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. 1 Flynn Rider In Rapunzel (2010)

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    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.

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  2. 2 Mulan In Mulan (1998)

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    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."

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  3. 3 King Triton In The Little Mermaid (1989)

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    In the original version by Hans Christian Andersen, Triton doesn't have a name and is not prejudice towards humans. Producers explained that the conflicts in the movie between Ariel and her father often occur mainly because they are such strong personalities. Triton's character is inspired by the song of the Greek sea god Poseidon.

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  4. 4 Ursula In The Little Mermaid (1989)

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    Ursula's character was at first designed to look like a "tall, thin regal-looking sea witch" and was based on a scorpion fish. Later, the animator behind this character Glen Keane took inspiration from a drag queen named Divine and decided to make Ursula look more like a "vampy overweight matron." The final character even has Divine's signature makeup, jewelry, and body type.

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  5. 5 Rapunzel In Tangled (2010)

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    Back in 2004, a very talented illustrator called Claire Keane started working at Walt Disney Animation Studios as a concept artist. Being the daughter of the very talented animator Glen Keane, Claire was surrounded by this type of art her entire life. In 2006, Claire started working on Tangled. Claire had an amazing opportunity to work alongside her talented father who was the director of Tangled, so it's safe to say that we should be very thankful for the Keane family that this incredible movie exists. In one of the interviews, Glen Keane even said that Rapunzel's personality was very much based on Claire's childhood persona.

    While working on this animation, Claire studied a lot of Scandinavian and medieval arts, she was also heavily inspired by Charley Harper.

    This particular concept art of Rapunzel was inspired by a painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau who used mythological themes in his realistic paintings and emphasized the female body in his work. While describing her creative journey Claire said:

    "While working on Tangled, I wanted to better understand the character of Rapunzel and what she did all day so I kept a journal of the things I did at home and translated it into Rapunzel’s world. It helped me see her as a real person who lived beyond the scenes and plot points of the movie. Rapunzel became somebody I could relate to even though our circumstances were worlds apart. This research helped me later on when I designed her murals."

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  6. 6 Carl Fredricksen In Up (2009)

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    After Disney bought Pixar back in 2006, movies that are now considered to belong to Disney started carrying very Pixar-like features that are usually quite different from what we're used to seeing in Disney movies. For example, Pixar usually tends to design their characters to be caricatured. Even though the adorable Carl's character from the movie Up wasn't really supposed to be a caricature, it still has some features that clearly belong to the Pixar tradition; such as a nose shaped like a balloon and a not proportional head that is definitely not natural-looking, and definitely not something we are used to seeing in Disney movies.

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  7. 7 Alice In Alice In Wonderland (1951)

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    The mysterious Alice character was created by Mary Blair, an extremely talented artist who worked on other outstanding Disney films such as Pinocchio and Peter Pan. What had the biggest impact to Blair's style was a trip to South Africa alongside Walt Disney where she fell in love with the colors and forms of their mesmerizing culture. For the next 10 years after her trip Mary used a lot of motifs in her work that were taken from South American cultures. Since the story of Alice In Wonderland is often described using a french word loufoques (meaning very strange or even ridiculous), it was rather difficult for Walt Disney to find a way to portray the story the way it is written in the original book. To find the best artistic solutions he invited Mary Blair since he considered her to be the most talented artists to work there. It's safe to say, that Mary definitely delivered an outstanding art piece that is absolutely ageless.

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  8. 8 Beast From Beauty And The Beast (1991)

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    Beauty and The Beast is considered to be one of the most successful movies in the history of animation, it was the first animated movie to be nominated for an Oscar and grossed 403 million dollars, making it the most successful animated movie of its time. Funny enough, Beauty and The Beast had a serious deadline, animators were ordered to finish the movie in two years rather than the traditional Disney four-year period. Animators and producers were in such a rush they first premiered the movie in New York even though it was not totally finished. Oh, and the iconic ballroom dancing scene? It's actually just an exact copy of the dance sequence between Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty, the animators just didn't have enough time to create a new one.

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  9. 9 Princess Aurora In Sleeping Beauty (1959)

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    While creating Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney challenged his animators to make the film's characters as realistic as possible. The animator behind Aurora is Marc Davis, who was already known as Disney's go-to guy for drawing lovely leading ladies. Davis was responsible for such beauties as Cinderella, Alice, Snow White, and Tinker Bell. Aurora was the first princess to have violet eyes, and her figure was mainly inspired by Audrey Hepburn.

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  10. 10 Snow White In Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)

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    Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated movie created by Walt Disney and was a massive success. The movie was created with the help of such talented illustrators like Albert Hurter, Gustaf Tenggren and Joe Grant. The concept of Snow White isn't that different from the final result except her eyes got way smaller and more realistic (which is typical for Disney to avoid over exaggerated features that make characters look less realistic).

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