In the Disney Renaissance era, the franchise was known for its breathtaking, whimsical animation. The art had a dreamlike quality to it, especially in early films like Sleeping Beauty and Lady And The Tramp. Of course, with modern times comes modern technology, and Disney discarded the magic of their old animation for new, realistic CGI.
This was a disappointment to many fans, especially since the franchise is persistent to remake every single one of their animated films in live-action and/or CGI. This decision not only seems like a massive waste of funds but also a fairly uncreative move on the creators' parts.
Instead of creating something new and original for future generations to grow up on, Disney continuously chooses to tirelessly remake old classics with shiny new effects and animation. Let's not forget; new is not always better, especially in this case. The following pieces of concept art from Disney are utterly stunning and prove that good old-fashioned traditional art and animation definitely still has a place in modern times.
10 DUMBO - DUMBO
Dumbo is an adorable character and one of the most beloved characters in Disney history. The 2019 remake of the adorable classic did not receive positive reviews from critics, as a CGI realistic version of Dumbo would just obviously be not as cute as the 2D animated version.
What was even cuter than the original Dumbo, was the concept art created before the film was put into production. Dumbo is somehow even more adorable in this piece of concept art, and the setting is absolutely stunning.
9 ELSA - FROZEN
Frozen is one of Disney's most buzzworthy, talked about films ever. It was refreshingly different than other princess movies, it had a great cast of characters and memorable musical numbers that are completely unforgettable. But as iconic as Frozen was, it lacked in the visual pleasing department.
Sure, Frozen was pretty and the animation of exceptional, but the film did not have the same lush, fantastical quality that other traditionally animated films. The early concept art for particularly Elsa's character design, emphasizes just how much more amazing this film could have been with a different style.
8 ALADDIN & JASMINE'S MAGIC CARPET RIDE - ALADDIN
Aladdin was yet another recent victim of Disney's intense tyrade of live-action remakes. Similar to Dumbo, the entire story of Aladdin just did not look as beautiful in a "real-world" lens as it did in traditional animation. The new Aladdin is one most fans would rather forget, but the original remains a timeless classic.
The concept art for Aladdin and Jasmine's iconic magic carpet ride somehow manages to be even more stunning and beautiful than what the actual film presented.
7 SHAN YU - MULAN
Shan Yu was definitely a cunning villain and one of the more intimidating and scary in Disney history. This antagonist lived on in the nightmares of several children who grew up watching animated Disney classics such as Mulan, but the original concept art for Shan Yu's design is completely unsettling.
In this piece, Shan Yu is a faceless, shadowy figure, and that makes him all the more terrifying.
6 URSULA - THE LITTLE MERMAID
In contrast to Shan Yu's concept art making him appear far more disturbing, the original design for Ursula is charming and artfully detailed. Today, Ursula is frequently viewed as one of the more harmless, rather silly villains to be featured in a Disney film. She was over the top and dramatic.
This concept art makes Ursula look much more vivacious and full of color and life. If she had actually looked this detailed in the film, her legacy would probably be a lot different today.
5 MALEFICENT - SLEEPING BEAUTY
Maleficent is one of the only Disney villains to receive her own film, and she's definitely the only villain whose film was created with the purpose to transform her from villain to hero. Instead of remaking Sleeping Beauty in the traditional sense, Disney created the live-action film, Maleficent.
In the original Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent was quite menacing and intense. She was scary and definitely served as nightmare fuel for a lot of kids. But this original concept art brings out a softer, somewhat mesmerizing side to this iconic villain.
4 FIREPLACE SCENE - BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The original Beauty And The Beast was beautifully animated. It was set primarily in the winter, which made for some memorable, breathtaking scenery contrasted with warm, soft colors against the chill of the Beast's castle.
As beautiful as the original Beauty And The Beast was—and as unnatural and strange-looking the 2017 remake was—nothing quite beats the above concept art depicting a warm scene by the fire.
3 MULAN RIDING A HORSE - MULAN
Mulan was full of lush settings and adorable, beautiful character designs. It was one of the most groundbreaking Disney films ever made, and Mulan is definitely an empowering member of the Disney princess clan.
In the piece of concept art pictured above, we are shown a take on the film that is completely stylistically different than what actually made the cut. This artwork looks like it should be in a museum, and it's a very breathtaking spin on the classic film.
2 MOVIE NIGHT - BIG HERO 6
Big Hero 6 premiered in theatres in November of 2014, and it has seen massive success to date. The film heavily relied on the adorable quality that Baymax had, and audiences instantly fell in love. Big Hero 6 was definitely chock-full of wonder, awe, and charm.
A look at this piece of concept art is pretty amazing, though. The picture depicts what the film would have looked like if it were animated in 2D rather than CG, and the result is extremely impressive.
1 ASSORTED SCENES - LADY AND THE TRAMP
Lady And The Tramp is easily the most visually and aesthetically pleasing film Disney has ever produced. It was the first animated film to be shot in CinemaScope and hit theatres in 1955. The film has aged particularly well, and its graphics hold an undeniable sense of nostalgia and wonder.
The concept art depicting various memorable moments from the film is easily just as stunning. Drawn in a beautiful fashion, it makes the beloved characters all the more adorable.