ByOlivia van der Will, writer at

Our favorite Disney movies all had to start somewhere. The studio chose the best of the best to bring the now iconic characters to life. It's pretty amazing to see the changes that the characters went through and also which parts of the concept art were kept along the way.

You may not have heard the names Mary Blair or Glen Keane before, but if you are a huge Disney fan like me, then you would have definitely seen the movies they worked on.

The Magic of Mary Blair

This super talented artist joined The Walt Disney Company in 1940, her first challenge was working on art for Dumbo followed by early concept art for the Lady and the Tramp. Three years later Mary began working on major films. Mary stayed working at Disney for a decade and even co-designed the 'It's a Small World' ride in Disneyland.

Mary Blair
Mary Blair

Here are just some of the many films that Mary worked her magic on:

Alice in Wonderland

Alice deciding which direction is the right way in the movie:

Mary's concept art, notice Alice's iconic dress:

Alice amongst the flowers in the movie:

Mary's concept art:

Caterpillar in the film:

Even as a silhouette caterpillar's familiar features are already taking shape:

The menacing guards closing in on Alice in the movie:

Mary's concept art for the scene:

More tea?!:

This concept art has the same bright hair Tim Burton adopted for his adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Check out those gnashers:

Peter Pan

The pirate ship sailing across the sky in the movie:

Mary Blair's beautiful concept art:

The kids and Peter fly through the sky in the movie:

Mary's concept art for their flight:

Tigerlily's dance:

Mary's vision for the scene:


Prince Charming in the palace:

Mary's concept art for the palace:

As the clock strikes midnight in the movie:

Mary's concept art for the midnight bedtime:

Cinderella crying in the movie:

Mary's concept art definitely won't bring tears to your eyes:

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo:

Mary's concept art of when the magic happens:

Animator Glen Keane

Even if you don't know Glen Keane by name, you will almost certainly have seen his work and you probably even grew up watching it. He has been working as the lead animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios for 37 years. Glen has brought countless characters to life, from Aladdin, to The Little Mermaid, to Tangled, to The Black Cauldron and so much more. Check out his sketches below...

Beauty and the Beast

Belle and the Beast as they are in the movie:

Early conceptual work for the Beast:

Glen's concept design for the Beast and Belle:

The Little Mermaid

Ariel swimming in the movie:

Concept design for Ariel, notice how Flounder is an actual flounder:

Ariel's facial features as in the animated flick:

Glen's concept art for Ariel's face shape and features:

Glen's art coming to life. Watch and you’ll see. Some day, I’ll be part of your world!:

Ariel singing in the movie:


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