Art Seen

Artist Transforms Disney Characters To Look More Realistic — And Her Take May Be Better Than The Originals

"I’m hugely inspired by Disney so I wanted to repaint some of my favorite Disney characters in my own style."

Disney has done an excellent job at making us fall for its enchanting characters. It's been decades since many of their classic animated films were first released, yet they still serve as inspiration for our wardrobes, engagement photos, home decor, and more. Disney's heroic and villainous characters have also made quite the impact on art. From an illustrations series that explores what Disney characters might look like if they were dealing with modern-day issues, to a photography series that shows what Disney princesses might look like as queens, artists are looking to the Disney characters we know and love for inspiration. 

One such artist is 23-year-old Isabelle Staub. The freelance illustrator from Philadelphia, Pa. was going through a serious creative block when she decided to start a series that focused on beloved Disney characters. "I'm hugely inspired by Disney so I wanted to repaint some of my favorite Disney characters in my own style," she told A Plus. 


Belle from "Beauty and the Beast."

Her own style is categorized by exaggerated features and vibrant color palettes. She describes it as "stylized realism." Her stunning pieces make Disney characters look more realistic without losing their magical allure. She's also branched out and experimented with other characters outside of the Disney world such as The Powerpuff GirlsPenny Proud from The Proud Family, and Debbie from The Wild Thornberrys

Mulan from "Mulan."

Staub creates her work on programs like Corel Painter and Photoshops and shares it on social media where she's become very popular. She has over 128,000 followers on her Instagram page dedicated to her work. Sharing her work online has taught her a lot. 

"I've learned how incredible and powerful social media platforms can be for artists. I had no idea that when I painted these Disney portraits that I would get as much exposure as I did," she said. But with that exposure, Staub has had to learn how to deal with negative comments, too. 

Pocahontas from "Pocahontas."

"I'm extremely sensitive — I think most artists are — so, I take hate comments very personally and it really hurt me at first," she said. "I've now learned to just brush them off because there's no reason to give into that kind of negativity. I am so incredibly grateful for the support and love I get on a daily basis. I would much rather focus on that!" 

She hopes to set a positive example for other artists, too. 

"I hope I can inspire other aspiring artists to follow their dreams," Staub said. "Going into the creative field can be scary, but if you have a passion then you need to chase that. I have so much fun drawing and painting and I want to share that feelings with others." 

You can check out some of her pieces below. 

Ariel from "The Little Mermaid."

Cinderella from "Cinderella."

Nani from "Lilo & Stitch."

Meg from "Hercules."

Tiana from "The Princess And The Frog."

Kidagakash Nedakh from "Atlantis: The Lost Empire."


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