A very brief Masterpiece Monday today, because I am in Disney World again. Since Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d take a look at a piece of concept art featuring a Disney villain. There are few villains more famous than Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and I found this concept drawing of her particularly creepy looking.
Unfortunately, this is another piece with an unknown artist , but it clearly comes from very early in The Little Mermaid‘s development. As you can see, Ursula looks nothing like she does in the final film. It took the animators a very long time to come up with an octopus as the sea witch’s final form. They first tried a number of other sea creatures. She started out as a normal mermaid, but then became a spiky poisonous lionfish. For a while she had long claws as you can see in this drawing. Slowly the animators started to experiment with giving her tentacles, first in her hair, and eventually on her lower half as in the final film. Finally, as you can see, Ursula was originally designed as a very skinny and bony woman similar to Cruella, before she eventually became the plumper sea witch that appears in the final film. All of these former versions of Ursula were frightening, but I find this particular drawing to be the scariest of them all.
So there is a brief look into the designing of one of Disney’s most famous villains. Hope your all excited for Halloween next Monday, I have a special “nightmarish” Masterpiece Monday in mind.