How Far I’ll Go: Interview With ‘Moana’ Visual Development Artist Neysa Bové

"Moana" Visual Development Artist Neysa Bové

“Moana” Visual Development Artist Neysa Bové

There’s no telling how far FIDM Grad Neysa Bové will go! A Visual Development Artist for Disney, Bové recently worked on designing the costumes for animated film, “Moana.” As the film has taken the world by storm, her vision has been embodied through a combination of animation and fashion. She learned some of her skills while taking pattern making and sewing classes at FIDM.

Turns out a lot goes into the process of designing a character’s outfit in animation. We were lucky to sit down with Bové to get a behind the scenes look at her creative process.

1. What is the best part about being a Visual Development Artist?

"Moana" Concept Art by Neysa Bové

“Moana” Concept Art by Neysa Bové

“All the different projects you can work on. The best part is all the different ideas you can come up with from nothing.”

2. Where did you find the inspiration behind designing the costumes for “Moana?”

Moana Lighting


“We got a lot of inspiration from the people of the Pacific Island. We met with a group of people called the Pacific Trust. It was a bunch of people from the different islands who would work with us on a contract basis and they would tell us if each aspect was part of the culture. We got a lot of inspiration there. I also looked at fashion runways and different designers’ looks.”

3. What was your creative process like when envisioning the costumes for “Moana?”

"Moana" Epilogue Outfit Concept Art by Neysa Bové

“Moana” Epilogue Outfit Concept Art by Neysa Bové

“First we started with the idea. For instance, Moana has to wear this outfit that would mean she’s traveling. She’s also an athlete. You take all these keywords your Director of Characters would tell you, then you start searching for things on the journey. You may not find things, then you eventually adapt. Then, I look at as many images as possible and narrow it down. After that, I come down to making 10 designs for one look. I have a lot of variation for color and different silhouettes, so when I pitch it, I have a better chance of getting it approved. After that, they officially pick the best one.”

4. Which costume from the film was your favorite?


“Moana” Epilogue Outfit Concept Art by Neysa Bové

“The epilogue costume at the end of the film was my favorite because she finally finds out who she is – an independent and confident young woman. It was so great to design a costume to reflect the message that she is leading her people.”

5. What is your advice for students who want to get involved in visual design?

Characters Maui and Moana

Maui and Moana

“The first time around, they focus solely on costume design. If you do want to go on that route, then go to school for animation or illustration. If it’s the costume route, then costume design and fashion classes are great. The more you can get exposed to, the better. It’s going to be beneficial no matter what you do. Anything will feed off great ideas.”

6. What skills from FIDM did you learn that helped you in your career?


Moana’s Final Necklace Design by Neysa Bové


“Fashion design classes. The hardest one I took was pattern making, but if i didn’t know that I wouldn’t be making garments together. Even though something is hard, it means you’re learning. Sewing class was also an experience.”


“Moana” Piece for Disney Fine Arts Gallery by Neysa Bové

A huge thanks to Bové for giving us insight into her creative world. See more of her work on Instagram at @neysabove.

All images courtesy of Disney.

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Author: Elana Yaffa

Should probably stop spending all her money on food, concerts and Adobe Creative Cloud.

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