Artist reimagines Disney characters through stunningly realistic portraits

Walt Disney once said, "Adults are only kids grown up, anyways," so it seems fitting that many of the Disney characters we knew and loved from childhood have been reimagined in our adult years thanks to graphic designer, Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen.

Väätäinen thought he would challenge himself back in 2011 by transforming Ursula, the villainous sea witch from "The Little Mermaid" into a real-life figure and he hasn't looked back since. He references real photos, studies faces and focuses on the character's personality traits to achieve the realistic looks through Photoshop. The portraits, which look like actual photos rather than digital renderings, will have you feeling both a sense of awe and nostalgia.

"I've been inspired by the idea of re-envisioning these characters that we all know and love, in a way I would imagine them to look like if they were more real, while still staying somewhat true to their original character designs," Väätäinen said.

53 PHOTOS
Disney characters transformed into real people
See Gallery
Disney characters transformed into real people

Ursula from The Little Mermaid

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Queen Elsa from Frozen

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians 

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

The Prince from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Belle (created in 2017) from Beauty and the Beast

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Captain Li Shang from Mulan

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

John Smith from Pocahontas

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Thanks for such a great response again! See a close up on #jirkavinse.com ✨ #PartOfYourWorld #Ariel #TheLittleMermaid #RealLifeDisneyGirls

Prince Charming from Cinderella

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Hercules

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Tiana from The Princess and the Frog

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Jafar from Aladdin

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Pocahontas

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Kocoum from Pocahontas

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Hades from Hercules

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Wendy from Peter Pan

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Gaston from Beauty and the Best

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Princess Jasmine from Aladdin

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Captain Hook from Peter Pan

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Kristoff from Frozen

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Jane from Tarzan

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Peter Pan

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Eugene Fitzherbert aka Flynn Rider from Rapunzel

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Merida from Brave

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Captain Phoebus from The Hunchback from Notre Dame

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Tinkerbell from Peter Pan

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Prince Adam/Beast from Beauty and the Beast

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Cinderella

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Princess Anna from Frozen

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Thomas from Pocahontas

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Ursula's alter ego Vanessa from The Little Mermaid

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Mother Gothel from Tangled

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Prince Hans from Frozen

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Alice from Alice in Wonderland

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Rapunzel from Tangled

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Ursula from The Little Mermaid

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Megara from Hercules

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Ariel from The Little Mermaid

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

Belle (created in 2011) from Beauty and the Beast

(Photo: Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

From the classic princesses like Snow White and Cinderella, to the dashing male characters including John Smith from "Pocahontas" and favorites from recently released movies like Queen Elsa from "Frozen" and Merida from "Brave" -- you name it and Väätäinen has likely transformed it. As many Disney fans know, the villains also play an integral role in many of the movies, so menacing portraits of Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians" and Jafar from "Aladdin" have also made the cut.

What started off as a personal project has spiraled into a viral hit with Väätäinen accumulating hundreds of thousands of social media followers who can't get enough of his extensive portrait series. Many of us can remember times when we were transported to Belle's charming village, Tarzan's home in the jungle or Peter Pan's Neverland. Väätäinen hopes to stir up those positive memories once again, "... whether it is feeling nostalgic and reconnecting with these characters on a new level, or just getting a sense of joy in seeing something that visually floats their boat."


(Jirka Vinse Jonatan Väätäinen/Instagram)

For many people Disney and its characters are an escape from the troubles of the real world -- which is ironic considering these real life depictions are the thing pulling people back into the world of make believe.

Väätäinen says there are a few villains and supporting characters he may still explore -- but until then you can gaze through his already created portraits and possibly relearn the life lessons those characters have passed on over the past few decades -- including what it means to be brave, embracing kindness and stepping outside of the box.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.