In the previous tutorials of this series, I’ve shown you how to draw Disney characters, both human and animal ones. But they were mostly “good characters”. If you want to draw Disney villains, you need to learn a few more tricks.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to mark a character as a villain with the style of drawing. I’ll also lead you step by step through the process of drawing three popular Disney villains: the Evil Queen from Snow White, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and Scar from The Lion King.
Don’t forget to check the previous tutorials first, as this one will be based on what you can learn from those!
1. How to Draw a Disney Villain
If you’ve watched a lot of Disney movies, you’ve probably noticed something that most villains have in common: they’re not as pretty as the protagonist. They’re usually ugly, and they’re often disfigured, with exaggerated features. The Fairy Godmother of Cinderella is cutely plump, while Ursula is morbidly obese; all the princesses are slim and look healthy, while Cruella De Vil looks emaciated, and so on. Also, while protagonists (especially female ones) tend to have very similar faces, villains look unique, each in their own way.
Because villains are all so different, it’s impossible to create a single recipe for one. However, traditionally the contrast between the hero and the villain is accentuated through these areas:
|Eyes||Big pupils symbolizing innocence and trust. Eyes are usually wide open.||Small pupils symbolizing distrust and dishonesty. The eyelids are often big, and the eyes are rarely fully open. The lower eyelids can also be visible, adding age.|
|Eyebrows||Proportional, with a natural curve.||Unnaturally highly placed, with an exaggerated shape.|
|Head||Child-like proportions, smooth shapes.||Natural proportions; the features are often exaggerated (clear jawline, clear cheekbones)|
|Neck||Very slender; makes the head look bigger.||More natural, proportionate to the body.|
|Face||The face is perfect, with smooth skin. Freckles are allowed.||Some imperfections can be found: wrinkles, beauty marks, scars.|
|Makeup||If present, looks natural.||Often heavy, over-the-top.|
Of course, it doesn’t mean that villains are simply older, uglier versions of heroes. These features are simply used to make a villain unique, but he/she can also be young and beautiful—the main difference lies in the facial expressions. The villain in Frozen (spoiler alert!) looked like a perfect prince all the time. The only things that mark him as a villain are his facial expressions and the tone of the voice that changes when his true intentions are revealed.
Let’s take a look at a few examples. A hero, when smiling, looks very friendly and trusting. Heroes see good in people, and they’re not afraid to show their emotions. A villain, on the other hand, doesn’t trust anyone. When they smile, it’s not pleasant. It’s more about disdain than about sympathy. The most neutral emotion that most villains express is boredom with a hint of annoyance.
When something bad happens to a hero, they feel sad. A villain is more likely to react with anger—it’s always someone else’s fault, after all. This keeps us, the audience, from feeling too much empathy towards the villain.
Villains tend to be more theatrical in their expressions, more dramatic. They rarely show their true emotions; instead, they create a special, menacing image of what they pretend to feel. Their face is like a scene where a show is being played to manipulate the interlocutor.
But it doesn’t mean that heroes can never be angry or threatening. It’s just that when they are, it’s justified and portrayed in a sympathetic way. Villains tend to overreact, which stresses the wrongness of their actions.
If you want to learn how to draw facial expressions, for both protagonists and villains, you should check out this huge tutorial:
2. How to Draw the Evil Queen From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The Evil Queen is the first real Disney villain (starring in a full-length animated feature film), and a very special one—she’s supposed to be beautiful by default, the fairest one of them all, in fact. So she couldn’t be made ugly to accentuate her evilness. Instead, the creators focused on a different kind of contrast between her and Snow White—she looks adult (but not old), and she never expresses positive emotions.
Let’s see how to draw the Evil Queen step by step!
Draw a sphere.
Add some volume to the back of the skull. This will give it more realistic proportions.
Divide the lower half of the sphere into thirds.
Copy these thirds below the sphere.
Sketch a line across the face. The chin should lie slightly above the last line.
The middle third on the lower half of the sphere will be the eye area. Split it in half.
Outline the face. As you can see, it’s noticeably longer than the face of a young, cute princess.
Draw the oval eyes in the middle third.
Draw the curve of the eyebrows.
Draw the cheeks, nose, mouth, and chin.
Outline the eyes.
Draw the irises and pupils. Keep the pupils small.
Add the eyelashes.
Add the eyelids.
Draw the eyebrows.
Finish the lips. They’re big and curvy, giving an impression of disappointment even as a neutral expression.
Finish the nose. It’s very subtle; the outline of the nostrils is not visible.
Add the neck.
Divide the upper half of the sphere into thirds.
Divide the lowest third into halves (roughly).
Add the outline of the “hood”.
Draw the crown.
Finish the drawing.
3. How to Draw Ursula From The Little Mermaid
Ursula is a full-blown villain—exaggerated in her body and facial features, theatrical in her expressions and tone. She’s a great example of how far you can go when you’re not limited by any official standards of beauty. It’s quite sad that protagonists never get to look so unique!
Let me show you how to go from a classic Disney face to a more interesting one to draw Ursula step by step.
Start with a sphere.
Divide its lower half into thirds.
Add a big oval to the sphere.
Find the middle of the face. Mark the half of the oval.
Divide the upper half of the sphere into thirds. Draw a line under the sphere.
Mark the lowest third of the upper third. Then draw another one under it, symmetrically.
Add the extreme curve of the eyebrows.
Draw the oval of the eyes under the halfway line of the sphere.
Add the details of the face: the cheeks, nose, mouth, chin, and ears.
Add the outlines of the eyes.
Draw the little irises and pupils.
Draw huge upper eyelids and smaller lower ones.
Finish the eyebrows.
Add the eyelashes.
Finish the nose.
Finish the mouth.
Because the smile is so wide, it squishes the cheeks under the eyes.
Add the hair.
Finish the drawing.
4. How to Draw Scar From The Lion King
The evilness of Scar is accentuated with his general unhealthiness—he’s in bad shape, skinny, with a sparse mane and a scar. He’s drawn this way in contrast to Mufasa and Simba, who are both harmoniously built, with full manes.
You can easily see what makes Scar look “evil” by comparing him to Kovu from The Lion King 2—they share almost all the colors and even the scar, yet Kovu looks friendly and trustworthy. Scar’s physique also plays an important part in the story—as he’s too weak to overthrow Mufasa in a fight, he must use his cunning to take the throne some other way.
Let me show you how to draw Scar step by step!
Start with a sphere. It should be smaller than in other lions, and tilted (you can clearly see the difference in this image). This gives Scar a menacing look.
Add the muzzle below, following the tilt of the head.
Add the chin.
Divide the muzzle into thirds, horizontally.
Mark the front of the muzzle.
Draw the nose.
Divide the upper half of the head into halves.
Divide the lower of these halves into thirds.
Divide the upper half into thirds, too.
Draw the top of the muzzle.
Add the curve of the eyebrows. Connect them to the nostrils.
Finish the area of the eyes.
Draw the eyes.
Draw the eyebrows.
Draw the cheeks.
Draw the mouth.
Outline the muzzle and the cheeks.
Add a thin neck.
Add the ears. They should be big enough to still be visible once you add the mane.
Add the mane.
Finish the drawing.
Now you know how to draw Disney villains, both real and your imagined ones. If you want to keep drawing, you may be interested in our series on how to draw cartoon characters: