Monday, September 21, 2015

Updated Custom Disney VHS Covers Post

Last year, I began designing covers for Disney animated films. Covers that would make them fit alongside the Walt Disney Classics series that Walt Disney Home Video launched in 1984, the very line that brought many of the animated classics to home media for the first time...

SERIES #1: Alternate Classics Launch Titles...


The first seven Classics titles (everything from the 1984 release of Robin Hood to the 1987 release of Lady and the Tramp) to me form the "first wave" of titles in that line, so I designed a few covers that I think would fit in with that era.

Snow White would be from fall 1984. In that alternate history, Walt Disney Home Video begins the Classics line with Snow White, not a "test the waters" title like Robin Hood. This would also be fresh off of the film's 1983 theatrical re-release, the poster for that re-release was the one I used for it. Really, any of the above (again, barring The Black Cauldron, which came out in summer 1985) could be the title that kicked off the Classics line in late 1984...

The Fox and the Hound's cover comes from the original 1981 North American theatrical poster. It's an older cover design of mine, hence the rough edges and such. The early Classics editions usually used the heading "Walt Disney's", since 6 of the 7 first titles were Walt-era productions. Robin Hood was not, hence the cover having "Walt Disney Productions'" for the heading. Since that was already on the Fox and the Hound poster, I figured I'd keep it there.

The Jungle Book's cover is sourced from the 1984 theatrical re-release poster. That summer 1984 theatrical re-release of the 1967 classic was so huge, that a follow-up video release in another timeline with this artwork would've made sense, I think. I went and designed a cover using the film's original theatrical poster, which definitely looks very 60s-ish. I made two different covers because I found two international posters (UK/most of Europe on the left, Italy on the right) that I really liked, and wanted to make those the spine-to-back artwork.

Of course, as us Disney VHS collectors all know, the earliest Classics releases came in black padded clamshells. The spine artwork on those would have the Classics diamond at the bottom, and no diamond profile of a character. So I did variants using that style, and that common 1986-and-onwards style (where the diamond is on the top!)...

The Black Cauldron's cover comes from the film's UK quad poster. Another early design of mine, it's also a bit rough around the edges. It was a bit tough for me to get everything in while eliminating the typical movie poster text, all without Photoshop!

Pinocchio uses artwork that came from a publicity still, that was also used for the late 80s UK VHS cover art. The logo is one that resembles the one used in the film itself.

Dumbo's artwork comes from the 1976 theatrical re-release poster.

Lady and the Tramp's comes from a work of publicity art that was also used for the picture disc edition LP of the film's soundtrack. Lady's head in the diamond on the spine comes from a mid-1950s comic book tie-in.

The Black Cauldron cover uses the original North American theatrical poster, and the spine uses the soundtrack's cover artwork. The font for the spine comes from the UK quad poster. Bambi's artwork is from a European re-release poster from around the 60s/70s, with the spine using a background from the film itself. The font for Bambi resembles the one in the film, but is a relatively new render.


Basically, alternate covers for films that were actually Classics editions in the late 80s and early 90s...

The Great Mouse Detective uses the original North American theatrical release poster, the spine uses a background from the film itself, and the logo comes from the 2010 Mystery in the Mist Edition DVD. (and Blu-ray too...)

The Rescuers cover uses the 1989 theatrical re-release poster, which was actually used for the demo tape of the film's actual Classics release from 1992. Why they didn't opt to use that artwork in the end, I don't know. They ended up using a remade version of that poster for the cover.

The Little Mermaid cover uses the 1997 theatrical re-release poster.

Aladdin's cover uses the original European poster.


The films that never got Classics editions...

Snow White - 1994 Masterpiece Collection cover, logo used in the film itself...

The Aristocats - early 90s UK theatrical re-release poster

Oliver & Company - 1996 theatrical re-release poster

The Lion King - original North American theatrical poster, Simba head comes from 2003 DVD cover
Pocahontas - original North American theatrical poster

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - original North American theatrical poster

Hercules - theatrical poster, Hercules head from original North American theatrical poster
Mulan - quad poster (UK?)

Tarzan - original North American theatrical poster, Tarzan head from another NA poster

The Emperor's New Groove - 2005 DVD cover

Atlantis: The Lost Empire - original North American theatrical poster

Lilo & Stitch - 2009 DVD cover, Stitch head from original North American theatrical poster

Treasure Planet - original North American theatrical posters, Jim head comes from 2003 DVD cover

Brother Bear - European poster, Kenai head from original North American theatrical poster

Meet The Robinsons - publicity still

Bolt - European poster

The Princess and the Frog - original North American theatrical poster, Tiana head from another NA poster

Tangled - European poster

Winnie the Pooh - original North American theatrical poster

Wreck-It Ralph - first cover is the North American teaser poster, second cover is the Japanese poster

Frozen - European poster, Elsa head from publicity artwork

Big Hero 6 - Background from the teaser, character vectors are from publicity artwork

Zootopia - Original North American theatrical poster, Judy head comes from publicity artwork, spine comes from the French poster

Moana - Original North American teaser poster, Moana head comes from publicity still


Pinocchio's cover comes from the 2003 UK DVD and VHS cover. Fantasia's artwork comes from artwork made in the mid-90s(?)...




  1. I love it! I do want to make a custom Song of the South VHS with the Neon Mickey logo, complete with custom cover from Photoshop! I'm thinking of making it look like a tape from 1981, with trailers at the end.

    1. Either that or make it a tape from 1987 and make it a non-WDC tape like The Three Caballeros.

  2. No Home On The Range or Chicken Little, I discovered. That's telling me you were NOT fond of those films.

    I would at least do the package films and Fantasia 2000 now.

    1. Walt Disney Classics custom VHS covers like Saludos Amigos, Melody Time, Fun and Fancy Free, Make Mine Music, The Three Caballeros, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

  3. The Little Mermaid cover you did is also one of its Diamond Edition covers.

  4. Don't mean to be a snob, but I would give the Snow White cover the Walt Disney's Masterpiece heading, and the tab, I would underline all four words because Snow White is The. Original. Animated Classic. In every sense of the word.

    1. Or have the header be Walt Disney's Timeless Classic

    2. Yeah, that actually would have been a great choice to close out the Classics with the Masterpiece tapes being released the same day. I have a feeling they may have considered that.

  5. You know, I have an idea. How about doing Masterpiece Collection covers for The Reluctant Dragon and Enchanted? Those are animation/live-action hybrid films, which were included in the Masterpiece Collection.

  6. How about Walt Disney's CLASSIC on each films like Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. TOAD and flap.saying
    The Original Animated Classic.

  7. Pinocchio Masterpiece Collection cover for fall 1999 a release

  8. Hehe, nice "Zootopia" VHS cover! Though I would've probably put Nick Wilde on the diamond profile. (Seriously, that film is giving me these "Robin Hood" vibes...)

  9. You know what, have any ideas of making Classics covers for Pixar films?

  10. Can you tell me anything about this VHS clamshell case? TY

  11. Time to add a Classics cover for Moana.

    1. NOW you update the page and add Moana, Inside Out, Finding Dory, and The Rescuers Down Under.

      Well, here's my opening:

  12. beautiful work! Love it!