Mulan is Disney's 36th animated feature, and the first one to be made entirely at Disney's Florida Studio which had been used for developing segments of each feature length film since Little Mermaid and would continue to produce work for future films until Lilo & Stitch in 2002 when it closed.
Since the movie was based on the Chinese poem of the same name, a group of artists from Disney travelled to China for inspiration and cultural and artistic references for the film. But even with all the references gathered from this trip, finding the perfect style for Mulan was very difficult. Some artists even worked on the film for 5 years. Since there wasn't a specific style that artists wanted to follow (like Gustaf Tenggren in Pinocchio or Gerald Scarfe in Hercules) the team tried a lot of different things before settling on the final style.