30+ Portraits Of Disney Characters Brought To Life

By Louise P

Disney raised us all. Those perfectly caricatured people were every bit as real to us as our mothers or fathers. Through their trials and tribulations, we all learned about the incredible world out there, and those fantasies became realities to our young minds. Now Disney has taken the liberty to remake the classics in hopes of bringing us closer into these make-believe worlds (and to make an extra buck). Some have been more successful than others, and some just downright dreadful but thanks to the artist Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen, we now have these beautiful illustrations to hold on to. He has created hauntingly realistic portraits of our most beloved Disney heroes and villains. Have a look and see who your favorite is!

John Smith Painted with the Colors of the Wind

Be still our beating teenage heart! John Smith has always been one of Disney’s original hunks and helped many pre-teen girls realize her twisted colonial fantasy. John tied to a pole with his wispy blond locks sweeping across his face, bare-chested under a ripped shirt.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

This drawing totally does justice to the smoldering look in his eyes and chiseled Disney hero features. We’ll tell you one thing; we are more than willing to show him where he can find some gold! And it’s not in Virginia…

Esmerelda, Our Favorite Gypsy

Esmerelda is the sultry seductress with the golden heart from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She sent Judge Frollo into full-blown obsession mode with her hips that don’t lie. Quasimodo also fell in love with her but more for her inner beauty, which still shines through in this painting.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Esmerelda was brought to life by the vocal talents of Demi Moore in the movie, and her unique raspy voice perfectly suited Esmerelda’s feisty personality. We just wish the artist would paint her trusty sidekick Djalia the goat too!

Cruella the Devil Herself

When Emma Stone was announced as the live-action embodiment of this evil Londoner, questions were asked. Honestly, can anyone beat Glen Close in her original live-action adaptation? But then we saw this picture, and all became clearer in our minds…

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

We are sorry we ever doubted you, Emma! This image surely shines some more light on this casting choice. A younger version of Cruella is a dead ringer for Emma, despite her fiery locks. We know it’s just a picture, but she still sends chills down our spines, lock up the dogs!

Elsa Just Can’t Let It Go!

The ice-queen Elsa from the ultra-popular Frozen franchise is many a little girl’s hero. She is strong, magical, powerful, and sings with the voice of an angel. Her iconic ice blonde side braid also looks super realistic in this picture.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

The most striking are those piercing blue eyes! We just can’t get enough of them. They are magnificent! Gazing straight through you with an icy stare. With a queen like this in charge, Arendelle will be flourishing for many years to come!

The Most Powerful Sorcerer in the World, Jafar

This is one Disney classic that has seen a remake and received much criticism for it. The cartoonish set design, Jasmine’s solo song, and Will Smith as the Genie all had tongues wagging. But no one had us more confused than Jafar.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

This image is a true reflection of this dark and broody antagonist. He is tall, mysterious, and downright evil. A far cry from the casting choice Guy Richie’s Aladdin dished up. We wanted a sinister and creepy Jafar, not hot Jafar!

Ariel is Now Part of Our World

This young lady is going to need a little more than a dinglehopper to brush out these luscious long scarlet tresses. She is one of Disney’s youngest princesses, and this picture lets this childlike wonder shine through for all to see.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

 We are very thankful this version of The Little Mermaid has a much happier ending than the original Hans Christian Anderson story, though. In his version, Ariel never meets the prince, and she eventually dies of a broken heart and becomes sea foam. We will rather stick to Disney’s “happily ever after” trope. Thank you!

Hercules: Zero to Hero

Who puts the glad in gladiator? Yes, this guy. The hunky son of Zeus, Hercules. It’s hard to think he started his life as a scrawny mortal, but thanks to trusty hero-trainer Phil, he beefed up and became a god once more.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

One adaptation of this Greek myth sees Dwayne the Rock Johnson don a wig in his portrayal as Hercules. This made us very uncomfortable. We prefer Herc as a clumsy goofball with an awkward slouch and godly strength; thank you very much.

Monkey Man Tarzan

This picture leaves us with one question:  Brendan Fraser, is that you? Brendan’s 90s incarnation as George of the Jungle gave us all the Tarzan realness we could ever desire. Jaw cut from steel, ape-like gestures, and abs for days!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

In 2016 Alexander Skarsgård gave it a shot but his Tarzan failed to wow us. That being said, we probably won’t be happy with any Tarzan without a healthy dose of Phil Collins in the background. So for now we will stare at this picture to get our ape-man fix.

The OG Wicked Witch, Maleficent

This dark witch is one of Disney’s most terrifying villains. Did we mention she turns into a 100-foot-tall black dragon? The artist managed to perfectly capture that evil glisten in her eye, her mind always plotting and planning her next evil scheme.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Angelina Jolie has brought this sorceress to life on the big screen but her Maleficent has a softer side. In her version, the king is the bad guy who actually cut of Maleficent’s wings. Do you prefer Maleficent as the evil witch or the victim in the story?

Bookworm Belle

For this one, we had to do a double-take. We have seen Belle, we have seen Emma Watson as Belle, and by golly, they are one and the same. Belle is a book-smart Princess that made it cool to read and invent. She is one badass chick, if you ask us.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Her unruly hair is also total goals! Emma Watson refused to wear a corset during her filming of the live-action version, and that is a total Belle move. Who can invent a donkey-powered washing machine when being restrained by the pressures of 18th-century female oppression?

Neverland’s Man of Mystery, Peter Pan

Peter is a mischievous character, and this depiction nails that aspect of his personality perfectly. His scruffy hair and disheveled clothes are a classic Peter trademark. He even gave Peter some pointy ears to lend him a little extra magic.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

There is a twisted fan theory that Peter murders the lost boys that grow up. That’s a bit much! But if you look at this picture, there is a faint hint of homicide in his eye. Just watch your back when Peter is around is all we’re saying.

The Wee Scottish Las, Merinda

Merinda was a groundbreaking character in her own right. She was the first Scottish lead in a Disney film and also the first princess to have male siblings. She is also one of only a handful that has a mother in the film. Plus, she is a straight-up rock star with a bow and arrow!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

This fiery redhead stole our hearts from her first moment on screen in the Disney hit Brave, and this image solidifies that infatuation 10fold. Let’s be honest; we all have a soft spot for gingers, especially of this scale!

Rapunzel Let Down Her Hair

Mandy Moore might have voiced Rapunzel in the animated Tangled, but this image below is a dead ringer for Amanda Seyfried! And the Mama Mia! star has definitely got the singing chops to go along with this vocally demanding role.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Rapunzel’s hair turning brown after she chopped it off was a bit of a letdown, but she certainly rocked the pixie look. The artist should really give us both variations as Rapunzel leaves her naïve ways behind her when she takes the chop. Well worth documenting both incarnations, we say.

Tiana Aint No Frog Anymore!

When Disney announced their first African American princess, we all jumped for joy. Not only did they deliver, but they also made her a driven, self-sufficient woman who don’t need no man! Did you know Tiana is the only princess that has dimples! See for yourself on the artwork.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

We love that the artist captured her in her “mortal” form rather than the flashy princess she becomes in the end. We love down-to-earth restaurant owner Tiana dusting her beignets. She is also the only princess to have an actual job. Now, is a dish of Tiana’s gumbo too much to ask for?

How Far Will Moana Go?

Another first for Disney was their Polynesian princess, Moana. This fierce and stubbornly independent adventurer set off to break an ancient Polynesian curse and save her island. The artists did a fantastic job in capturing her beautiful ethnic features.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

This is another film surrounded by many fan theories. One theory is that Moana actually dies at sea, and she breaks the curse while in the afterlife. She is then resurrected by Te Fiti at the end. Dark theory indeed…

Speak of the Devil: Hades

Jeez, Louise! How did the artist capture all those schemes swimming around in Hades’ eyes?  The lord of the underworld plotted Hercules’s death, and for that, we will never forgive him. His plan might have been foiled, but he tried nonetheless.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

His two henchmen, Pain and Panic, might also have made for great illustrations. Their exaggerated features would translate into terrific artworks. Or maybe one devious devil is enough in this collection. Back to the underworld where you came from, sir!

Jasmine Shines Bright Like a Diamond

Jasmine’s luscious locks were the envy of every little girl in the 90s. Everyone wanted Jasmine’s hair or to wear satin crop tops. Little did we realize Jasmine was barely 16, which makes most of the movie all the more inappropriate. She kissed the villain, for goodness sake!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

The 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin portrayed Jasmine as a fierce leader looking to take her rightful place on the throne. Women everywhere applauded Disney for this bold step, allowing Jasmine to truly see a whole new world. You go, girl!

A Real Reflection of Mulan

Mulan is one kick-a** lady, and we wouldn’t dare even attempt to mess with her. But sadly, Disney’s live-action remake did just that; they messed with Mulan. They gave her mystical powers and did away with her show-stealing sidekick Mushu.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

But we will always fondly remember Mulan as a normal girl out to defend her family’s honor. It was with pure courage and tenacity that she pulled off what she did, not with the help of a magical phoenix. Disney can take a page from this artist’s book; leave Mulan alone!

Pocahontas is Pure Gold

Pocahontas is our ultimate heroine through and through. She is curious, brave, and loyal and can talk to trees. She is hands down the coolest princess, change our minds. To add to her coolness factor, she is also the only princess with a tattoo!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Her love story with John Smith is also one for the ages. Forbidden love is always more romantic! Combine that with a killer soundtrack and two of the cutest animal sidekicks, and you have a winning film on your hands.

Anna Knows How to Build A Snowman

Anna and her sister Elsa took the world by [snow]storm and created an outright frenzy around their film Frozen.  But did you know they aren’t actually Disney Princesses at all! They are, in fact, queens! All hail the queens!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Anna is also one of only two (the other being Pocahontas) Disney females, with two men vying for her attention and her heart. But luckily, she very quickly changes her ways from “damsel in distress” to “damsel with a plan.”

Snow White Is Still the Fairest of Them All

Snow White was the first-ever Disney Princess and still embodies everything a princess is supposed to be. Her profile reads like a Craigslist personal ad: Love-struck teenager willing to cook and clean, a great singer, talks to animals, will wake from the dead for love.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

She was a mere 14 years old in the film, and she moved in with 7 strange men! My my my, Disney sure had different values back then. At least the artists portrayed her just as we imagine she would look: lips red like a rose, hair black as the night, and skin white as snow.

The Not So Sleepy Aurora

Sleeping Beauty, or Aurora, was the last princess to be created by Disney before Walt’s death in 1966. She is also the princess with the least amount of spoken dialogue, only 18 lines! We guess that makes sense considering she was either a baby or asleep for most of the film.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

The artist did a fantastic job modernizing her outfit a bit. She looks ready to walk down the streets of SoHo to her nearest Starbucks! We can’t help but picture Blake Lively donning her iconic blue/pink dress in a remake. Come on Disney, make it happen!

Alice is Back from Wonderland

Alice is one of the most beloved “non-royal” characters in the Disney universe. Her adventures that follow after her tumble down the rabbit hole are nothing short of spectacular and marvelous. Tim Burton brought Alice to life but radically changed her.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Alice started to wear full armor and a much more adult-appropriate dress. No, thank you. We will stick to the child Alice that the artist depicts here. Curious, clumsy, and disobedient. She represented all of us as a kid!

Cinderella, Pre-Fairy Godmother

Cinderella is said to have been Walt Disney’s favorite princess and her dress’s transformation, his absolute favorite animation. Her name has become an adjective for happy endings, dress-styles, and make-overs, and she is still one of the most iconic Disney Princesses ever.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

The artist decided to depict her before her transformation, but we still think she is just as gorgeous without all her glittery adornments. She should maybe just have her shoes refitted as she loses one of them a total of three times throughout the film!

The Vile Claude Frollo

Judge Claude Frollo is probably one of Disney’s most despicable villains. This is because, unlike other Disney villains, he does not possess any magical powers; he is just downright evil to the core. This picture impeccably illustrates all his most foul intentions.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

He objectifies women, locks up a disabled baby after killing his mother, he is racist and bigoted, and uses religion as an excuse for his vile acts. But can we take a moment to appreciate his haunting solo song “Hellfire”? Talk about unforgettable!

Peter Pan’s Left-Hand Lady, Tinkerbelle

We do believe in fairies! Tinkerbelle is unmistakable in this picture with her leafy green dress, and wispy blond up-do. He even nailed the mischievous glimmer in her eyes. We love the ultra-detailed dress though; it really elevates her magical look.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

In this picture though, Tinkerbelle reminds us a little of her cousin, “the green fairy,” if you know what we mean. But Tink is surely less headache-inducing than her relative. Wonder if she also has such a short temper like her animated alter ego?

The Diamond in the Rough, Aladdin

Prince Ali Ababwa was quite the catch back in the day, but Aladdin never really needed to change himself to get the girl. We were all rather taken and happy to stay with the bare-chested, quick-talking,bread-stealing street rat.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Mena Massoud did a fantastic job portraying the spirited Aladdin in the 2019 remake along with Will Smith as the lovable blue genie. Equally as impressive is this artist’s rendition of Aladdin, even dirtying him up a bit and making it seem like he just took a tumble off a roof in the market.

Watch out Cinderella, here comes Lady Tremaine

Lady Tremaine is the true archetype for the evil stepmother brand. She is wicked and unlikable, from her raised eyebrows right down to the soles of her shoes. She is so despised that even her cat is a major villain in the movie.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

In the 2015 remake, Cate Blanchett portrays the dreadful relative of Cinderella that keeps her away from her prince. This portrait, however, is so accurate it’s scary. Her iconic stroke of greying color in her hair and her green brooch are unmissable.

Poor Unfortunate Ursula

Ursula is one hell of a character; her wit, deceitfulness, and intensity make her a terribly polarizing personality. On the one hand, you hate her for what she did to Ariel, but on the other, you kind of want to have martinis with her at a drag show. She seems like fun!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Apart from the stealing your voice and turning your dad into a polyp part of course. The live-action movie is still in the works and is set to star Melissa McCarthy as the remarkable sea-witch, and this sounds just perfect!

The One and Only Prince Charming

With his dashing smile, slicked hair, and royal regalia, Prince Charming is the blueprint of what a prince in fairytale land looks like. He doesn’t speak much, obsesses over a girl who he only saw once, and can’t recognize her other than by her foot, so romantic!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

This painting absolutely nails his symmetric features, charm, and overall general perfectness in every way. It was later revealed that his real name is indeed Henry, but he will always be Prince Charming to us for all intents and purposes.

Macho Man, Gaston

Gaston is the buff narcissist trying to win over Belle in Beauty and the Beast. But our beloved heroine knows better than to fall for his empty words. In his self-titled song “Gaston,” he tells us he has biceps to spare, and here we can see that clearly.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

He also sings of how every inch of him is covered in hair, and the artists really stayed true to that description! His cleft chin and skew smile are a little attractive, but as soon as he opens his mouth, we will run for the hills. Good choice going with the Beast, Belle!

Remember, Shoe Size Doesn’t Matter Kristoff

Full name, Kristoff Bjorgman, is an ice harvester who also happened to be raised by trolls. He is Anna’s second love interest in the film Frozen and one of our favorite Disney men. Unlike other charming princes (although he is not a prince), Kristoff has tons of personality and a true heart of gold.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

His best friend is a reindeer, and that’s not even the coolest thing about him! The artists succeeded in capturing his rugged good looks and brawny features. Would it have been too much trouble to add Sven to the picture too?

THE Evil Queen

A person so evil, it is literally her name. Or she is just like Madonna or Oprah, simply, Queen. That’s some real power right there. She was the very first Disney villain, and boy, o, boy did she set the bar high. Who orders someone to cut out a girl’s heart and put it in a box! That’s terrifying.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Luckily the huntsmen fooled her just long enough for Snow White to befriend some dwarves.  One thing we have never been able to quite grasp is her wetsuit-like head covering. Why? She is rocking those 90s pencil eyebrows, though!

Captain Phoebus Reporting for Duty

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a tragic tale that almost always ends with us in tears, but Captain Phoebus brings some much-needed comedic relief every now and then. His antics with his horse and puppy-like infatuation with Esmerelda are too cute for words.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

But after tragedy strikes, Phoebus man’s up and leaves the king’s royal forces. He tries to defend Quasimodo, and the kindness in his eyes was perfectly captured in this picture. We also love the iconic wiry goatee that makes him look a bit scruffy.

Beast, Is That You?

Beast, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, is a bit of a hard pill to swallow at first. He keeps Belle and her father captive and is secretive and rude. But once they get the furball into a bathtub, all our reservations wash away, and we too fall in love with the giant oaf.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

In this picture, the spell has been broken, and we get to see Prince Adam in all his glory. Dang, Belle must have been pretty happy when THIS was hiding under all that fur! It could have ended badly for her… He actually reminds us of Fabio Lanzoni!

Why So Serious, Kocoum?

Pocahontas’s arranged marriage is something that she tries to fight, but looking at her intended, we don’t understand what the big fuss is about! This looks like a man that can protect you from a bear attack or two, don’t you think?

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Unfortunately, he dies halfway through the movie (dammit, Thomas!), but at least we have this image to lighten the burden. His piercing gaze and jet-black hair will forever be in our hearts. We wonder if he did ever manage to crack a smile before his tragic passing?

Prince Eric the Beautiful

Can someone call Jesse Metcalfe out of retirement? We need a Prince Eric! He is the most down-to-earth prince of them all and has a killer smile to boot. But it’s hard to look past his transgressions. How thick are you that you didn’t know that there is only one red-headed maiden in the ocean?

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

“It’s HER dammit! She is the one with the voice!” we have been sitting and shouting at the TV for years. This picture is enough to make the average man thank his stars that this dude isn’t real, though. Talk about handsome!

Prince Philip The Brave

This guy looks more like a hair model than a prince! But honestly, what’s the difference, though! Not to be confused with Prince Philip, ancient husband of Queen Elizabeth. This Prince falls in love with a peasant girl, and there is something to be said about his humility in this case.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

On top of that, this guy can dance AND loves music! This is one heck of a catch if you ask us. But next time, Philip, don’t kiss sleeping girls without their consent, not cool. We can guarantee you if she was awake and saw you looking like this, she wouldn’t mind, but just ask first.

Good Old Thomas

Thomas is John Smith’s lovable friend from the world of Pocahontas. He was merely a kid when he joined the Virginia Company, and re-watching this classic, our hearts bleed for him.  He leaves behind his family to search for riches abroad, a story so many can relate to.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Instead, he accidentally kills someone and works his fingers to the bone for nothing. This portrait makes it even more tragic as we can relate so much more to his sad story. Please go home, Thomas, you’re still a kid!

Listen to Mother Gothel

Another finalist in Disney’s “Worst Mother Award” is Mother Gothel, even though she isn’t really a mother. She is nothing more than a wicked kidnapper who locks away poor Rapunzel. And all that for a little youth. Have you never heard of Botox woman!  

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Luckily Rapunzel is able to escape, chop off her hair, and turn Mother Gothel into a pile of dust. This depiction of her is superb, and we can actually see her playing in a telenovela as another evil mistress of sorts.

Disney’s Most Famous Crook, Captain Hook

Most Disney villains are downright despicable, but Hook is a bit of a catch 22. Yes, he is a pirate, bad. But hear us out, Peter Pan, a child, FED HIS HAND TO AN ALLIGATOR! How would that make you feel?

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

And now the poor guy is tormented by the said crocodile, and he is unable to get his revenge on the flying tween that refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Man, adulthood really changes your perspective on Disney…

Megara, a Women After Our Hearts

If Meg isn’t all of us, I don’t know who is. This poor girl had to sell her soul to the devil to save her boyfriend. A boyfriend who then left her for another woman! Where have we heard this story before?

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

So, it’s fine, Meg, you do what you have to do. Hercules is a big boy and can look after himself. The artist absolutely killed this sketch and highlighted all her curves in the right places. Also, can we get the name of your hairstylist?

The Prince aka Florian

We are pretty sure most people don’t know his real name is Florian, but for now, we will stick to The Prince. He is, after all, the OG. Where do we even start with this guy? He appears on screen for less than 3 minutes and still gets the girl!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Another one of those “let’s kiss a sleeping girl” types of princes. Not our favorite. This picture does him too much justice on the age front too. He is actually 31! This is shocking, considering Snow White is only 14. Not even legal! Shame on him.

It’s not just Li Shang’s Lineage That’s Impressive…

Li Shang comes from a long line of leaders and is the son of China’s Imperial Army head, General Li. He follows in his dad’s footsteps and takes command of a troop who will ensure China’s safety. This guy has a tough, no-nonsense attitude, and his training tactics make us break a sweat just by watching it.

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Sadly, Li Shang was left out of the live-action remake as writers thought it in bad taste to have Mulan’s direct superior be her love interest too. Good call, because if he looked anything like this sketch, he might have just stolen the movie away from Mulan!

Jane Porter, Not Goodall

Jane is an outstanding character and a great role model to boot! She is an ethnologist, and it was highly uncommon for women to hold such positions in Victorian-era Britain. Jane is also the namesake of another primate-loving wonder woman, Jane Goodall!

Image Courtesy of Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen

Unfortunately, Goodall didn’t discover a handsome orphaned monkey man in the jungles of Africa. In this depiction, Jane must have been in the forest for quite some time as her clothes are on the disheveled side, but we love her this way. Just one question, how did she teach Tarzan to speak with an American accent if she is British?