Tinker Bell – An Evolution by Mindy Johnson – art book review

Cover of "Tinker Bell - An Evolution" by Mindy Johnson.
Cover of “Tinker Bell – An Evolution” by Mindy Johnson.
I have loved art books for as long as I can remember, especially those which show the progression from initial concept to finished product. Tinker Bell – An Evolution by Mindy Johnson is a treasure trove of such information about the world’s most well-known and iconic fairy.

Tinker Bell started off as a little spot of light on the theatre walls, accompanied by the sound of a tinker’s bell (hence, her name). The book begins by detailing some of the background which led to the creation of Tinker Bell by author and playwright J.M. Barrie. It talks about his experiences with the Llewelyn-Davies family and how they inspired Peter (one of them was named Peter, in fact) and the Lost Boys.

Walt Disney first saw Barrie’s play in 1913 at the age of 11 after he and his brother, Roy, spent their savings on tickets. Though Snow White was his first theatrical film, Disney started preliminary work on Peter Pan about two years prior to Snow White’s release.

Going beyond the flash of light used in the play, Disney wanted to create Tinker Bell in a human-like pixie form. Many of the artists working for Disney contributed conceptual designs for the little pixie, and some of them are quite different than the Tink we know and love today. From blue-skinned alien fairies to fiery little redheads, it is very interesting to see such diversity in the ideas for Tinker Bell.

Then along came animator Marc Davis, who drew on all the work done before and applied his own unique touch, giving us the Tinker Bell we all saw in the Peter Pan animated classic. Many of the pages throughout the book have a character sketch of Tinker Bell done by Davis, with each one showing a different angle.

About two-thirds of the way through the book, the focus shifts gears to the release of the animated Peter Pan film as well as the many promotional opportunities given to Tink over the years. Her regular appearances in Disneyland, in the opening credits of The Wonderful World of Disney and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, as well as a variety of comic books, food products such as Peter Pan Peanut Butter, and cameo appearances in later Disney works are all documented. There is even an entire chapter devoted to interpretations of Tinker Bell by up-and-coming artists from around the world. The final chapter is devoted to the new Disney Fairies film and print adventures.

For any fan of animation, Disney, or fairies, Tinker Bell – An Evolution is an excellent collection of materials which are very hard to find in any other single place. The care taken in producing this volume is only marred in a couple spots where the producers of the book obviously grabbed low resolution online images rather than simply contacting someone at Disney for high quality versions (this book is put out by Disney, so there really is no excuse for this). Even with that, I still highly recommend it.

Release Date: October 8, 2013 (USA)
ISBNs: 1423172019 (9781423172017)
Publisher: Disney Editions

MySF Rating: Five point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 99%


Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 0
Nudity: 1 (some images showing other fairies from Fantasia, a few shots of work on the mermaids from Peter Pan)
Sexuality: 1 (some of the pics are slightly racy)
Violence: 0

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