibrancy of it! The hair looks nice too, especially since the little bangs always seemed to stand out to me, particularly since her 'ice queen' outfit seems to lack them (or at least, they're pushed back -- I found it hard to tell). So this is a lovely interpretation, and one that really captures Elsa's restricted nature early in the movie. :) Lovely picture overall!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! I think doing a 'comprehensive' look at the entire design of the movie is something I'm going to do with my costume designs going forward, especially since it helps if I want to do other characters from that film (I can't imagine putting Hans in 1850s fashions, for example).  If I ever do any other characters from a movie like Sleeping Beauty, it'll be interesting to see how I would interpret Philip. It would be weird putting him in 1470s Burgundian clothes, but eeehhhh... I guess I'll just see what I can do. (I don't really see a problem with something like Beauty and the Beast, which was originally conceived to be set in the 1770s-1780s, so everyone fits pretty comfortably in that aesthetic.)  But you know, hey... whatever works!
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:iconachen089:
Achen089 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014   Traditional Artist
This is fantastic! I loved your historically accurate take on the Disney heroines from the start and it always makes me happy to see a new instalment. :)
Beautiful rendition of Elsa, i love the gown and especially that rich colour! It would be interesting to see your take on her snow queen dress which i found quite silly, especially that thigh-slit. :no:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
It was rather silly, wasn't it? Someone else here commented that she looked like a 1980s Barbie doll, and I agree. I have some ideas for how to reinterpret/reinvent that dress... hopefully at some point I'll have the time...
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:iconachen089:
Achen089 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014   Traditional Artist
Haha, an "80s Barbie doll", that's spot on! :XD:
I'll be so looking forward to your version!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
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:iconkissmeimdanish:
KissMeImDanish Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014
Considering the fact that I felt like Elsa's face had no uniqueness in the movie whatsoever (i thought both sisters looked like carbon copies of Rapunzel, with big eyes and tiny noises) you really managed to bring some 'character' into the face, without making her unrecognizable from the original character. 

Also the time period you chose is quite perfect when you consider what the girls wore in their childhood. I felt the clothing in the movie were a less 'scattered' across time periods than in other Disney movies (apart from Elsa's Ice gown - she looked like a 1980's Barbie doll!).

Very well done!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm sorry I haven't replied so quickly, because I've been pretty sick for a while. But yeah, the character design in Frozen was not great. In fact, the head of animation on Frozen actually said some really asshat sexist crap about animating female characters, which you might have seen (you can find an article about it here. It was a little difficult trying to make Elsa look like herself, when she looks like a generic Keane child. But I'm glad you think I succeeded. :)

I actually have a friend who's been working in animation since the '60s (he worked on Robin Hood in '73, and he's also worked with Hanna-Barbera, Ralph Eggleston and Don Bluth) and he was NOT IMPRESSED by Frozen. He thought it was a mediocre, badly scripted movie, and didn't have a lot of nice things to say about the character design.  

And LOL at the 1980s Barbie doll! I know, right!?
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:iconjuliana63:
Juliana63 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
cool concept!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:iconart-fashion-history:
Art-Fashion-History Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
Simply gorgeous!!!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :D
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:iconsliwaa:
Sliwaa Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG Cute ! ^w^
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :XD:
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:iconwalkingonthestars:
WalkingOnTheStars Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014
I absolutely adore the colour of this dress! And the puffed sleeves! (Hm, felt like Anne of Green Gables right there...)

As much as I loved Frozen's dresses, I do wish they had done something more accurate, like this. The lack of culture is something that really bothered me about the movie.

Especially her Snow Queen dress. Idk, it just seems so totally inappropriate for the apparent time period. Like, could people have even imagined a dress like that back then? O.o I wonder, are you considering doing a version of that dress? I would love to see your take on it.

I still can't get over those sleeves...
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I thought the animation costume designs were decent, for Disney-- I thought Hans' costumes were pretty effective-- but... I was pretty eh about the girls. Elsa's Snow Queen dress especially made her look like someone from a 1980s Icecapades fantasy production, especially with all the powder-blue sequins. 

I have some great ideas how to revamp the Snow Queen dress. Hopefully, if I have time, I'll be able to show you guys something soon!
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:iconwalkingonthestars:
WalkingOnTheStars Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014
Lol it does!! Definitely to modern (and sexy) for my taste...

And I can't wait to see them! :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconharetrinity:
HareTrinity Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Lovely! :) Good use of colour!

It would have been nice if her outfit had carried a more authentic feel about it... I don't even think the Disney one was bad, but, looking at this and more actual royal fashion from around the time, I think the Let It Go song would have carried more oomph with added accuracy. Her ice queen gown was actually very similar to her original in how it hangs upon her body whereas this is clearly more restricting, which helps the symbolism. Far superior tiara, too!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That's true, isn't it? They both had tight waists and long full skirts, so very similar silhouettes.

I love the song "Let it go" like TONS, but I can't help but feel it could have been showcased better than it was. But I think that boils down to how poor Elsa ended up being more of a plot device than an actual character. :/
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:iconharetrinity:
HareTrinity Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I was pretty underwhelmed by Let It Go when I watched the film, though it's grown on me since... I think the best song for me was probably The Frozen Heart, which was less pop-y, then Love is an Open Door because it sold the ship to me, heh... I really like song visuals though, and I think that's part of why Let It Go didn't impress: It had a lot of space to work with (MOUNTAIN RANGE) and really didn't rise above snow drifts and crystalising air, which is kind of pretty but didn't really make use of the space or big up her powers much to me. Shouldn't crystals mean prisms and rainbows of light, and a castle be decorated with giant beasts (even if they were inanimate)? That she was by herself didn't help, I think...

(What's really got Let It Go stuck in my head now is a World of Warcraft video that's used clips of Arthus (Lich King) with it, including a giant undead dragon. I used to play the Warcraft games and WOW, and I'm a sucker for dragons, so it helps a lot.) :p

And I think Disney now understands that Elsa should have been more of a character, seeing as how she's the one the fandom loves most. Then again, it wouldn't have hurt for all of them to have a bit more substance! Roll Eyes 
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