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


  1. 11 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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  2. 12 Aladdin In Aladdin (1992)

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    Aladdin is the 31st full-length movie created by Walt Disney Animation Studios, it was inspired by a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales "One Thousand and One Nights". The story of Aladdin has been changed quite a bit while turning it into a movie. For example, in the original tale, there was no magical carpet, Aladdin actually had a mother even though his father was deceased, and Genie actually was able to grant more than three wishes.

    Aladdin was released in 1992, quickly after the huge success of the Little Mermaid. In 1991, Disney also released one if its most famous movies Beauty And The Beast, now all of these magical movies belong to the Renaissance Era of Disney that took place from 1989 to 1999.

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  3. 13 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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  4. 14 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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  5. 15 Cinderella In Cinderella (1950)

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    It's impossible to talk about the concept art of Disney and not mention Mary Blair at least a couple of times, this incredibly talented woman is the genius behind many iconic Disney movies, and Cinderella is one of them. This animation was a second full-length movie created by Walt Disney and is probably the most popular one to this day. Back in 1945, after the WWII was coming to its end, artists at Walt Disney studio were able to get back to their regular work, which meant it was time for another iconic movie to be presented to the world. The artistic part of the movie was in Mary Blair's hands since Walt was very much amazed by Blair's unique use of style and color that was mainly inspired by her trip to South America in 1941. Cinderella was released on 15th of February, 1950, and it was a massive success. It was safe to say that Blair's theatrical and colorful approach was definitely what the public wanted. Cinderella started the Silver Era of Disney movies that lasted until 1959 when the movie Sleeping Beauty was released.

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  6. 16 Peter Pan In Peter Pan (1953)

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    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.

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  7. 17 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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  8. 18 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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  9. 19 Pocahontas In Pocahontas (1995)

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    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.

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  10. 20 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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