Mrs. Brisby


Screenshot of Mrs. Brisby from the movie The Secret of NIMHThe principal character of “The Secret of NIMH”, Mrs. Brisby’s was probably the most well designed rodent ever to fit the categories “lovable” and “serious”.

In my own story Mrs. Brisby was once again supposed to be the prime character, but her importance to the story would arise from a different angle than in the original movie. I needed her to be a bit more “confident” and “collected” than she had been before.

Again, “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to The Rescue” managed to come up with a version of Mrs. Brisby that shall forever live in the annals of “how not to do it”. In the sequel she was simply aged by adding some gray to her fur, adding round spectacles and dressing her up in a heavy red garb with countless pockets. The resulting image was that of a tired old mouse that was about as likely to have any sort of adventure as a block of wood.

Screenshot of Mrs. Brisby from NIMH 2Once more, it was looking at her character’s role in the story that supplied the ideas for the design changes I implemented.

First of all, her overall appearance in terms of body and face remained the same. I had no intention of “aging” Mrs. Brisby, for which the reasons will become apparent further into the story. In short, one should not try to fix what is not broken.

What I did need was to make her a bit more self-reliant. Mrs. Brisby was by no means supposed to turn into a “loud” or even “aggressive” character, but I did have a higher level of confidence for her in mind. It was supposed to express itself in a greater level of calm and serenity, as would befit her original “humble” personality.

I decided to retain the original color scheme but give Mrs. Brisby a more “sophisticated” cape. The colors define the “soul” of a character and are usually the last things I am inclined to alter. I felt it would not do to give her more elaborate clothing as much of her allure had been due to her rather “simplistic” and “unassuming” nature. By simply “fixing” the ragged edges, adding a rim and a button the cape showed how her life with the Rats of NIMH had altered her while not being too “overbearing”.

To add a tiny bit of age she was also equipped with a pair of reading glasses. Amazingly, through the act of putting them on or removing them her character attained the ability to shift between levels of “energetics” that I had actually not even planned for.

Sketch of Mrs. Brisby reading a book Sketch of Mrs Brisby

Mrs. Brisby Design by Marcus

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