From 2012-14, one savvy artist began turning Disney’s famous animal characters into human form. She called her series, “Disney Animals as Humans.”
The idea became so popular that for a short time after the images were posted to Tumblr, several people started copycatting the premise.
They say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” right?
The issue the original artist, Pugletto had was that the human form that others were turning the animals into weren’t ethically correct, so she set out to change that.
My goal with this series was, and still is, to abolish this myth that you need to destroy a character design’s integrity in order to diversify and expand your horizons. That a character can still retain their personality and spirit regardless of what race or ethnic background you assign to them. That “humanizing” any anthropomorphic character as anything but white is somehow inaccurate or takes away from source material as though there were anything set in stone on the blank slates of a story set in contemporary NY or under the sea.
Since her original designs spread like wildfire, Pugletto has added some more. Her designs are a visually stunning, accurate portrayal of how these animals really would look as humans due to geography and language. Basically, if Lion King takes place in Africa, why aren’t the characters depicted as African?
Here are some of Pugletto’s original works:
Released in 1970, The Aristocats tackled a myriad of subjects, but the most notable was social class. Pugletto really does a lovely job of embracing Duchess and Thomas O’Malley in her human renderings.
Simba – The Lion King
Disney’s 1994 animated film The Lion King introduced the world to one of the most beloved fictional characters in history, Simba. When Pugletto designed his human form, she was careful to add his good-natured and playful personality.
Nala, Zazu, And Simba – The Lion King
Not only did she do a beautiful job converting the characters to human form, she captured the essence of their dynamic as a group as well.