Disney’s Elsa Chang On What Inspires Her to Draw

Illustrator of new Mickey Mouse animated short has also designed ride at Disney World

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF MICKEY MOUSE - "Cheese Wranglers" - Mickey Mouse attempts to wrangle a prized herd across the stunning vistas of the Big Thunder Valley, but one big obstacle stands in his way, Peg-Leg Pete.(Disney+) MICKEY MOUSE, MINNIE MOUSE

By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer

When you take a look at Elsa Chang’s portfolio of character designs and illustrations, there is a certain creative flair and passion. And that creative flair is on display in Disney’s The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, a newly-released collection of shorts.

The animated series features Chang’s work as a character designer, including the iconic Mickey Mouse. Her character design maintains the images we all recognize as Mickey Mouse and friends from our childhood, but there is just this little extra that brings it to the current time period.

Designing characters is no easy feat, particularly with the project’s fast pace.

“One thing I learned from working on The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse is that I had to be a quick drawer because the animation is a collection of shorts,” Chang said. “To sustain my energy levels, I need to always draw from the things which inspire me and that allows some balance in my work no matter how rapid the pace is.”

Chang admits that the pandemic has made finding inspiration more challenging.

“To be honest, it has been very tough to design and have the mind to design during Covid-19, but I remind myself that I need to constantly draw inspiration from different things,” she said. “My inspiration comes from outside of art and animation. I look to nature and the people around me, and observe how they interact.”

Elsa Chang – (Disney/Todd Wawrychuk)

Chang, an illustrator who previously worked with DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation and Paramount Animation, holds a BFA in illustration. She has also illustrated children’s books for Disney Publishing and was a designer on the Walt Disney World attraction Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is based on the “Mickey Mouse” short.

Working as a character designer for The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse has been an “opportunity of a lifetime,” said Chang. Chang was also lucky that her parents embraced her love for art and illustration and was the encouraging force that got her where she is today.

“Since I could remember, I have always wanted to be both a children’s book illustrator and work on a Disney animation and I am lucky I get to do both,” she said. “It is a childhood dream come true.”

The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse can be viewed on Disney Plus.

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