The Lost Movie of Atlantis: Part One

Let’s reach back into the childhood vault and talk about Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

This movie is arguably one of the most creative of the Disney movies, and it is very underrated by the general public. And I know personally, this movie has influenced my own imagination and artistic ventures. The movie has so much good stuff in its art development and world building, I’m only going to address a few key points in this post and then more on future posts.

Not the Disney style


What’s eye-catching about this film is the visual style: it’s not the Disney “norm.” Over the years Walt Disney Studios has changed and adapted the style of the animations, however there is a general Disney “feel” that reaches back all the way to the first movie, Snow White, and even before then with shorts like “Goddess of Spring.”




There’s a definitive “comic” feel to the movie, which makes a considerable amount of sense since one of the major influencers on the visuals of the movie was Mike Mignola, of Hellboy fame.


When they were working on the animation itself, they heavily referenced Mignola’s dynamic and unique art style and how he illustrated explosions.

It is also worth noting that Atlantis was created around the time that Disney released The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) and Treasure Planet (2002), with both movies being an extreme divergent from Disney’s traditional style and themes.

Atlantean and the Shepherd’s Journal

They pulled out all the stops for Atlantis, even going so far as getting Marc Okrand (creator of the Klingon language) to help them create the Atlantean language. In the movie itself, a few lines here and there are spoken, but throughout the film phrases and words are written in the background and even hold prolific roles (such as what’s written in the Shepherd’s Journal).


And going off the idea of the Shepherd’s Journal, it’s clear where the overall inspiration for the book came from.


Illuminated Manuscripts are an incredible artform, with the Book of Kells being one of the most well-known. The name “Illuminated Manuscripts” refers to the fact that the text written inside has small illustrations and borders to decorate or emphasize the pages.




Illuminated manuscripts have a long and rich history in Europe, and they have a very distinct appearance to them.

Many covers are gilded and have semi-precious and precious stones set in them, as well as an image of the crucifixion (since a number of Illuminated Manuscripts are bibles or collections of the Gospels).

Illuminated manuscripts were hand-made and hand-painted, so each is unique and special. Many cultures have different forms of them, too. A number of Muslim countries also have illuminated manuscripts. Although with Islamic cultures, it’s strictly forbidden to show figures in religious art. Instead, they focus on calligraphy and the beauty of words.


What about Atlantis: The Lost Empire has inspired you? Do you have any fun memories about the story? What do you think of the world created for it?


The Art and Legacy of Mary Blair

If you don’t know who Mary Blair is, then it’s time you learned.


We all know and love her work, even if we don’t all know her name. For many of us, she shaped our childhood. Her way of viewing the world and the creativity she held defined an era. She, in short, is incredible.

An Era of Disney

Ms. Blair worked as a concept artist for Walt Disney during the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. She worked on such films as Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland. Her modern art style brought Disney into a new visual era. And in an industry primarily run by men due to the era in which she worked, she does truly stand out.
o-ALICE-900Thanks to her, we have the iconic appearance of characters such as Captain Hook and the entire color styling of Peter Pan.

Her Legacy in Disneyland

When “It’s a Small World” was developed, Disney turned to Ms. Blair for the inspiration of the ride. Bringing forth her beautiful paintings into a three-dimensional world, nothing short of an iconic ride was created (albeit alongside a song you will never get out of your mind).

slide_342214_3537635_freeShe was never entirely credited regarding the full extent of her influence in Disney, but in these recent years she has begun to receive the recognition she so deserves.

Her marriage and her death

Ms. Blair, who worked primarily in gouache, was married to watercolorist and fellow Disney employee Lee Blair, who won an award for his work in Fantasia. They wed in 1934 and were married for 44 years until her death in 1978. In this modern era, she is being recognized for the skill that even Mr. Disney himself admired in her. And many of us have her to thank for the beauty of the Disney movies we grew up with. The movies that shaped our imagination.

slide_342214_3537639_freeI know that personally, Ms. Blair has influenced the way I see the world through the films she helped visually develop. Do any of you feel the same? Are there any films that you know and love but didn’t realize Mary Blair was involved in?

further reading:

Walt Disney Family Museum: Mary Blair

Magic of Mary Blair: about Mary

Magic of Mary Blair: gallery

One Of Disney’s Most Influential Female Artists Finally Gets Her Due