Artist Reinvents Disney Princesses Based On Their Earliest Concept Sketches

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Few characters are more recognizable than the Disney princesses. From Belle’s yellow dress to Cinderella’s blue gown, fans know exactly what these characters look like, whether they’re in cartoon or live-action form.

But behind every Disney character is a team of designers, illustrators, animators, and other artists. And every Disney princess started with one simple, early sketch. In many cases, those early sketches look strikingly different from the final version.

Illustrator and graphic designer Carlos García Romo decided to redesign the Disney princesses with their early concept art in mind.

“I enjoy watching documentaries about the creative process behind Disney films, I find them very interesting,” Carlos told BuzzFeed.

“Thanks to that interest and research, I thought, ‘why not adapt the first sketch of a character to its final design?'”

His drawings are impressively Disney-esque, except that these princesses are sporting very different looks.

Wait until you see how Elsa from Frozen almost turned out!


Many Disney lovers can rattle off every princess’s name, dress, and hair color off the top of their head.

But what if the cartoon makers had gone with a different design?

Every Disney animation starts off with a round of concept art — a quick sketch of the characters and ideas. After that, the illustrations go through several more reworkings until they reach their final form.

Artist Carlos García Romo was doing some research on the Disney creative process when he was struck by these early sketches and how different they were.

He decided to complete illustrations for Disney characters based on the first concept art.

In Carlos’ sketches, Belle wears a blue off-the-shoulder dress instead of her signature yellow look. Snow White wears a white wedding gown instead of yellow and blue. Oh, and Elsa wears a fabulous, giant ice crown.

Carlos explained his inspiration to BuzzFeed:

“I enjoy watching documentaries about the creative process behind Disney films, I find them very interesting. Thanks to that interest and research, I thought, ‘why not adapt the first sketch of a character to its final design?'”

“In a way, it is to pay tribute to the work of all the designers who worked on those characters but who we are not as familiar with.”

Indeed, we never would have seen these princesses as they exist today if it weren’t for the work of the early sketch artists.

Carlos’ fascinating designs have captured the attention of many people on social media.

Some folks kind of wish that Disney had gone with some of these early designs instead!

Carlos hasn’t yet had the time to do every single Disney princess, but he’s taken note of how much people like these illustrations.

“It’s a project that I want to keep working on,” he said. “I would like to do all of them, of course, but the Disney world is very big, so I have to choose.”

Also, he explained how much time and effort it takes to complete these deceptively simple drawings.

“It also takes time to do the necessary research, try out compositions and even look for reference images, since each film and character has its own design characteristics,” he revealed.

Carlos also shares other Disney drawings on his Instagram page. He drew a redesign of Aladdin and Jasmine based on the upcoming live-action remake.

And he’s made 2D illustrations of 3D characters like Vanellope from Ralph Breaks the Internet.

He also does fan-requested commissions of specific characters.

He says he never expected this level of attention.

“I’m very excited to see the impact that my illustrations are having on social media, honestly, I didn’t expect it,” he explained to BuzzFeed. “I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, only that people enjoy my work.”

“That alone makes it worth it,” Carlos continued. “I had saved these illustrations for a long time, but I finally decided to publish them and I am very happy that I did.”

Head to Carlos’ Instagram page to see more of his work, send a compliment, or perhaps share your own idea for his next Disney illustration.