For girls who love drawing, growing up to work at Disney is nearly the happiest ending imaginable.
That’s how visual development artists Bove and Lee feel about the path that led them to share an office at Walt Disney Animation Studios, where the pair have become heirs to the Mary Blair mantle.
Born in Spain, Bove has always adored the Disney classics. When her family moved to America, her father, an artist, told young Lorelay, “Dreams come true if you work hard here.”
“It was like a movie,” she says. That spirit pushed her to apply to Disney-founded CalArts (she was turned down at first, but took drawing classes, built a portfolio and tried again). “I’m always drawing by heart and emotion, rather than draftsmanship,” says Bove, who interned for Pixar the summer after graduation, followed by a spot in Disney’s trainee program.
It was “The Little Mermaid” that convinced Lee she wanted to be an animator. In first grade, she sent a drawing inspired by the film to the Disney Channel, which featured her sketch on-air.
“Because I came from Pennsylvania, my art teachers had no advice to give,” recalls Lee, who applied to Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, where she was mentored by Disney vet Nancy Beiman. “I studied animation there off in the frozen tundra.”
Both are now considered rising stars within the Mouse House’s halls. Bove brought her Spanish background to the design of “Wreck-It Ralph.”
The film’s vidgame world of Sugar Rush, made of candy, was inspired by (Catalan architect) Antoni Gaudi, she says.
Meanwhile, Lee can be credited with many of “Frozen’s” signature looks, from the Ice Palace interiors to Elsa’s “aspirational” hairstyle. “When I started on the film, she had black hair and blue skin,” Lee says.
Both are set for larger roles on Disney’s still-secret 2018 feature.
— Peter Debruge