Early Sketches of the Greatest Female Disney Villains

Courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Research Library

Evil queens, jealous stepmothers, and many-tentacled sorceresses all sit in the pantheon of Disney’s most infamous female villains. Ursula was the first Disney villain to sing, while her predecessor Cruella de Vil simply cackled with her long cigarette. Snow White’s Evil Queen had a henchman. Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent worked alone. Whatever their agendas (spite, jealousy, unadulterated evil), these fictional women are famous and feared among kids and parents alike.

The book Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil, out this week from Disney Editions Deluxe, shows how both male and female antagonists were created, from early sketches to final renderings, including the stories of the voice talents that influenced animations and the challenges each character posed to the designers who brought them to life.

Ursula was originally a fish with talons. A designer reworked Hercules’ Meg after higher-ups called her first illustrations “too realistic.” Click ahead to see Cinderella’s evil stepmother, the Queen of Hearts, and Darla from Finding Nemo.

Early Sketches of Female Disney Villains