My first “princess” is Nánni, an eighteen year old Sámi girl from mid 1300s Sápmi (part of present day Norway). She is the only daughter of their nomadic group’s shaman. They participate in the Bear Cult, revering the bear above all other animal spirits.
Nánni was a cynical and selfish girl lucky enough to be born during a period of prosperity. Hunting and fishing were easy for her people and they were happy. She never needed anything which made her bored and resentful of her parents by the time she was in her teens. One day her mother wanted to go to a Norwegian village to trade, and asked her lazy daughter to come along, of course Nánni refused. Her mother decided to go alone and went in the town. She traded for a blanket that was sadly carrying the bubonic plague. Upon the blanket being taken back to the village, the disease quickly overtook her mother and many others.
Nánni was forced with her father and other healthy tribesmen to abandon the sick and the dead. Wracked by guilt she ran away into the forest only to realize she had traveled too far, into the spirit world. There she found the bear spirit who told her she could save her mother if within three days she could find her mother’s spirit and exit Ruohtta’s (the god of the dead) realm.
So with the bear spirit as her guide she starts her journey where she must learn nothing is as easy as she once thought it to be.
My “response” to Disney’s character design in “Frozen”—ignoring indigenous Sámi’s look by meshing it with many other northern european outfits from different countries. I tried to stay true to the Sámi look, while still making something that could feasibly be animated.
Photoshop CS5.1 and wacom tablet
Art © S. Mash 2013