ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Our favorite Disney characters are so engrained in our memories that it's almost impossible to imagine them looking any different, but their iconic animation styles and costumes weren't drawn in a day.

It takes month upon month of creative sketching for animators to come up with final designs, and the drawings they whipped up along the way are full of interesting insight into the thought processes that helped bring iconic characters to life.

So, let's go behind the scenes at the Disney studio and see how Aladdin, Ariel and other beloved characters might have turned out.

The Little Mermaid: Better Down Where it's Wetter?

Sebastian was already coming together in this early concept art, but Disney's artists clearly hadn't figured out that beachwear is the most practical clothing for under the sea adventures.


Aladdin: A Whole New World

The basic concept for Disney's most romantic movie moment was clearly already formed in the early stages of creative development.

Sure, the clothing might be interesting colors, but no Disney fan could look at this picture and not know who it depicts.


The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo the Savior

The drawing style for this Hunchback of Notre Dame concept art might be strikingly un-Disney, but the color palette and clothing styles had already been pretty much totally nailed.


Peter Pan: Mermaids Kingdom

The adorable little dumpling mermaids in the concept art might have got a glamorous makeover, but Peter's clothing and the secluded moon lit pool are easily recognizable from the final movie versions.


The Lion King: The Circle of Life

The wide regal noses of Mufasa's pride were already evident in this rough, felt-tip pen sketch, but the expressions were more arrogant than adorable back then.


Aladdin: Princess Jasmine's New Old Look

Princess Jasmine's hair and body shape were clearly finalized before her iconic blue harem pants.


Bambi: April Showers

A young Bambi is curled up next to his mother (she's the mound barely visible to the left of the frame) in both the movie version and the early concept art for the adorable 'April Showers' song.


Hercules: The Evolution of Pegasus

Although Hercules might be lacking clothes in this colorful concept art, his best friend had almost already discovered his final shape. All he needed was a bit of blue hair dye and some more robust legs, and Pegasus is ready to fly!


Pocahontas: Deciding On the Colors of the Wind

The climax of 'Paint with All the Colors of the Wind' became even more dramatic in the movie version.


Beauty and the Beast: An Illuminating History of Lumiere

This drawing shows the first time an artist thought up the bright idea of combining a candelabra with a butler, heralding the birth of Lumiere.


Did you prefer the original concept art or the final movie versions?

(Source: Oh My Disney)


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