Finding Inspiration at the D23 Expo

Well, it's safe to say that D23 Expo 2015 was the biggest Disney fan gathering ever, outside of the Disney Parks of course. This year was the first time I was able to attend this amazing experience, and I'm excited to share my unique perspective as a graphic designer inspired by other Disney artists and Disney movies. Finding Inspiration at the D23 Expo 2015

Here are the highlights of my time at the three-day D23 Expo:

Lovely Ladies of Animation

I was completely entranced watching Lorelay Bove talk about how she found inspiration from women's fashion in Tokyo for Big Hero 6, and Brittney Lee describe how she studied rosemaling in Norwegian culture, then developed her own rosemaling "language" for Frozen. I had already read Brittney's blog post about designing for Frozen, but hearing her talk about it in person was such a thrill. I love how they create color schemes by painting while watching their favorite Disney movies (both love The Little Mermaid) and 50's films.

These women are a big part of the future at Disney Animation. Look for their work in the D23 announced new movie, Gigantic! With Gigantic being set in Spain, Lorelay's home country, and the director of Tangled taking the reins, I am very, very excited to see the artwork for this film!

Disney Visual Development artists

The Good Dinosaur

I knew the Disney/Pixar Animation panel hosted by John Lasseter was a must-do at D23 Expo, but I had no idea what was in-store for the incredibly lucky crowd of 7,500 people. The moment that has stuck with me the most wasn't seeing Ellen Degeneres or Ginnifer Goodwin (although I loved listening to her geek out about Disney).

The moment I keep coming back to is Peter Sohn's presentation for The Good Dinosaur. Of all the directors brought on stage, you could tell he was the most connected and emotionally attached to his film. He spoke about why he wanted to create Disney movies using sketch board images of his childhood. To avoid bursting out into tears (again) retelling his story, please read this summary by Disney Insider about this incredible filmmaker. Then mark your calendar for November 25, 2015 to see The Good Dinosaur in theaters (and bring the Kleenex!).

Disney movie

The Jungle Book

One of the surprise guest appearances during the Walt Disney Studios live action panel was Sir Ben Kingsley. Other than Emma Watson for Beauty and the Beast (who, sadly, could not make it), Sir Kingsley was one of the few people I was really hoping would be at the panel. He spoke briefly about watching Dumbo as a child and having something pop inside of him, inspiring him to become an actor. He also described how watching a young actor (Neel Sethi as Mowgli) become so immersed in his character was such an incredible experience for him.

The director of the movie spoke about how this film couldn't have been made before today due to the technology being used to create this film. Most importantly he spoke about how the technology was so good that is was unnoticeable, and how the movie came to life thanks to the incredible voice talents and Neel Sethi's performance.

My other favorite moments from The Jungle Book portion of the panel including seeing the movie poster with the jaguar Bagheera staring down at Mowgli, and watching Sir Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o and especially Neel react to clips from the movie for the first time, then getting a standing ovation from a room full of 7,500 Disney fans who grew up with The Jungle Book. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but there were a lot of uncontrollable tears of emotion during this moment for me. To say I am excited for this movie is an understatement. The Jungle Book comes out in Spring 2016.

Disney Studios Live Action Panel

Disney Art

Walking through the galleries of Disney fine art and historical artifacts gave me goosebumps. There were SO many fine art pieces I wanted to pick up by new artists (like this Belle screenprint by Mark Englert), but I nearly passed out when I saw an original Mary Blair watercolor painting for sale by Van Eaton Galleries. Check out their auction if you'd like to own a piece of Disney history.

I did pick up some incredible notecards featuring artwork from the Walt Disney Archives, including production artwork and promotional materials. The notecards are stored in replicas of the storybooks seen in the films' opening sequences. I picked up the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, but they also had Pinoccio and Fantasia. I inquired about other available collections; they said these were the first notecards released, but the hope to offer more in the future!

According to the flyer, these will be available in Enesco stores in Fall 2015. You can find the letterhead stationery now in their online popup store here! These pieces I know I will be referencing time and time again in my design work. They were a splurge, but totally worth every penny!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella

Disneyland: The Exhibit

By the time we got in the hour-long line for Disneyland: The Exhibit, I was pretty exhausted. It was Day 3 and I was running on little sleep and very sore muscles. But the second I stepped into the exhibit, I immediately came alive. With original concept sketches used as backdrops, the Disneyland exhibit featured artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives that tell the story of Disneyland from the original concept to the present day. Some of my favorite parts included learning about the Tahitian Terrace that hosted Polynesian shows in the current Aladdin's Oasis space, seeing ticket #000001 to Disneyland purchased by Roy O. Disney, and seeing details from the original Alice in Wonderland ride.

(click images below to enlarge)

Little Golden Books

The last stop we made at the D23 Expo was the Disney books booth. I had been eyeing the "out of the Disney vault" Little Golden Book Walt Disney's Little Man of Disneyland. After learning about this book in Disneyland: The Exhibit, to get Mouseketeers around the world exciting about the opening of Disneyland, I knew I had to pick it up. You can get your copy of Little Man of Disneyland here!

I also picked up a copy of Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Disney Little Golden Book because I am obsessed with all Disney Little Golden Books. Walt insisted that the artwork be done by Walt Disney Studios for each of the Little Golden Books, and the artwork is often closer to rough concept art sketches than the actual animation images. I love this particular book because it includes pages from most of the Disney Little Golden Books over the years.

Little Man of Disneyland

The biggest takeaway from my first D23 Expo was that there was so much to see and do, it was impossible to "do it all!". I was very happy with my first experience, and I hope this gives you a taste of all the wonderful inspiration I gathered from the expo. My favorite part was being surrounded by other Disney lovers who appreciated the art, music and storytelling that Disney is all about. I can't wait until D23 Expo 2017!

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My Light Bulb Moment from Cinderella

I have a confession. I saw Cinderella for the first time the other week with my sister-in-law and two little nieces and it was magical. Yes, you read that right, nearly two months after the movie came out in theaters. It was everything I hoped it would be and So. Much. More. But how the heck did it take me so long to get to the theater to see it?? Well, despite being surrounded by Disney fans, I am still relatively new to Southern California and it's hard to find a new crew when you work from home.

This is perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take— to be seen as we truly are Cinderella

A little light bulb went off in my brain when I watched this moment in the movie that has been slowly growing brighter ever since. I have been holding myself back here on the blog, in my business, and in my life for fear of being seen as I truly am. The socially-awkward, Disney-obsessed, constantly daydreaming, overly passionate fangirl that I am.

A Not So Magical Day

I went to Disneyland by myself last week, and for the first time, ever, I had a horrible time. I was afraid of looking like a total fangirl with my fancy camera, so I shied away from being seen with my camera out (which was really hard considering the park was PACKED for the Tinker Bell races, Tomorrowland World Premiere & the materialization of the Hatbox Ghost). I was also super self-conscious about being alone. Everyone was eagerly chatting among their squads and I couldn't help but think, will I ever find a Disneyland friend?

Are You Holding Back?

How often do you hold yourself back for fear of seeming too eager? Both in business and in friendships, we want to seem invested emotionally, but never want to be "that girl" who just can't contain her excitement. Those who know me very closely know I am "that girl" when it comes to Disney. I often equate my excitement to the early 90's Disneyland commercial featuring a little boy who can't sleep because he's "too excited!". I can't even begin to explain how excited I am for the Disneyland 24 hour party...

It wasn't until I moved to Southern California and started blogging about Disney did I accept that it was OK to be an adult who loves Disney. I really thought I was an outlier! And I was totally afraid to let my freak flag fly. But I hope you will realize as you are reading this that it's OK to be afraid, it's OK to love what you love and it's OK to be the outlier. There are other awesome bloggers out there like Epbot, Disney by Design, and The Happiest Blog on Earth who are proud to share their passions with the world, whether or not they are mainstream.

I hope you are never afraid of being too passionate about your job, your friendships or your hobbies. Putting myself out there is something I certainly struggle with. But if you don't let the world see who you truly are, you will never find the people who share your same passions.

On that note, if you are also SO EXCITED for the Disneyland 24 Hour Party, or Disneyland in general, let's meet up in the parks or talk about why Disney makes your life complete! I would love to create a community for other people who are passionate about Disney, so let's get some great discussions started.

Leave a comment below about why you fell in love with Disney or what keeps you coming back! And if you will be in the parks for the 24 Hour Disneyland Party, make sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter so we can meet up!

You can find me now on Bloglovin!

Even Cinderella's Miracle Took a Little Time

Looking for your Cinderella moment, for your fairy godmother to make your dreams come true?

I've talked before about how overnight success isn't realistic. How hard work (and a lot of patience) is key to making your dreams a reality. But what happens after you've put in the hard work and your patience is running thin?

Remember why you started.

Was it for the fame and fortune? Hopefully not. To stick with something long enough to see it become a reality, you better have enough passion to get through those dry spells. While Cinderella's miracle happened overnight, there was a lot of hard work and dreaming that led up to her happily ever after.

Quote Cinderella Even miracles take a little time

When you are pursuing your dreams, it's so important to celebrate the little "miracles" to see the progress you are making. I am coming up on my one year anniversary of being a full-time business owner, which had been a dream of mine for so long! Yet I still feel like I have so far to go.

While I'm still working out the kinks and building my portfolio of products (although I hope to never stop growing my portfolio), I am so proud to say I run my own business. I have helped dozens of people make their events a success and made a mark on their wedding or event planning experience. I have also started to share my love for Disney through my products and blog posts with you lovely people.

First Product Features!

This week, I did a little happy dance when I discovered my first feature on the Project Junior blog! My Cinderella art print has been featured as a way to decorate your child's room, along with several other adorable items. Check it out!

Update: My fellow Disney blogger Julie Bigboy featured my Cinderella print last week on her blog Saving Up for Disney! She created a great roundup of Cinderella-inspired products in honor of the movie release. Check out her post here!

New Way to Get Elaina Lynn Designs!!

I am also excited to announce that I have set up shop on RedBubble! After seeing some of my favorite Disney photographers share their items on Instagram and testing the site out for myself, I liked the ease of use from a shopper's point of view way better than Zazzle. My designs are now available to purchase on pillows, tote bags, phone cases, art prints and more!

So this is love pillow

I hope this helps make my designs more accessible to Disney fans everywhere. If you buy anything with my designs, I would love to see them in action! Send me a picture of your snazzy new item and I promise to feature it on my social media accounts.

P.S. Pug designs are coming soon!