Here’s How 25 Disney Characters Looked In Their Original Concept Art

Everybody loves a good Disney movie, incredible visuals, touching stories, killer music numbers and mesmerizing magical worlds that we can transport to for at least a couple of hours. It's safe to say that for many of us Disney definitely had a major role in our childhoods. These entertaining stories are not made overnight, there is an incredible amount of skill and work that is put into these projects in order to create the kinds of stories that are beloved around the world. Now, we would have no problem naming most famous Disney characters, but have you ever considered what they would look like if the creators had gone with their original concept? This list invites you to check out the original concept sketches of the most famous Disney characters and compare how different they are from the final result you have come to know and love.

  1. artFido

    The genius behind the iconic Cruella De Vil is Marc Davis. This extremely talented illustrator was also the one who helped Walt Disney to created his first Disneyland theme park that many of us wish to visit one day. Marc had the incredible skill in creating incredible females characters in many iconic Disney movies, he is the author of not only Cruella De Vil but also Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty and Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. When asked which female persona he admires the most, Davis explained that every one of his female characters is unique and carries a different style, and he admires all of them but in a different way.

  2. artFido

    It seems impossible to talk about Disney and not mention Glen Keane. Just like many other famous characters, Pocahontas's portrayal was also the work of Keane. What's interesting is that while creating this persona, the artist faced a rather difficult task, he was asked by Jeffrey Katzenberg to create "the most idealized and finest woman ever made." To complete this request Keane took inspiration from such women as Filipino model Dyna Taylor, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, he also used a 1620 depiction of Pocahontas from a history book, though he later explained that she was "not exactly a candidate for People's 'Most Beautiful' issue." It took 55 animators to create the final Pocahontas.

  3. artFido

    Maleficent's character was created by Marc Davis who is also responsible for Cruella De Vil's and Tinker Bell's characters. Andreas Deja, a man who worked at Walt Disney for 30 years, created a blog post dedicated to Marc Davi's concept of Maleficent. According to him, the first sketches showed Maleficent wearing black and red since it had a strong meaning to Davis but the background stylist Eyving Earle was keen to use other colors so they settled for black with purple. As Andreas says, "Sometimes teamwork isn't easy."

  4. artFido

    It's clear that Mulan's look was inspired by traditional Japanese and Chinese artwork. The character was designed to resemble figures in traditional Asian paintings. Mulan was also drawn less feminine than the original Disney princesses simply because "you can't pass as a man in the army with a Barbie-style figure."

  5. artFido

    Back in 1934 Walt Disney came up with the idea to create a film adaption of a wonderful tale by Brothers Grimm called "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs". Inspired by this incredible story Walt Disney created a 4th full-length animated film in the history of animated movies. It took three long years to finish this project that at first many people considered to be absolutely crazy (mainly because the studio used all their money for this production). Soon after the premiere, people called this movie Walt Disney's absolute chef-d'œuvre. Even though it cost the studio approximately 1,5 million dollars, only six months later Walt Disney had gained enough money from this movie to open a new studio in Burbank.

  6. artFido

    Belle's character was created by James Baxter and Mark Henn. This was not the first Disney princess for Henn, he had previously worked on Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan, and Tiana. Because of his achievements Henn was considered the "go-to man behind many Disney princesses." One of the main goals was to give Belle a more European-look, so they added fuller lips, narrower eyes and darker eyebrows, she also had "a little wisp of hair that kept falling in her face", as it was previously described by Woolverton. One of the main inspirations behind Belle's look was Vivien Leigh and Audrey Hepburn.

  7. artFido

    This one is particularly funny... While creating Flynn's character, animators set out to create a "dashing thief." Since Rapunzel's look was so well thought out and she looked so stunning, there was an effort to make Flynn as beautiful as possible. To help out, producers and animators invited all of the women from the office to a "Hot Man Meeting" where ladies had to bring a picture of the hottest man in their opinion, after the meeting, the creators settled with Clark Gable and David Beckham for inspiration.

  8. artFido

    Tarzan is the 37th full-length Disney movie and was animated in two different countries at the same time, one part was done in California while another part was produced in Paris. Animator Glen Keane worked on Tarzan's portrayal in California, and Ken Duncan worked on Jane's character in Paris, this type of team-work caused a lot of inconveniences when it came to creating scenes of Jane and Tarzan together. The teams managed to co-operate by sending each other hundreds of animations and constantly organizing video conferences. Another interesting fact, Jane's characteristics and mannerisms in the movie were also based on Minnie Driver that served as a voice actress for the movie.

  9. artFido

    The supervising animator behind Jasmine's portrayal was Mark Henn, who was originally hired to illustrate Aladdin's mother but since she was later removed from the script, he landed an even better role. Since there was a great desire to incorporate Arabian architecture into the film, Jasmine's aesthetic was based on the famous mausoleum the Taj Mahal, the inspiration is visible in the character's hair, clothes, and jewelry.

  10. artFido

    Mit Kahl was assigned to animate Peter Pan even though he initially wished to animate Captain Hook. According to him, the most difficult part was to animate the character floating in mid-air.

Like it? Share with your friends!


Join the artFido Newsletter

artFido’s videos and content are viewed more than 2.5 billion times a month. This makes the network the seventh most viewed media company in the online sphere, behind the Walt Disney company in sixth place, and in front of US media giant Comcast in eighth place.*
* Statistics provided by research group Tubular Labs