Disney villains aren’t perfect. One of them, for example, disguised herself as an old woman to tempt a young lady into eating a poisoned apple while another even killed his own brother to become king of the Pride Lands. But are they really worthy of all the hate they’re receiving? Probably. Character designer Audrey Hopkins, however, decided to challenge that.
Hopkins has been turning Disney Villains into princesses, trying to see if she can make us look at them without resentment. The artist even posts TikTok videos where she walks everyone through her creative process, gaining millions of views along the way.
“I’ve been drawing since I was a kid,” Hopkins told Bored Panda. “My older sister is also an artist (she does traditional painting and photography) so growing up I would constantly compare my work with hers and try to learn what I could from her pieces.”
From junior high through college Audrey took art classes. During most of those years, she studied figure drawing, still life, and painting. “I would doodle cartoons of my friends, but no programs existed in my area that would allow me to develop those doodle any further,” she said. “It wasn’t until about 5 years ago when I became a student at California State University Long Beach that I got the chance to take my cartoons more seriously.”
Character designer Audrey Hopkins is racking up millions of views on TikTok by turning Disney villains into princesses
@auditydrawsJafar might be my new favorite princess! Who do you want to see next? 🤣✍🏻 ##foryou ##fyp ##art ##comedy♬ original sound – Audrey
Hopkins is certain Disney and Pixar have created some of the best animated films ever made. “It’s almost impossible to grow up (especially when you love drawing cartoons) and not be influenced by their beautiful films,” she explained. “One of my favorite movies, when I was a little kid, was 101 Dalmatians and to this day I still look at the character designs from that movie for inspiration.”
She thinks the two studios are masters of capturing emotion in their characters, something she is always striving to achieve and get better at herself. “Right as I was starting TikTok, I actually had a mentor who worked at Disney, he would give me advice and assignments to finish each week. Some of my first videos are of drawings he instructed me to do. Not sure if this is relevant but when I first moved to Southern California, I was shocked at how people would just go to Disneyland on a whim, sometimes even between classes in college. Since I grew up in Northern California, going to Disneyland was such a big deal.”
Gaston, Beauty and the Beast
Gaston is the main antagonist of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991). He came off as an arrogant and chauvinistic hunter who was greedily determined to have Belle’s hand in marriage, even by force if necessary. His obsession eventually made him ruthless and traitorous, especially when he discovered that Belle’s love was not for him, but for the Beast. He is one of the primary members of the Disney Villains franchise.
Hades is the main antagonist of Disney’s Hercules (1997). He is a fast-talking god of the Underworld with a fiery temper and a personal vendetta against his eldest brother, Zeus. In secrecy, Hades hatches a scheme to take over Mount Olympus and the cosmos, but a prophecy by the Fates foretells that a hero will rise against him, putting an end to his reign.
Jafar is the main antagonist of Disney’s Aladdin (1992). As Royal Vizier of Agrabah, he was presented as the Sultan’s most trusted and loyal advisor but in reality, the imperious Jafar held passionate disdain for the Sultan. He devoted the latter half of his life to gaining ownership of a magic lamp containing an all-powerful genie — to that end, Jafar would control cosmic power, which he would use to overtake the throne and the world at large.
Dr. Facilier, Princess and the Frog
Dr. Facilier (also known as the Shadow Man) is the main antagonist of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (2009). He is an evil, smooth-talking witch doctor who plans to rule New Orleans with help from his “friends on the other side”. Coming from a poor background, Facilier grew to resent the rich and prosperous—none so much as the most powerful man in the city, Eli “Big Daddy” La Bouff. Facilier sought to supersede his rival using voodoo and pawns while offering the souls of New Orleans’ denizens to his “friends” as compensation.
Audrey has always loved the villains in animated movies because she has found them far more interesting than the protagonists. Especially the way they look. “The shapes they are made up of are jagged and stretched and their facial expressions are so much more intense. All of this makes them so much more appealing to me from a character design perspective.”
“So many of the princesses are so ‘perfect’ looking and I wanted to make some that had more variety to them,” the artist explained. Take Gaston for example. Drawing him as a princess made her realize we need more buff princesses!
“I’m really just so thankful for all that TikTok has brought me,” Audrey said. “I feel so much encouragement and love from the people that watch and comment on my videos. I’ve honestly been moved to tears on multiple occasions while reading comments and during live-streams just because of how incredible this is and how sweet people are.”
“I love seeing people start drawing or people encouraged to pursue art further because of my videos. It’s so unbelievable that so many people could be interested in watching me draw and goof around with my husband. I’ve never been so happy in my life.”