It’s sad being a Disney animator if you have to animate women, we’re told. Fortunately the problem doesn’t arise much because hey – Toy Story? Lion King? But when it does arise, damn, it’s difficult.
Lino DiSalvo, the head of animation on Frozen, claimed that it was “really, really difficult” to animate women because they have to be kept pretty while expressing emotions:
“Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”
I have a solution. Ditch the rule. Ditch the “you have to keep them pretty” rule. Forget all that. Just think of them as people, instead of as girruls, who have to be pretty no matter what.
There are other reasons to ditch that rule, actually, such as the fact that it imposes such a narrow range of types. Male characters don’t have to meet that kind of criterion, so why should female characters? You really don’t have to keep them pretty; you don’t even have to make them pretty to begin with.
Try thinking of women as being just as varied and complicated as men are and it will instantly become clear to you that keeping them “pretty” just doesn’t have to be a rule. It works quite well in real life, too.